The first time I heard about the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth was only a few months ago when my co-worker Anne told me about having her wedding there. She was surprised that I had never been, given I grew up in Dallas. I asked my mom about it and even though she still lives in Dallas and is an art lover, she had not been either. So I decided to remedy this and take my mom to visit to the Modern Art Museum to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day.
The Modern is located in a beautiful building, designed by Tadao Ando, not too far from the Kimball Museum. As soon as you enter the Museum you will immediately notice the floor to ceiling windows and the water feature in the back. Right away, I could see how it would be a perfect wedding location. The Modern Cafe, where we would be having brunch, also overlooks the water. If you plan on dining at the Cafe, I would recommend making a reservation in advance so that you can get one of the window seats.
Our Visit to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth
We started our visit at the special exhibit, Frank Stella: A Retrospective on the ground floor. I have to admit before my visit I was not really familiar with his work, but I was thoroughly impressed. The exhibit closes on September 18, 2016, so catch it before it is too late.
The exhibit starts out with some sketches that were studies for his works. It is always interesting to get that “behind the scenes” look. Next, came the paintings, which were large and very eye catching. Then, the artwork started to become more three dimensional. Stella was always willing to explore or invent new techniques to bring different kinds of space into abstraction.
Upstairs you can find the museum’s permanent collection, which definitely had some interesting pieces and some big name artists including Andy Warhol, Banksy, Jackson Pollack, Roy Lichtenstein, and Henry Moore. As typical of any Modern Art Museum, there were a few pieces that we didn’t quite get, but gave us a good laugh. Overall though, the artwork in the collection was really nice, so I thought I would highlight a few of the most memorable pieces.
One piece that was really interesting was Inside-Outside by Nancy Graves which actually looks like animal bones on the floor. I also liked seeing sketches for Carrol Dunham’s Horse and Rider piece and the final painting. I quickly recognized an Untitled piece as the work of Dan Flavin since I had see his work at DIA Beacon. Another favorite was The Ark by Melissa Miller because I loved the colors and the way the tigers were painted.
There are also some sculptures outside. I really love the Roxy Paine piece by the water. It reminded me of the piece that was part of Madison Square Park’s Public Art display in 2007. I also enjoyed the Untitled piece by Teresa Margollas that looks like benches. They are very practical since they are comfortable to lay on but they have a deeper meaning. The benches were made with water used in the washing of bodies of murdered people in the Guadalajara morgue.
After we had our fill of art, it was time to take a break and enjoy brunch. The Cafe was not crowded when we got there, but unfortunately all the window seats were taken. The food was delicious and artistically presented. To start, we shared the fried green tomatoes. They also gave us a nice bread basket that even included a raspberry scone.
For my entree, I had the Modern Lyonnaise, which was similar to eggs benedict, but served on a bed of greens and asparagus instead of an English Muffin. My mom had the spring pea falafels which were also very good. I especially liked the pita bread, it tasted like it was probably fried. I also ordered one of the artful cocktails, the Mental, which was tasty but the only thing artful about it was the glass it was served in. We ended our meal by sharing the chocolate tarragon brownie. My mom was a little hesitant to order it because of the tarragon and balsamic glaze, but we both really enjoyed it.
Before we left, we also stopped by the Museum Store. The shop had lots of great gift ideas including toys, jewelry, books, and more. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, you should check out the sketches of the plans for the building from the architect, Tadoa Ando, displayed on the wall in the front of the store.
Lastly, one thing that I did notice that I think is different from other art museums, was the friendliness of the staff. You didn’t need to approach them to ask questions, they were offering interesting stories on their own. I observed lots of friendly interactions, when normally I see the staff at museums scolding visitors about getting too close to the art or taking pictures.
If you are a modern art fan, I would definitely recommend a visit to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. My mother and I really enjoyed our visit. Have you been to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth? I would love to hear about your experience.
- The Modern has free admission every Sunday and half-priced on Wednesdays.
- Make a reservation at the Cafe in advance and request a window seat.
- The museum is not too big, but plan to spend 2-3 hours to see it all.
- The Frank Stella special exhibit closes September 18, 2016, so try to visit before then.