Rain or shine, we all flock to the beach whenever we can for surfing, sunbathing and swimming, but when we’re not riding waves and working on our tans, there’s also the opportunity to absorb some culture during a trip to the beach. Many people don’t think of the shoreline as a place to go to gaze at some world-class art, but beaches on every continent are increasingly becoming the ultimate galleries – why head to the MoMa when you can’t even surf there? Here’s a round-up of some of the best beaches to get some cultural capital and be inspired by the works of some of the world’s most famous artists, all for free.
El Peix, Frank Gehry, Barcelona
Gehry, the world-renowned architect better known for mind-bending creations like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, decided to spruce up the Barcelona beachfront for the 1992 Olympics with his gargantuan aquatic creation. The sculpture is an abstract version of a giant fish, which dominates the skyline and reflects the sunlight beautifully, so you know what time to go. The sculpture also serves as a canopy for some of the beachside businesses and is a great spot to hide in the shade with a cerveza when the sun gets a little too intense.
Another Place, Anthony Gormley, Liverpool
Gormley is probably best known for his iconic and highly controversial Angel of the North sculpture in North-Eastern England, but this series of sculptures on the renowned Crosby beach in Liverpool is one of his most haunting and touching creations. The piece consists of 100 life size ‘iron man’ sculptures embedded into the sand, which are gradually submerged as the tide comes in. Definitely one to see if you happen to be in Liverpool for the world-famous Grand National race, with locals and travellers alike flocking to it, as well as keeping track of the odds and predictions via Oddschecker. Regardless of why you’re in town, beach art doesn’t get much better than Another Place.
Declaration, Mark di Suvero, Venice Beach, U.S.A.
Swinging back to the abstract and the imposing, di Suvero, a pioneer of the expression movement of the 1950s, created this jagged piece on Los Angeles’ famed Muscle Beach as a monument to self-expression and the creativity that this historic beach stands for. The piece was created in 2001 with intentions for it to only be temporary, but the local surfers and sunbathers loved it so much that it has stuck around ever since. Definitely one that can’t be missed.
If you have any suggestions of mind-blowing beach art, let everyone know in the comments below.