Friday, April 8, 2016

Inside the Amon G Carter Museum of American Art

Museum Entrance
Dave enjoys the art of Thomas Hart Benton and there was an exhibition of his works at The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. Since I’m pretty much up for any adventure, off we went. It was a bright day, but the wind was blowing a gale, so rather than wander through the park-like areas surrounding the museum, we hurried inside. One of the nice things about the Amon Carter is that it’s free all of the time – and the traveling exhibitions are free, as well. I hadn’t been to this museum in probably ten years, but I remembered it as a collection of western art. That is no longer the case.

So who is Thomas Hart Benton and what did he do. For starters, his art is, to my untrained eye, very like Art Deco style; I liked his work a lot! Thomas Hart Benton, along with Grant
Gallery with traveling exhibit at rear
Wood and John Steuart Curry, were at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement. Benton’s paintings showed everyday people in scenes of life in the United States. His most famous mural, Social History of Missouri, depicts the state's history, including slavery, Jesse James, and a political boss. The exhibit at the Carter is from later in Benton’s career. He came to Hollywood as a muralist to help paint movie sets and advertisement posters. His murals show what it’s like to work in all aspects of the movie industry, by focusing as much on the make-up artists, carpenters and other behind-the-scenes professionals as on the actors. His illustrations decorate such books (and their covers) as the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘Huck Fin’. We saw nearly 100 works, including 50 paintings and murals, some of his drawings, prints, and illustrated books, as well as archival photographs, film clips, and stills that show how he thought through the development of whatever he was creating. It was enlightening and inspiring to see this exhibit.

The collections in the rest of the museum focus on 19th and early-to-mid 20th Century
Top L ro R: Casset, O'Keeffe
Bottom L to R: Onderdonk, Hicks
American art. I was surprised to see works by Alexander Calder, Thomas Cole, Stuart Davis, Charles Demuth, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, and Alfred Stieglitz. And while I enjoyed seeing this part of the collection, I wasn’t nearly as impressed by the photographic collection. Currently there is an exhibit called Discarded by Anthony Hernandez that shows deserted houses, fields, buildings, and so forth in California. These places were started at the height of the construction boom, but have now fallen into ruin. I suppose one reason I wasn’t impressed was that they weren’t composed in such a way that captured my interest. They may be technically good, but they weren’t emotionally or intellectually stimulating.

Originally called the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, it became the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in 2011. The museum was created by Amon G. Carter, who made
L to R: Russel sculpture, Remington painting
his fortune in publishing, radio, television, oil, and aviation. Carter began collecting works of Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell, finally accumulating more than 400 works. After his death in 1955, his will established a museum to house his collection and to ‘be operated as a nonprofit artistic enterprise for the benefit of the public and to aid in the promotion of the cultural spirit in the city of Fort Worth and vicinity’. These original pieces are still on display and provide a wonderful insight into what life was like in early days of the west.

Once we had enjoyed the museum we went looking for something to eat. There are lots of places to choose from in the Fort Worth area, but we decided to try one that is a bit off the beaten track. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

What we ate:
Three carrots

The Old Neighborhood Grill (1633 Park Pl Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76110, 817- 923-2282) has
Top: Wrap
Middle: Bacon cheese burger
Bottom: Chicken fried chicken sandwich
been an institute for the Fort Worth hospital district for some 20 years. The extensive menu is listed on multiple chalkboards; it will take you a while to go through them all. The staff are friendly and helpful, providing suggestions for your meal. Once you’ve ordered your food, paid and gotten your drink, there is seating in two rooms. Your food will be brought to your table, as will drink refills. Dave had a chicken fried chicken sandwich and curly fries. He liked the sandwich, and there was plenty of chicken on it. I had a bacon cheeseburger with curly fries. The burger was very good, and of course, more than I could eat at one time. Neither of us particularly liked the fries, but we did like using them as a carrier for the chipotle mayonnaise; that sauce was very good, whether used on the sandwiches or just as a dip. Prices were lower than we expected. 

Texas fossiliferous limestone

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