Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Established 1892

3200 Darnell Street

Fort Worth, TX 76107 United States
Type Art
Director Marla Price
Website Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
This image is taken from the deck of The Modern, looking over the new reflecting pool toward downtown Fort Worth.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (widely referred to as The Modern) was first granted a Charter from the State of Texas in 1892 as the "Fort Worth Public Library and Art Gallery", evolving through several name changes and different facilities in Fort Worth. It is the oldest art museum in the state of Texas.[1] The mission of the museum is "collecting, presenting and interpreting international developments in post-World War II art in all media."[1]



The Modern's first facility was a gallery space located within the newly-built Carnegie Public Library, which opened in downtown Fort Worth in 1901. The museum primarily showed traveling exhibitions and temporary loans during the 1930s and early 1940s, but with the help of the Fort Worth Art Association and what would eventually become the present-day Director's Council, a small permanent collection was slowly accumulated. The first purchase for the permanent collection was Approaching Storm (1875) by George Inness.[1]

In 1954, the institution moved to a building west of downtown, in the area that would soon become known as the Fort Worth Cultural District. Now known as the "Fort Worth Art Center", the building was designed by Bauhaus architect Herbert Bayer. The museum's permanent collection continued to grow, as evidenced by the notable purchases of Pablo Picasso's Vollard Suite in 1966 and Reclining Woman Reading (1960), also by Picasso, in 1967.[1]

By 1968, the Amon Carter Museum had established itself as a neighbor to the Fort Worth Art Center (now referred to as the "Fort Worth Art Museum"), and plans were in development for the creation of the Kimbell Art Museum, just down the hill from both institutions. Given the expanding collections of all three museums, a "non-compete proposition" was agreed upon by all of the institutions: the exclusive focus of the Fort Worth Art Museum would be on modern and contemporary art, while earlier periods of American art and European art would fall under the jurisdiction of the Amon Carter Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum, respectively.[1] Once this arrangement was made, the Fort Worth Art Museum officially changed its name to the "Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth".

By July 1996, the museum had acquired a 10.96 acre parcel of land across from the Kimbell Museum for the creation of a new building, and in September of 1996, the Modern's Long Range Planning and Architectural Review Committee announced that six internationally prominent architects had been invited to submit design proposals for the new building.[2] These architects were Tadao Ando, Richard Gluckman, Arata Isozaki, Carlos Jimenez, Ricardo Legorreta and David Schwarz.[2] The models created by each architect were on display at the museum for six weeks, giving the public an opportunity to comment on the designs. In April of 1997, Japanese architect Tadao Ando was selected as the favorite of both the building committee and the public.

The Building

Tadao Ando's new building for the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth was opened to the public on Saturday, December 14, 2002. The building features four pavilions set into a reflecting pond. It was Ando's first major public building in the United States, and has become an architectural highlight of Fort Worth's Cultural District, along with the Amon Carter Museum (designed by Philip Johnson) and the Kimbell Museum (designed by Louis I. Kahn).[3] The structural engineering for the building was provided by Thornton Tomasetti. The building comprises a total of 153,000 total square feet, of which 53,000 square feet is gallery space. The building itself is composed of 22,335.35 cubic feet of cast-in-place concrete. The iconic Y columns are 40 feet tall. The building has a sculpture terrace, as well as a 250-seat auditorium and a climate-controlled vault space specifically built for the storage of paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and photography. The Modern Shop and Café Modern also compose integral parts of the building.

Tado Ando envisioned the new building "as a swan floating on water."[4] He also incorporated the Japanese concept of engawa, or a "space that brings together the inside and the outside", through the creation of glass gallery spaces which appear to "float" on the reflecting pond.[4] Ando wanted to create a "sense that you are almost standing on the water and that you are inside and outside at the same time—no visual boundaries."[4] Ultimately, Ando hoped that the building and its surrounding space would be seen as "an arbor for art."[4]

The Collection

The Modern's permanent collection currently consists of more than 2,600 works of art. The permanent collection includes pieces by Pablo Picasso, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Motherwell, Susan Rothenberg, Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol.[3]

Two of the largest works in the permanent collection are sculptures installed outside of the building. The first, Richard Serra's Vortex (2002), is 67 feet tall and made from cor-ten steel. It is situated near the building's front entrance. The second sculpture, Roxy Paine's Conjoined (2006), is made of stainless steel and is located on the north side of the museum's reflecting pond.

Major Exhibitions (Since 2002)

Museums for a New Millennium: Concepts, Projects, Buildings (February 10 - April 14, 2002)

110 Years: The Permanent Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Philip Guston Retrospective (March 30 - June 8, 2003)

The Paintings of Joan Mitchell (September 21, 2003 - January 4, 2004)

Julie Bozzi: Landscapes 1975–2003 (November 23, 2003 - February 22, 2004)

Pierre Huyghe: One Million + Kingdoms (May 16 - August 29, 2004)

Robert Motherwell from the Collection: 1941–1990 (September 12 - November 28, 2004)

Red Groom's Ruckus Rodeo (December 12, 2004 - February 6, 2005)

Dan Flavin: A Retrospective (February 27 - June 5, 2005)

Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective (June 26 - August 28, 2005)

Picasso: The Vollard Suite (September 2, 2005 - January 15, 2006)

Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth (September 25, 2005 - January 8, 2006)

Nicholas Nixon (January 24 - April 30, 2006)

Sean Scully: Wall of Light (February 12 - May 28, 2006)

Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration (April 9 - June 25, 2006)

Hiroshi Sugimoto: End of Time (September 17, 2006 - January 21, 2007)

Pretty Baby: Group Exhibition (February 25–May 27, 2007)

Ron Mueck (June 24–October 21, 2007)

Declaring Space: Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein (September 30, 2007–January 6, 2008)

Martin Puryear (February 24–May 18, 2008)

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love (July 3–October 19, 2008)

No Room to Answer: Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler (September 14, 2008–January 4, 2009)

William Kentridge: Five Themes (July 12–September 27, 2009)

Susan Rothenberg: Moving in Place (October 18, 2009–January 3, 2010)

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade (February 14 - May 16, 2010)

Vernon Fisher: K-Mart Conceptualism (September 25, 2010–January 2, 2011)

Ed Ruscha: Road Tested (January 23–April 17, 2011)

Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series (September 24, 2001-January 15, 2012)


  1. ^ a b c d e Allison Wagner, ed., Selected Works From the American Collection: 1940 to the Present. (Fort Worth: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1988).
  2. ^ a b Museum press release, September 20, 1996.
  3. ^ a b Michael Auping, ed., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth 110. (London: Third Millennium Publishing, 2002).
  4. ^ a b c d Tadao Ando and Michael Auping, Seven Interviews with Tadao Ando. (Fort Worth: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 2002).

External links

Coordinates: 32°44′57″N 97°21′47″W / 32.749287°N 97.363069°W / 32.749287; -97.363069

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