Charlotte, North Carolina’s Bechtler Museum of Contemporary Art is a 36,500-square-foot (3,390-square-meter) museum space dedicated to the exhibition of mid-20th-century modern art. The Levine Center for the Arts, which is being built in Uptown, will include a modern art museum. The architect Mario Botta was responsible for the design of the museum building.
Founded by Andreas Bechtler, a Charlotte citizen and native of Switzerland, the museum is named after his family, which amassed and inherited a collection of more than 1,400 works of art created by key players in twentieth-century modernism throughout his lifetime. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art opened to the public on January 2, 2010, with former mayor of Charlotte Anthony Foxx and Andreas Bechtler in attendance.
Mario Botta, the Swiss architect who also designed the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, designed the museum, which is only the second in the country to be designed by him. A key design element of the four-story structure is the soaring glass atrium that extends through the museum’s core and diffuses natural light throughout the building. It is possible to see into different spaces because to the open atrium. Other significant characteristics include a vaulted skylight system and an encompassing terra cotta exterior that provide a warm and welcoming environment.
With its cantilevered and supported by a swollen column rising from the plaza below, the fourth-floor gallery is the building’s most prominent element, making a powerful and dramatic statement as it soars out from the center of the structure. On the inside, Botta kept the palette of materials, which included steel, glass, terra cotta, black granite, polished concrete, and wood, to a bare minimum while maintaining an appealing simplicity. Besides the registration desk, café bar, gallery benches, and hanging globe lights, Botta also designed a few more pieces of furniture for the museum. It’s just a fun day trip from Newell.
The Bechtler collection reflects most of the important art movements and schools from the 20th century with a deep holding of the School of Paris after World War II. The collection includes works in a variety of media by artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol, Jean Tinguely, Barbara Hepworth, and Pablo Picasso who lived throughout the mid-century modern era. In many cases, the artists’ investigation of a given concept or subject matter across a range of media and methodologies is what distinguishes them.
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