The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth is home to some of the most acclaimed modern and contemporary art collections in the United States. It is dedicated to presenting and interpreting international art from mostly the 1940s and onward. Its permanent collection includes more than 3,000 art pieces, including those by Jackson Pollock, Phillip Guston, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Gerhard Richter, and Cindy Sherman.
The Modern is situated near the Amon Carter and Kimbell Arts museums in a fabulous building designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. Ando’s engineering proficiency and aesthetic sense are apparent in the Modern’s structure, which is composed purely of metal, glass, and concrete.
The naturally-illuminated gallery space of 53,000 square feet holds special exhibitions and several outdoor sculptures; a reflecting pond, education center, gift shop, café, and theater make up the surroundings.
The Modern holds colorful and evolving works concerning diverse themes, cultures, ages, and time periods. Though most of the art is from after the year 1945, the first work hosted by the museum was George Inness’s 1875 painting, Approaching Storm.
Prominent works from the earlier post-World War II era include paintings by American artists regarding Abstract Expressionism. Many important figures, such as Claes Oldenburg and Edward Ruscha, have contributed to the museum’s Pop Art collection. The 1960s Minimalism is also represented through works of influential artists such as Carl Andre and Donald Judd.
The works of new image painters from the 1970s and ‘80s and modern abstract artists like Susan Rothenberg, Brice Marden, and Sean Scully also belong to the Modern’s permanent collection.
The museum has also been acquiring artistic photographs since the 1990s to account for their growing significance in contemporary art. Notable artists in this regard include Cindy Sherman, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Yasumasa Morimura, Carrie Weems, and several others.
The Modern’s art collection depicts thousands of paintings, photographs, and impressions to introduce people from various backgrounds to distinguished philosophies. Its contents explore both the historical aspects of art and diverse modern-day ideologies. Artists like Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, and Anselm Kiefer have majorly contributed to the museum’s international art collection.
The Modern also offers a long-term learning experience and community-based services. Official tours and lectures led by outstanding personalities of the art world, art camps and classes, and workshops serve the purpose of not only showcasing art but of also creating a cordial environment where minds can grow and exchange interests.
Asides from established creators, the Modern is also known for highlighting the works of emerging artists. The community maintains an active relationship with the artists, and many of them pay frequent visits to the museum for meet-and-greets and educational talks.
Besides art, other activities include shopping for special gifts at The Modern Shop or enjoying fine meals in the elliptical dining room of Café Modern, which is set on the museum’s magnificent reflecting pond. The museum frequently organizes music and dance festivals in partnership with other art organizations, and the connected theatre features critically acclaimed first-run films.
History of the Modern
In 1892, the present-day Modern Art Museum was chartered as the “Fort Worth Public Library and Art Gallery” in downtown Fort Worth, making it the oldest museum in Texas and one of the oldest in western America. It was founded by a group of 25 women whose ambition was to bring contrast to the unsophisticated culture of Fort Worth.
Through its lifetime, the museum has been given many different titles such as “The Carnegie Public Library Art Gallery, 1901,” “The Fort Worth Museum of Art,” “The Fort Worth Art Center,” and, the present name, “Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth,” which was given in 1987.
It has also been integrated into several buildings. Of these, the first long-term residence, in the Cultural District, is credited to Herbert Bayer, who designed the building in 1954. As the Cultural District began to develop and new museums started to appear in the city, the Modern resituated to its current and more prestigious premises in 2002.
The first work to make its way in the modern permanent art collection of the Modern, Approaching Storm by George Inness was obtained in 1904. In 1909, the museum hosted its first exhibition and displayed 45 works of art by American contemporary artists.
Though the Modern has shared many goals over the decades, the Inness painting’s inclusion in the present-day collection signifies its original purpose of gathering and sharing fine art. Nowadays, the museum exclusively focuses on post-World War II and contemporary art.
The Modern’s Architecture
The present-day museum building is an exemplary work of the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. It’s a simple product of steel, aluminum, concrete, granite, and glass. Michael Auping, the Modern’s former chief curator, closely worked with Ando for five years to ensure that the interior design would meet artists’ display and aesthetic needs.
The concrete’s planar walls and sharp edges emphasize the beautiful and elementary geometry of the place. The museum is surrounded by landscaped grounds and hills, which can be viewed through the forty-foot-high magnificent glass walls encased in metal. The building was designed to provide for diffused sunlight within the gallery spaces.
The Modern features five flat-roofed pavilions that seemingly float on an expansive pond. Besides natural light, the still water of the pond also reflects five huge Y-shaped concrete figures that support the roof of the pavilions.
With the linear skylights illuminating the inside and the reflecting pond seamlessly connected with the building, the effective geometry and the surrounding natural landscape makes the Modern no less than a modern architectural marvel.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is the oldest museum in Texas and home to foremost post-World War II and contemporary art pieces. It has over 3,000 works of arts in its permanent collection, covering a wide array of themes and philosophies from different times and cultures. The museum aims to encourage the act of collecting, learning about, and promoting art.