The Six Design Exhibits You Can’t Miss This Summer

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The first time I went to a museum alone, I felt invincible.

The world, or less dramatically, the art within the gallery's walls, were my oyster. I could spend as long as I wanted reading the plaques of whichever pieces I wanted to. The freedom I felt is an indescribable level of artistic and creative independence that I had never before felt. I was 17, alone in my thoughts surrounded by the art within the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and felt on top of the creative world.

Now that the height of COVID is over and we're breaking out of our homes and into the walls of new and exciting spaces, it's time to get back to exploring museums and all they have to offer.

From interactive exhibits to exhibitions honoring the greatest artists of the past to spaces filled to the brim with typographic explorations, this summer could potentially be one of the most creative yet. While COVID kept us locked indoors, we also have all of that time to thank for the development of these extraordinary exhibits. Scroll on down to figure out your next artistic vacation destination.

Contemporary Optics at San Fransisco M0MA

Color theory is intriguing, and it's fascinating how different eyes perceive color in such dramatically different ways. The Contemporary Optics exhibit at the San Fransisco MoMA is artists Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor's way of continuing and building upon the color theory that Op art painters in the 1960s developed. If you're unfamiliar, Op art pieces are conceptual, and they often give the viewer the impression of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibrating patterns. This exhibit evokes a sense of direction through its natural and cosmological displays inspired by rainbows, ice caves, and black holes. Each presentation offers sensory encounters and dynamic understandings of color and how it can affect our minds.

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

The Design Museum in London recently reopened with an exhibit for anyone that loves art, design, and fashion. The exhibition takes viewers through a walking history lesson, all from the perspective of the sneaker. The museum's website states, "From trainers originally designed for specific athletic activities like the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, the Puma Disc, and Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, discover how sneakers such as the Reebok InstaPump Fury, the Vans Half Cab, and the Asics Gel Lyte III have become cultural symbols of our times." This show will open your eyes to the power of fashion and design intersecting; it's open until Sunday, October 24, 2021.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Niki de Saint Phalle was a French-American artist. She was a sculptor, painter, filmmaker and also created beautifully hand-illustrated books. While she had no formal art training or background, she was well respected and well known for her art that often took a stance on social issues and controversial topics. She often addressed subjects such as women's rights and HIV/AIDS awareness. Her art is filled with drama, emotion, and, best of all, a dark sense of humor. The exhibition, titled "Structures for Life," will be at the MoMA through September 6, 2021.

Banksy Exhibition At Paris Lafayette-Drouot

If you've yet to hear about the beloved street artist Banksy, then it's assumed that you've been living under a pretty heavy rock. Often making headlines and still unknown and unmasked, the artist is committed to art's mysteries. In this exhibit, 100 works will be on display, from private collections, including "Gangsta Rat" and "Consumer Jesus." There are also mural reproductions made by different street artists worldwide that take you on a journey through Banksy's artwork. This immersive experience is truly a one-of-a-kind look into the artist's work. The exhibit titled "The World of Banksy" opened on June 1 and will be open until December 31, 2021.

Cooper Hewitt's "Willi Smith: Street Couture"

Willi Smith had the unbelievable skillset of combining affordable basics with avant-garde performance, film, art, and design. He used his love of fashion to create an art form that broke down and explored racial stereotypes, class, sex, and gender. According to Cooper Hewitt's description of the exhibit, "At the time of his sudden death from AIDS-related illness, Smith was considered to be the most commercially successful Black American designer of the 20th century and a pioneer of "street couture"—fashion inspired by the creativity of people from the cities to the suburbs that captured the egalitarian spirit of the age. Willi Smith: Street Couture surveys Smith's path-breaking imagination of an inclusive, collaborative, and playful new society." This exhibit will be open from now until Sunday, October 24, 2021.


Arizona might be hotter than hot this summer, but that makes for the perfect excuse of disappearing into WONDERSPACS amid all the dry heat. In this museum, you'll find a rotating art show that features work from all over the globe. This summer's installations include the Rainbow Rooms that feature objects, including the walls, covered in multi-colored yarn that reflects the artist's experience and struggle growing up as a gay man in conservative South Africa. Another current installation this summer is Light Leaks, which explores the combination of a found object with computer vision to create a mesmerizing and meditative experience. This museum and all its shows are interactive, reflective, and stunning.