Visitors' Guide

The Legends

These heavy-hitters place Southwest Florida on the national art scene.

BY September 21, 2021
Baker Museum artist Dale Chihuly’s exhibition
Artis-Naples, The Baker Museum celebrated its renovation, expansion and 20th anniversary in 2020 with glass artist Dale Chihuly’s third exhibition at the museum. (Photo by Alicia Vera)

If you’re looking to explore the minds of some of the world’s great artists, it’s a good idea to plan a visit to Artis-Naples, The Baker Museum. Fresh off a $26.5 million renovation, the 30,000-square-foot museum mixes masters such as Monet, Renoir, Diego Rivera and Georgia O’Keeffe with contemporary artists in a stunning space. If you go, be sure to check out Dale Chihuly’s spectacular, three-story Blue Icicle Chandelier and Persian Seaform Ceiling, which spans across the top of a hallway.

In a more remote locale is world-renowned photographer Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery in the heart of Big Cypress National Park in Ochopee. Butcher, known as the photographer of the Everglades, impresses with his large-format black-and-white images, many of which he captured right outside his back door. Talk to the staff about booking the famed swamp walk tour, which is usually led by the photographer’s daughter.

Another big name who found inspiration locally is Robert Rauschenberg. His namesake Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College showcases contemporary, forward-thinking, message-filled works that follow in the vein of the artist’s own experimental style. Expect exhibits from artists such as collectors’ favorites Christo and Jeanne-Claude and feminist art collective Guerrilla Girls. To get further acquainted with the artist and his impact in the area, look into the Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island, where he lived out his final years.

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