Don't miss the Palm Springs Art Museum - Visit Palm Springs tag-img

Don’t miss the Palm Springs Art Museum

art museum

The Palm Springs Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the Coachella Valley, featuring a collection of over 4500 works of art across many different mediums and genres. The permanent collection includes work from the 16th century onward and is centered around American Modernism, with special emphasis on the Art of the West Coast. Notable collections include the Modern Masters Collection, including works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Francis Bacon and Philip Guston. Additionally, the museum houses collections of American Indian, Mexican and Latin American, Photography, Contemporary and Asian Art. The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions, special events and educational programming.

art museum

Diversity of Art

If you think the Palm Springs Art Museum is overloaded with modernism, modern design, or desert whimsy, you’d be wrong.

One of the most surprising aspect of this museum is its stunning diversity of art, sculpture, and objects, from a vast variety of genres. During a recent visit, there was a very interesting display of cowboy and western art on the lower level. Everything from drawings to paintings, each with a fascinating backstory and history laid out.

The modern-lover in me delighted in a small exhibit featuring table and chair-scapes. Iconic modern chairs and tables were set up as though ready to accommodate lunch for two, and each of the small vignettes was accessorized with fascinating objects from the 50s and 60s. Everything from ashtrays, to tea sets and a vintage television.

art museum

Sculpture & Unusual Installations

There’s an absolutely stunning amount of amazing sculpture inside this building. An entire wing of the museum is devoted to a series of 61 sculptures, many of which used to live outdoors at the Weiner family estate.

Some of the sculptures are car-sized, while others are more diminutive. The pebbled bronzes and other modern art works are remarkable, and the museum considers it one of the most important collections of modern art ever assembled in the Southwest.

There’s also art for those with more whimsical tastes, including an absolutely entertaining stack of giant plastic plates, a melting Persian rug, and even a wall installation involving toast. You’ll also do a double take when you meet the ‘couple at the top of the stairs’. That’s all I’ll say about that here, as the element of surprise makes reactions to this unusual installation priceless.

art museum

Frey House II

Usually, the Palm Springs Art Museum also owns a house in its permanent collection. Available for viewing by special appointment, or by booking a tour from The Modern Tour, visitors can step inside the iconic Frey House II on the hill overlooking the Museum. This former residence of renowned architect Albert Frey is a study in modernist minimalism and has remained virtually untouched since he last set foot in it.

If you have an interest in modernism and modern architecture, this is a rare and outstanding opportunity to see a piece of architectural history most people will never be able to access.

frey house

See the Architecture & Design Center

There’s another piece to the museum puzzle; the newer Architecture and Design Center on Palm Canyon Road. This former bank building is an architectural marvel in and of itself. But it houses the museum’s vast collection of architectural and design objects. Inside you can see everything from furniture, to architectural drawings, to sketches by iconic architects. The exhibits are ever-changing and always interesting.

Don’t wait as long as I did. Make the Palm Springs Art Museum or the Architecture and Design Centre a priority stop during your visit to Palm Springs.

architecture museum

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