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Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth

Posted 4:12pm on Tuesday, Jan. 04, 2011

Find it: 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth; 817-332-8451; www.kimbellart.org

The back story: The greatest achievement by one of the 20th century's greatest architects, Louis Kahn, just happens to be located in Fort Worth, where it’s surrounded by world-class buildings by Tadao Ando and Philip Johnson. The design doesn't sound especially fancy — a series of linked, parallel vaults made out of reinforced concrete. But Kahn's masterly use of these materials— and particularly the way he uses diffusers in the ceilings to allow in natural light, without exposing the art to the harsh Texas elements — only seems more impressive each new time you step inside.

Kahn's building is the perfect backdrop for the Kimbell's awe-inspiring permanent collection, which includes major works by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Mondrian, Matisse and more.

In November 2013, the Kimbell unveiled the Piano Pavilion, architect Renzo Piano's beautiful new addition to the museum that melds perfectly with Kahn's classic building. The Piano Pavilion allows the Kimbell to display more of its priceless collection, plus host blockbuster exhibits, performances and movie screenings.

While you're in the neighborhood: Walk across the street to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the first major commission in the United States for Japanese architect Tadao Ando; the glass, steel and brushed concrete design eloquently complements Kahn's building, but also stands apart as its own unique creation. The reflecting pond creates something of an urban oasis. And the art is mesmerizing, too: a collection of modern masterpieces from Warhol, Pollack, Rothko, Flavin, just to name a few.

Just up the hill from the Kimbell is the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Philip Johnson designed original space, plus a vast addition, that houses the Carter's noted collection of western art by Remington and Russell, plus an impressive array of photography and paintings from the likes of Georgia O'Keeffe and Thomas Eakins. Best of all, admission to the Carter, created by Star-Telegram founder Amon Carter and his family, remains free per his wishes.

Also, don't miss the fabulous Fort Worth Science and History Museum, which includes an IMAX theater, a planetarium, Dino Dig and a full day's worth of interactivities for kids and their parents. And right next door is the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, a fun and fitting tribute to Fort Worth's western heritage.

Best time to go: The Kimbell — indeed, the entirety of Fort Worth's museum district — is best appreciated on a quiet, warm and sunny afternoon, when the natural light gently filters into the building (and you also have time to stroll the museum's impressive grounds).

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