Modern art ranges from Romanticism to Suprematism, and from beautiful to horrible. If you want to see modern art with the oomph effect, you have to visit one of the 7 most interesting modern art museums worldwide.

1. MoMA, New York

Midtown Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (how’s that for an alliteration?) tops our list. With the world’s most impressive and comprehensive collection of modern art, it should be on top of your list too!

Visit the MoMA to see all things modern art — from Magritte to Mondrian, and from Bacon to Boccioni. Or skip the high-brow and head straight over to Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

most interesting modern art museums worldwide

“One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag,” Jasper Johns said, “and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” Totally inspiring.

2. Centre Pompidou, Paris  (& Málaga!)

To some, the Centre Pompidou is a beautiful design; to others, the contemporary art center looks like a huge plumbing system. One thing is certain: if you open yourself to the daring art as much as to the bold design, you will get the most out of your visit to the Centre Pompidou.

The Centre Pompidou Málaga might not be as big as its brother, but it’s every bit as good. Bearing the same name (and prestige!) as what is arguably Europe’s best modern art museum, it houses artworks from Magritte, Bacon, and Picasso.

most interesting art museums

High-tech sewer or cleverly designed art center?

3. SFMoMA, San Francisco

From the Summer of Love to the first gay-rights movements, the city of San Francisco has always been a hotbed for countercultures. It explains why the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is so good at bringing innovative and challenging contemporary art to the masses.

For instance, one most revolutionary painters of the 20th century, Jackson Pollock, held his first big exhibition at the SFMoMA. Today, the museum keeps that tradition alive by showcasing brilliant and undiscovered talent. Way to go, San Fran!

most interesting modern art museums

The SFMoMA; or ‘Cruise Ship Without Bow or Stern’

4. Tate Modern, London

London’s Bankside Power Station is as imposing and iconic as a Rothko painting. That’s why, since May 2000, the former power plant is home to Rothkos, Picassos, Braques, Klees, and the national collection of modern art.

Ranging from British art from the early 1900s, to the best of today’s international contemporary art, the museum has by far the best collection of modern art on the British Isles. And, like most museums in London, much of it is free of admission charge. The Tate Modern only charges a fee for major temporary exhibitions — because, hey, art is costly.

interesting modern art museums

Occupying an industrial building, the Tate Modern proves artists don’t live in ivory towers. See?

5. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

With a collection of high-profile art movements like De Stijl and Cobra, and a brilliant focus on design and furniture, the Stedelijk gives you a perspective on modern art you won’t find in any other museum.

And it’s not just curiosities and unusual art styles that you’ll find inside this intriguing building. The Stedelijk Museum has all the important names and defining art movements on display — from Matisse to Picasso, and from Impressionism to Expressionism.

Art or design; what’s the difference when it gets to look like this?

Tip!

With the two other best museums of Amsterdam being just a stone’s throw away, pair a day of modern art with the grandeur of the Dutch Masters — Rembrandt, Vermeer, Steen, and many others — in the Rijksmuseum, or see the most comprehensive collection of Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum.

6. Mumok, Vienna

Maybe you haven’t heard of Vienna’s modern art museum yet, but you certainly won’t forget the mumok once you’ve been there. The Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation is dedicated to a very unusual kind of art: the action movement.

This short-lived movement produced some of the most violent and in-your-face art of the 20th century. Visit the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation to get blown away by a handful of Austrian artists who were fed up with Viennese society of the 1960s and 1970s.

Don’t let these photos fool you: not all artworks in this museum are child-friendly.

7. Reina Sofia Arts Center, Madrid

If you haven’t been to the Reina Sofia yet, let this word sink in: Guernica. Picasso’s masterpiece is one of the most powerful artworks of the 20th century — not only because of its immense size, but also because of its statement against the Spanish civil war.

This year, the Reina Sofia Arts Center celebrates the 80th anniversary of Guernica with the museum’s best exhibition so far. Over 150 Picasso’s WERE flown in from around the world, creating the most comprehensive overview of the legendary artist’s works you’ll ever get to see.   

most interesting modern art museums

The two guards are there to make sure no one runs off with Picasso’s IMMENSE canvas

Visit the most interesting modern art museums — and more!

If you’re looking to visit the world’s leading museums — whether modern or classical — and skip the line to the entrance, get your tickets on Tiqets.com!

Jeremy Sudibyo

Jeremy Sudibyo

Jeremy grew up fantasizing about the exotic Indonesian archipelago while living near a Dutch stretch of gloomy North Sea coastline. He joined the Tiqets team to hone his creative writing skills — and to launch a blog. He succeeded in the latter!
Jeremy Sudibyo