Generally, the term art gallery is used to mean a building or location dedicated to displaying and/or selling art, though the large rooms in museums where art is displayed for the public are often referred to as galleries as well, with a room dedicated to Ancient Egyptian art often being called the Egyptian Gallery, for example.
Most large urban areas will have several art galleries, and most towns will be home to at least one. However, they may also be found in smaller villages, and quite remote areas, often places where artists have congregated. Examples incluce the Taos art colony in Taos, New Mexico, and St Ives, Cornwall.
Although primarily concerned with providing a space to show works of visual art, art galleries are sometimes used to host other artistic activities, such as music concerts or poetry readings. Conversely, some works of visual art are not shown in a gallery and, due to their form, never can be. Altarpieces, for example, are rarely shown in galleries, and murals generally remain where they have been painted. Various forms of 20th century art, such as land art and performance art, also usually exist outside a gallery. Photographic records of these kinds of art are often shown in galleries, however.
Similar to an art gallery is the sculpture garden (or sculpture park), which presents sculpture in an outdoor space.
Famous galleries include:
- Berlin: Deutsche Guggenheim, Museum Island
- Bilbao: Guggenheim Museum
- Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago
- Edinburgh: National Gallery of Scotland
- Florence: Uffizi
- London: National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum
- Madrid: Museo del Prado
- Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria
- New York: The Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Whitney Museum of American Art
- Paris: Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Musée Rodin
- Venice: Peggy Guggenheim Collection
- St. Petersburg: Hermitage
- Taipei, Taiwan: National Palace Museum