The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, aka “The Modern,” is one of the most beautiful museums in the world, as named by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
Not only is the building beautiful, but it has a significant history as well. Andrew Carnegie, the famous steel industrialist, and philanthropist donated the funds to build the museum and library in 1901, making it the oldest library and art museum in Texas. Initially, the library was the primary focus; there was even a bookbinding department located in the basement of the facility.
The original structure was brick, terracotta, and Pecos stone. The engineers chose wisely, as all these materials are fireproof, protecting the contents of the newly public forum.
The New Modern
Construction of a new home for the now extensive collection of contemporary works of art began in 1999, to the tune of $60 million.
Award-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed the building in his customary minimalistic approach with an emphasis on natural light. He is famous for combining light, water, wind and concrete in his formations, and the Modern is no exception.
Ando also utilized his signature style of blending the building in with the surrounding landscape. The Modern’s environment includes 11 acres of gardens as well as a reflecting pond, and he made use of the negative space to compliment the new museum. After the sun sets, the building’s lighting and reflecting pond combination give the illusion that the interior is floating on the water.
With 53,000 square feet of interior display space, reception halls, and auditorium, the entire catalog of exhibition material is inexhaustible. The following paragraphs are just a few of the highlights from the Modern’s collections.
In 1990, the Modern owned the most valuable collection, outside of the East Coast museums, of paintings by modernist-style artist Milton Avery. His artwork combines Impressionism with realistic shapes and complimentary colors, so the subject is recognizable, but not in a typical portrait type way.
Modern has three of Josef Albers’ Homage To The Square in their permanent collection. Albers was one of the pioneers of the Minimalistic Art movement, and he didn’t even begin the series until 1950, at age 62. The color blocks became so widely known; one version appeared on a U.S. postage stamp. Interestingly enough, Albers never used tape to achieve the straight lines; he used a palette knife.
Lynda Benglis, known for her sculptures made from latex and foam, is represented at the Modern. Her piece For Carl Andre looks like it’s a fissure in a corner of the gallery with black molten lava pouring out of the crevice.
Solar powered exhibits are now part of the Modern’s temporary collection. Los Angeles-based artist Glenn Kaino created Tears of Maria using a solar-powered motor that pulls moisture from the surrounding air and freezes it, creating a white sphere surrounded by black charcoal. When the sunshine is no longer available, the ice melts and part of the charcoal facade is carried off the supporting boards.
Off The Walls
The Modern continues to engross visitors once they leave the galleries. Their Cafe Modern is a full-service restaurant that sources locally and cooks everything from scratch. Cafe Modern’s brunch menu is extensive, so much so they even have a Kid’s Brunch edition. A bar in the establishment serves cocktails and kid-friendly beverages from 10:00 am-4:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday and 10:00 am to 9:30 pm on Fridays.
During the summer months, the Modern hosts lecture series, summer camps for kids of all ages, live performances, and even films.
First Friday at the Modern is a program offered that combines food, drinks, art, music and fun. With your ticket, you get a 20-minute tour of the museum, and then dinner, plus a special drink after the art show. There is usually an accompanying musical act or a feature movie after dinner. So, it’s all of date night in one beautiful setting.
Art classes are available for elementary-aged students up to teaching art teachers. The Modern’s philosophy is to keep art alive through education and engagement, and they accomplish this through educational opportunities.
A ticket to enter is $10 for adults, including children over age 12, $4 for students with ID and Seniors over age 60. They are closed on Mondays, holidays, and when the Ft. Worth school district is closed for inclement weather.
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