5 Fort Worth Museum Exhibitions You Need to See — A Summer of Art Is Coming
From Mayan Treasures to a Storytelling Cowboy and Much MoreBY Courtney Dabney // 05.05.23
Man’s Weapons Are Useless When Nature Goes Armed by Charles M. Russell
Double-Chambered Vessel Maya, Guatemala or Mexico Classic period, 5th century Ceramic. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Jammie Holmes, zebra in the room (2023).
Among the artifacts on view is the sketch box of the Charles M. Russell
Allen Silvy, drifter, Route 93 by Richard Avedon.
Stephens Iron Crown by Robert Motherwell. © Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
Fort Worth museums are putting on a show, beginning this month and continuing with new exhibits rolling out throughout the summer. From ancient Mayan treasures to Western masterworks, photography, and a range of modern masterpieces, there is something to suit every conceivable sensibility.
And plenty to ponder across the Fort Worth museum spectrum. These are Your Must-See Fort Worth Museum Exhibitions:
Kimbell Art Museum
Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Maya Art
On view through December 3
The Kimbell continues its 50-year celebration by taking a deep dive into divine depictions in Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Maya Art. The exhibition displays 100 rarely-seen masterpieces and recent discoveries from the classic period A.D. 250 to 900. The works were collected from royal cities in the tropical forests of what is now Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.
Artworks will “depict episodes in the life cycle of the gods, from the moment of their birth to resplendent transformations as blossoming flowers or fearsome creatures of the night,” a release details.
“For the ancient Maya, gods were born, lived as infants, reached their peak of maturity and influence, aged, and ultimately perished, some to be born anew. This exhibition examines depictions of deities and unpacks the complex imagery that revealed such godly identities and divine aspects.”
Recent advances in the study of Maya hieroglyphs have made it possible to identify the names of dozens of artists of these resplendent works. So this Kimbell exhibit reveals the names of these ancient masters of sculpture and painting for the first time. Their names will be identified on the accompanying exhibition labels.
Sid Richardson Museum
Storyteller Across Media
On view through April 2024
Storyteller Across Media focuses on one of the most important artists of the American West. That would be famed cowboy artist Charles Marion Russell. Russell’s works are not just mesmerizing for their composition, storytelling, and use of light. They have become a historic snapshot into a time now passed on the once-open prairies.
“Over his more than 40-year career Russell chronicled his beloved West across paper, canvas, bronze, and truly anything he could find to make art out of,” Sid Richardson Museum director Scott Winterrowd says. “Russell adapted stories he heard from his cowboy cohorts, as well as Indigenous acquaintances, turning those narratives into a compelling document of the passing of the old West.”
Russell was a master narrator, both orally and visually. His works often portray his sense of humor, as seen in Man’s Weapons Are Useless When Nature Goes Armed. The painting shows when a campsite is overtaken by skunks as a helpless cowboy attempts to fend them off.
Russell’s stories live on in the more than 4,000 artworks he created in his lifetime. The Sid Richardson Museum holds 52 works from Russell that span his entire career from the early 1880s until the year before his death in 1925. The collection is considered one of the finest of the artist’s works.
The exhibit includes ephemera and personal artifacts of Russell too.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting
June 4 through September 17
This Modern Art Museum exhibition is the first one in more than a quarter century that will fully examine the work of Robert Motherwell (1915 to 1991), who was a major figure in postwar art. Of course, frequent visitors to The Modern are already well acquainted with Motherwell, as the museum holds more than 70 of his works in its permanent collection. These come across a variety of media, including paintings, collages, and prints.
Organized by guest curator Susan Davidson, the exhibit dubbed Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting features a selection of 56 works, spanning Motherwell’s career, including 12 paintings from the Modern’s own collection.
“Although he was equally proficient as a collagist, printmaker, and draftsman, it is Motherwell’s expansive sense of painting that this retrospective explores,” a release notes. “Beginning with the abstracted-figurative works that dominated Motherwell’s first decade of painting as he emerged in the New York art world of the early 1940s, the exhibition highlights the depth of his 50-year career.”
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Jammie Holmes: Make the Revolution Irresistible
August 11 through November 26
Following the Motherwell retrospective, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will present Jammie Holmes: Make the Revolution Irresistible ― the first solo museum exhibition of Holmes’ work. Holmes’ focus is the visual and conceptual significance of the Black figure. He captures scenes that are both social and political, but also personal, depicting the lived experience of Black communities in the United States.
“Highlighting Southern histories and contemporary realities, the exhibition includes approximately 15 paintings ranging from early to recent works, showcasing the breadth of Holmes’s signature approach toward painting,” a museum release details. “Collectively, these works represent Holmes’s community — the lens through which the artist explores this nation’s history and invokes connections to essential themes of human existence.”
Amon Carter Museum
On view through October
Renowned fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon would have been 100 this spring. As part of a national celebration led by The Richard Avedon Foundation, the Carter is showcasing 13 works of art from the acclaimed project In the American West, which the Museum commissioned in 1979 and premiered in 1985.
Over six years, Avedon traveled through 13 states from Texas to Idaho. He traversed 189 towns throughout the Western United States conducting 752 sittings. The photos he captured along the way range of everyday people in his now-iconic style ― similar to the myriad of celebrities and politicians Avedon famously photographed.
The Carter owns one of only two complete sets of this series — one of the most important photographic projects of the 20th century. Avedon’s West will be on view through October at this Fort Worth museum.