Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Modern Art Deep In The Heart of Texas: The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

I’ve been traveling the last couple of days and have had little time to surf the blogosphere. However, I did have a couple of hours to visit The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Yes, such a thing does exist, and it is an outstanding museum.

The building itself, completed in 2002 and designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, is a breathtaking work of art—a masterful blend of light, space, glass, water, steel, and concrete. At night, it resembles Japanese paper lanterns reflected in a still pond.

This amazing building houses an impressive collection of over 2,400 works of postwar art. One of my favorites was German artist Anselm Kiefer's lead sculpture, Book with Wings. As a booklover, it is hard not to like an angelic-like book taking flight.

Another interesting piece was Dwelling by young Japanese artist Hiraki Sawa—a whimsical, surreal black-and-white DVD that features a fleet of toy die-cast airplanes flying around a small, sparse apartment.

In conjunction with the 2005 Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, the museum has set up Red Grooms’, Ruckus Rodeo. Commissioned for a 1976 exhibition, Grooms attended every rodeo performance of the 1975 Fort Worth Livestock Show. After designing this room-size environmental sculpture in his New York studio, Grooms assembled the Ruckus Construction Company, a group of 15 painters, sculptures, carpenters, and engineers and returned to Ft. Worth to assemble the piece. It is a Texas-size, chaotic, colorful, clownish pop-art tribute to the cowboy and his rodeo. Proof that modern art is all-American and a live and well in the Lone Star State. Well worth a visit.

As a side note, at the museum bookstore I picked In Memory of My Feelings: Frank O’Hara and American Art. I am fascinated by the interplay between the New York School poets and the Abstract Expressionists, the rich dialogue between poetry and visual art, so this should be an interesting book.

Well, I have my beautiful de Kooning
to aspire to. I think it has an orange
bed in it, more than the ear can hold.

--Frank O’Hara, Radio

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