Humanities Nirvana in Fort Worth
Today, wifey and I spent exactly $ 00.00 for free Saturday admission to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. The building itself on the outside resembled a vaulted German WWII bunker lining the beaches of Normandy. Inside, the open stretched gallery layout provided ample room and variability in illumination and display.
Later this year, the main building turns 50. Designed by Louis Kahn, it was the last major project to finish before his passing. And no, he was not the brother of renown Detroit-based architect Albert Kahn.
I’ve been to some of the top notch art museums in maybe 20 States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Yet inside this divine temple of entangled arcades I found jaw-dropping works of significant cultural, aesthetic and visual import. One long gallery mesmerized me with an image in my visual imagination I can reliably recall whenever I need an uplifting moment of historic beauty. I stood in front of glorious masterpieces arrayed in a triptych esthétique; Cézanne before me, Monet to the left, Gaugin to my right. Bonnard, Matisse, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens and even paintings and sculptural aspirations by Bernini lifted their illuminating brilliance into the forefront of a mind darkened by the modern age.
Other masterpiece artists include the first known painting by Michelangelo, which is also his only painting in the States. And to the delight of my heart and eyes, J.M.W. Turner has a circular showpiece, one of only several of this depictions across the Pond. Turner, the 19th Century’s most brilliant Western European stylist, brushed lofty layers of light into centralized compositions illustrating instances from Classical literature; in this case, a minor moment from Ovid is given life.
Let me not forget to mention Assyrian, Egyptian, Olmec, Aztec, Zapotec, Cambodian, Indian and Maori republic arts and crafts, in relief and hew. Although the collection is not as large as my native Detroit Institute of Arts, the Kimbell exemplifies quality in scarcity over a luxurious plethora. And when you’re done, there’s another building with permanent exhibits, and across the street, “The Modern” with original Warhols.
The planet is burning up from ACC. Guns now have more rights in this country than women. Teenagers are using weapons of war to kill children. Petro companies are using European affairs to gouge us at the gas pump. Russia is waging a deadly war with Ukraine. State legislators across the red states are stopping teachers from discussing honest history and social issues that reflect us all.
Prepare to forget about all that. Open your eyes and souls to human creativity at it’s best. And feel, if only for an instant, there may be some hope for us in these dark days.