Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art : Charlotte, NC

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Charlotte has a new arts complex called the Cultural Campus. Visually heading up this campus is the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Swiss Architect, Mario Botta designed the building on S. Tryon St., where is certainly stands out against skyscrapers and antique churches. This is his second American building. He kept in step with his signature style - brick, stark, and geometric. Wagner -Murray Architects was the designer of record for this marvelous edifice. It was completed in 2009 and officially open to the public in January 2010.

The Bechtler Museum has an interesting and intimate background. After connecting the dots, I can't imagine a more appropriate Architect for this job. Let's start with the reason the museum is extant. It is the private collection of Swiss born Art lover, Andreas Bechtler. His father and uncle established a deep love for art in the 1950's, and decided to start collecting art Switzerland. Part of this is their collection inherited by their son, Andreas, and part are from his private collection. Business acquisitions had landed Mr. Bechtler in Charlotte, where he now calls home.

The museum houses a lot of recognizable names, such as Warhol, Le Corbusier, Klee and Johns, to name just a few. When I visited, I noticed that there was a large variety of "Le Corbu's" work. Everything from handmade rugs, to paintings, to, of course, furniture. Mario Botta was influenced by Le Corbusier and often quotes him, and refers to him as a Master of Rationalism. I could not find this in my research, but I believe that Botta studied under Le Corbusier at one time. (don't quote me!)

Even though this museum is small, it captures the intimacy of the art itself and the artists. One of my favorite features of this museum, and what seems to set it apart from others, are the personal letters between the Bechtler family and artists during the design processes. Also on display is a guest book from various get togethers at the Bechtlers house in Switzerland. It is a veritable "who's who in modern art". It reinstates the human side of the creativity and feeling that we can usually simply see through our own eyes, at our own perspective.

Recently, the museum added extra weekend hours. For an $8.00 adult admission, you can't beat that with a Barcelona Chair.

For more information on admission, parking and hours, go to:

From me to you, Mr. Bechtler, thank you for bringing you collection to our city!

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