London & Prague
“You are free, and that is why you are lost.”
― Franz Kafka
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The building that once housed the Bankside Power Station is hallowed ground for artists and designers. It’s now one of the most celebrated modern art museums in the world. As a student, I poured through pages written about Rothko’s Seagram murals or Eliasson’s Weather Project or Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds. But visiting those legendary galleries for the first time, I found the community more striking than the art. Children played in a fog machine from an exhibit in the courtyard outside. Students lounged in the galleries, reading books or tapping their smartphones. Admission is free, the spaces open and unassuming. The result is a museum that feels less like a global destination and more like a local gathering place.
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Every great city needs at least one art movement. Abstract Expressionism in New York. Cubism in Paris. Prague is defined by the Art Nouveau movement at the turn of the 19th century. The romance, grandiosity and fantasy of that movement still persist today - preserved like a taxidermied downtown. Its artificial and infested with tourists but none-the-less magical. With a little imagination, you can travel back in time to live as a Bohemian intellectual alongside the likes of Franz Kafka and Alphonse Mucha.