CHEAP CHIC EUROPE

Hobnob With the Masters for $1.50

Europe has long been the world's art capital. Now it's outdone itself.

Hermitage Amsterdam

GREECE

The Acropolis Museum, Athens
Just down the hill from the Acropolis sits architect Bernard Tschumi's modern three-decades-in-the-making addition to the ancient site. The exterior of the glass-walled space, which holds 40,000 artifacts, reflects the Parthenon. Highlight: A replica of the Parthenon's frieze, awaiting the return of the hotly contested Elgin Marbles. newacropolismuseum.gr, admission $1.50 through 2009.

BELGIUM

Musée Magritte Museum, Brussels
René Magritte's hometown has unveiled a sparkling new space befitting its surrealist star and filled it with his paintings, letters, and drawings. Even the renovation of the neoclassical building paid homage to the artist: A canvas that hung over the scaffolding showed a trompe l'oeil curtain pulled back to reveal a Magritte work. Highlight: Lesser-known Impressionist works. musee-magritte-museum.be, $11.25.

ITALY

Punta della Dogana, Venice
Billionaire art collector François Pinault (he owns Christie's) led his organization to take over this 17th-century customs house, beating out the Guggenheim Foundation. Architect Tadao Ando transformed the space into a giant gallery to show off works from Pinault's 2,500-piece collection. Ando gutted the interior to reveal brick walls, on which you'll find an A-list of contemporary artists. Highlight: Playful Japanime from Takashi Murakami. palazzograssi.it, $21.

NETHERLANDS

Hermitage Amsterdam
The Western world's largest branch of St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum has reopened, with 10 times more space, in a 17th-century nursing home. Highlight: The inaugural exhibit showcases over 1,800 artifacts—lavish thrones, extravagant gowns, and Fabergé jewelry—plus paintings depicting the lives of 19th-century czars. hermitage.nl, $21.

GERMANY

Museum Brandhorst, Munich Exactly 36,000 technicolor ceramic rods shroud the latest addition to the burgeoning Kunst­areal museum district. Inside the 34,500 square feet of galleries: 150 works, including more than 25 paintings by Andy Warhol and works by superstars Damien Hirst, Bruce Nauman, and the German Gerhard Richter. Highlight: A room above the foyer designed for Cy Twombly's Lepanto Cycle, a series of 12 abstract paintings. museum-brandhorst.de, $9.75 TuesdaySaturday, $1.50 on Sundays.

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