5 Awesome Open-Air Art Settings to Stroll Outdoors or Online This Fall

  • September 13, 2020 17:06

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The Fox River is in clear view from the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. Photo © Carol Highsmith
Glass House exterior, New Canaan, Conn. Photograph: Robin Hill
In the Berkshires, the Clark presents Ground/work, including Nairy Baghramian's "Knee and Elbow," 2020. Marble, stainless steel. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. Photo: Thomas Clark.
At Cheekwood Estate & Gardens in Nashville, Dale Chihuly's Fiori Boat, 2018 © Chihuly Studio

Local fall foliage viewing and art getaways in the fresh air have added attraction during the pandemic. With the sampling of outdoor art destinations listed below, check ahead with each venue for advanced ticketing, as most museums now require pre-booking, or explore their websites from home for a virtual visit.

For a dose of mid-century modern architecture in harmony with nature, the Mies van der Rohe-designed Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, offers a Fall Landscape Walk and Moonlight Tours. Conceived in 1945 as a country retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, "the house as finally built appears as a structure of Platonic perfection against a complementary ground of informal landscape." From afar, take a VR tour, watch videos or browse online exhibitions of period images and furnishings.


Through November 22, 2020, an onsite Farnsworth House exhibition by photographer Robin Hill explores the similarities and differences between the Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson's Glass House.

The iconic Glass House, in New Canaan, Conn., now has limited outdoor-only experiences with reserved grounds passes for the 49-acre site through October. Video visual tours and events are available online.

Through January 10, 2021, Chihuly at Cheekwood features dazzling, large-scale installations in the gardens of Nashville's historic Cheekwood estate as well as pedestal works presented in its art galleries. Monumental glass sculptures are illuminated after dark in Chihuly Nights. Discover classic and new site-specific works by Dale Chihuly interspersed around the 55-acre estate comprising 7 gardens, a woodland sculpture trail and Georgian-style mansion built in 1929 by the Cheek family, whose fortune came, partly, from Maxwell House Coffee. For installation views, check out Cheekwood on Instagram.

Grande Exhibitions' Van Gogh Alive on the Wellington, New Zealand, waterfront. Photo: Celeste Fontein via Twitter @Wellington_NZ

In Williamstown, Mass., the Clark Art Institute has unveiled its first-ever outdoor exhibition showcasing newly commissioned site-responsive installations by six leading contemporary artists set throughout the woodland trails and open meadows of the museum’s distinctive 140-acre campus. Ground/work features a dynamic range of outdoor presentations by international artists Kelly Akashi, Nairy Baghramian, Jennie C. Jones, Eva LeWitt, Analia Saban, and Haegue Yang. The installations will remain on view through October 2021, allowing visitors to encounter the works day or night and throughout the seasons, experiencing them anew as the landscape and weather conditions change. The exhibit comes with a trail map and highlights are shown online.

From now until October 26, 2020, visitors in Wellington, New Zealand, can take 45-minute tours in a temporary outdoor gallery featuring Vincent van Gogh's work projected on stacked shipping containers. While the experience is not with actual artworks, the visual of a giant 'Starry Night' shown under actual starry night skies is certainly enhanced by Grande Exhibitions' immersive SENSORY4™ technology. Van Gogh Alive has already debuted indoor exhibitions across the northern hemisphere and parts of South America, but this will be the first time it is hosted outside. The gallery is tailor-made for Odlins Plaza, which is near Wellington's waterfront. 

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