In Search of Great Venues

It was while I was working at the modern museum in Fort Worth that I acquired the itch to turn everyone on to the glories of modern and contemporary art. Then, I lived in Dallas and worked as an artist for 18 years. Both Fort Worth and Dallas are excellent cities for art lovers (and pretty good for artists, too).

I moved to Austin 20 years ago. I was attracted to its laid-back atmosphere and hill-country beauty.

Before moving here, I knew that Austin was a live music center. I quickly discovered that it also has a very healthy theater and film scene. However, I didn’t know that it’s not what I consider to be a great art town. I’m sure some would disagree with me — but what I look for is either an excellent modern museum or an outstanding all-around art museum with a strong modern collection and innovative modern traveling exhibitions. I also want an array of good modern galleries.

To be fair, we have The Contemporary Austin which includes an outdoor sculpture park (Laguna Gloria) and a modest exhibition space (The Jones Center). There are also pockets of cooperative studio and exhibition spaces that cater mostly to young artists, plus a non-profit called Women and Their Work. There are a few contemporary galleries. But Austin is not a world-class art city, by any means.

All of this was a buildup to just say that I feel starved for great venues for modern art – even more so since the covid-19 pandemic.

To top it off, yesterday I hosted a virtual meeting of the Magic of Modern Art Mensches. Everyone shared about memorable modern art museum experiences. The sharing was inspiring – but at the same time, it also unexpectedly intensified my desire for new modern art museum moments.

Oddly, at the same time that I feel immersed in this sense of longing, I am also observing it. Isn’t it remarkable that art is so powerful and important that being deprived of it can produce a yearning not unlike missing a loved one or being in nature or dancing or whatever else you’re passionate about?

p.s. Rick Allred, one of the Magic of Modern Art Mensches, shared with us about the phenomenal TeamLAB Borderless at the Mori Building Digital Art Musuem. ( I hope I named this correctly!)