Best/Worst No. 2: McNay expansion

BEST: The McNay‘s new Jane and Arthur Stieren Center is an ambitious and successful addition to that museum. Designed by Jean-Paul Viguier, it doesn’t exactly break new ground as museum design goes — its ceilings definitely echo Renzo Piano’s innovative light filtering systems at the Menil and the Nasher Sculpture Center; and it features a long, glass-lined gallery with dark materials that feels unmistakably like Tadao Ando’s Ft. Worth Modern. But who cares? It works, it’s beautiful, and it dramatically changes the way the McNay, until now a Spanish revival mansion with some tacked-on gallery spaces, can exhibit art. The inaugural show, of George Rickey’s kinetic sculpture, was a revelation of his early, smaller, indoor works. These elegant pedestal pieces erased my lazy impression that all Rickey did were the big, outdoor geometric forms in kind of horrible brushed aluminum from the 70s and 80s. The Rickey show wouldn’t have worked nearly as well in the old McNay galleries. Let’s hope for more good exhibits in this newest Texas museum space.

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