Dirt and dust

Popular Fort Worth museum will close doors all summer for building renovations

Fort Worth museum will close doors all summer for building renovations

Amon Carter Museum of American Art
The museum will reopen September 14. Photo courtesy of Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Scratch a visit to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art from the family to-do list this summer vacation. The entire Fort Worth museum will close to the public from June 3 to September 14 for extensive renovations, museum leaders announced May 21.

The renovation is the next phase of a major building overhaul that began in October 2018. Over the summer, renovations will extend from the upper galleries to the first floor and campus.

“We are entering the beginning of a historic period of change at the museum," says Andrew J. Walker, Carter executive director, in a release. "Through the support of our community, we are able to change the way our visitors experience our collection and our iconic building. We are excited to reopen our doors this fall and introduce the new Carter to our community through fun events and great art.”

The results of the renovation will be significant, the museum says. Gallery spaces will be enhanced with new sightlines, it will get moveable walls for easily configurable layouts, state-of-the-art lighting, and hardwood flooring throughout the upstairs galleries.

In addition, the photography vaults have been expanded to allow for future collection growth and to preserve the holdings with state-of-the-art climate control. Also, the main campus and front entrance will feature increased accessibility, the museum says.

“Through our new installation — which aims to be elegant, dynamic, and thought-provoking — the collection will sing in ways it never has before,” says Brett Abbott, director of collections and exhibitions, in the release. “The museum is poised to inspire more people more deeply in the years ahead, and I look forward to sharing the new galleries with our community.”

The building will reopen to the public on September 14, with an extended celebration of its fifth annual Party on the Porch, from 10 am to 10 pm. There will be tours, activities for kids, live music, and more.

The fall exhibitions will also begin on September 14, led by the groundbreaking "Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950," running through December 29. Here is a closer look at next season's exhibition lineup, with descriptions provided by the museum.

"Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950"
September 14-December 29, 2019
Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation, this exhibition explores the early years of Parks’ career as an influential photographer who captured the essence of the civil rights movement in addition to breaking barriers for African Americans. Through some 150 photographs, as well as rare magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and books, the exhibition offers an expansive and intimate look at how this pioneering African American artist became one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

"Puente Nuevo by Justin Favela"
September 14, 2019-June 30, 2020
The museum commissioned contemporary artist Justin Favela to create an immersive installation exclusively for the Carter. Based in Las Vegas, Favela draws on his own Mexican and Guatemalan heritage to reinterpret art work from the past using massive amounts of cut tissue paper — the same material used to construct piñatas. Favela will cover the walls of our gallery with his own murals inspired by works in our collection, including 19th-century color lithographs of Mexico, and will create a sculptural tissue-paper tribute to the museum’s mobile Untitled (ca. 1942) by Alexander Calder. His work bridges past and present and creates connections across cultures, bringing dynamic color, energy and fun to the museum experience.

"Seeing in Detail: Scott and Stuart Gentling’s Birds of Texas"
September 14-December 1, 2019
When you view Scott and Stuart Gentling’s watercolors of Texas birds, you’ll want to get close. The level of detail is extraordinary — hundreds of brushstrokes for each feather, and there are hundreds of feathers. "Seeing in Detail" features 23 of Scott and Stuart’s watercolors from the museum’s permanent collection. It’s the first of two consecutive exhibitions at the Carter dedicated to these Fort Worth artists and their unique approach to painting the natural world.

"Set in Motion: Camille Utterback and Art That Moves"
September 14-December 8, 2019
This exhibition pairs an interactive installation by new-media artist Camille Utterback with a century of art depicting motion from the Carter’s collection. In Utterback’s Untitled 5 (2004), visitors’ movements in the gallery space are run through computer software written by the artist that translates them into an animated digital painting that constantly evolves. Although thoroughly contemporary, Untitled 5 builds on a rich lineage of artwork that records or transforms human movement, including the abstract expressionists Utterback considers her forbearers. "Set in Motion" includes a selection of work by women who experimented to pursue this difficult goal, from well-known masters like Georgia O’Keeffe and Helen Frankenthaler to underappreciated artists like Barbara Morgan and Anne Ryan.

James Surls, "Seven and Seven Flower (1998)"
September 14, 2019-summer 2021
Upon entering the museum, visitors will have a chance to marvel at James Surls’ otherworldly sculpture Seven and Seven Flower, a complex portrait of family, land, and self. The acclaimed Texas artist transformed pine and steel into writhing blossoms suspended in space to evoke a dynamic relationship between the earthly and the spiritual. Seven and Seven Flower directly connects to the museum’s collection of 20th-century sculpture yet transcends time as a universal expression of ethereal beauty.