Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia & Washington DC are world leaders in modern architecture and have magnificent art collections. Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Chicago, is a highly influential early modernist masterpiece. Frank Lloyd Wright’s fine houses include the Robie House and his own house and studio in Chicago’s Oak Park. These, and his Kentuck Knob at Chalk Hill and Fallingwater, created an architectural culture that inspired most 20th-century architects. Among public projects is his eloquent Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. America’s architectural culture includes the very latest design in complexes like the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT experiments contrast to the more sober, historic buildings of Harvard and Yale Universities. New York’s very latest and most daring projects include the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above Manhattan’s West Side streets. The Shed (2019), a new multi-arts centre that commissions, produces and presents all types of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. Most notably, it has a telescoping outer shell that deploys over a plaza to create a great hall.
These cities provide a feast of art in extraordinary collections. The Chicago Art Institute has Georges Seurat’s La Grande Jatte and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art has the very latest in avant-garde works. Boston has the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art. New York’s museums abound. These include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the new Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA. The last of these has arguably the world’s greatest 20th-century collection. Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation houses America’s finest collection of Impressionists and Early Modernists, with seminal paintings by Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse, and Picasso. Washington’s great museums include the National Gallery, Phillips Collection and the Smithsonian Museum of American History. There are also gems like the Boston and New York Public Libraries and the massive Library of Congress.