Washington artist Sam Gilliam travels frequently in the United States and Europe, sometimes to openings of exhibits of his own works; he usually makes it a point to seek out museums and galleries.

He is always interested, he says, in visiting traveling exhibits. Artworks away from their home setting are always given a new focus. "It's always different and interesting."

At home, he is especially fond of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. But elsewhere, his favorite are museums include:

* The Walker Museum, Minneapolis: "For its contemporary collections. It has the pop-art pieces--Rauschenbergs and Oldenburgs--and a very good collection of color-field paintings--by Morris Lewis and others." Another attraction is the way the paintings are displayed: "A great deal of space is given to works that normally are seen in very crowded displays."

* Musee du Jeu de Paume, Paris: Although the museum is famed for its Impressionist collection, it is its large "Waterlilies" series that draws Gilliam back again and again. "Their installation is a real spectacle of the art world. They are constructed right on the wall and form a continuous surface right on to the wall. Each time I go to Paris, I always see them again."

* Museum of Modern Art, New York City: "Over the years, the Museum of Modern Art is a favorite primarily for its historical collections. I don't visit it every time I go to New York, but when I begin to forget what's there, I go and it surprises me." The paintings that continute to impress him: Wilfredo Lam's "The Jungle," Picasso's "Three Musicians" and more of Monet's "Waterlilies."