The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 20, 2003

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Modern Art Museum
Fort Worth, Texas

Thank you, Ann, for your warm welcome and for your generosity in making the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth one of the largest and most beautiful contemporary art museums in the world. Thank you, Marla, for your leadership in expanding the Museum's impressive collection.

And thank you, Michael, for designing this amazing exhibition which complements the Modern's extraordinary new home.

I am happy to have as our guest Dana Gioia, whom the President just appointed to chair the National Endowment for the Arts. Dana is a gifted poet and business man. He says he is, "the only person in human history who went to Stanford business school to be a poet." His talent and managerial experience are well suited for leading NEA and I know he will work hard to share the joy of the arts with America. Accompanying Dana is Deedie Rose, whom you all know. Deedie is on the Board of the National Endowment for the Arts. Thanks for being here, Deedie.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this collection and to making the oldest art museum in Texas now the most renowned. This exhibition celebrates the Modern's 110-year history and its continuing evolution. It was the ambition of volunteers - twenty local women - who first brought a love of the arts and a museum to Fort Worth in 1892. More than a decade later, the museum purchased its first permanent piece, Approaching Storm, by George Inness. Inness believed that art was the poetic representation of nature itself - represented in color, space, and contrasts of light and dark.

He would be proud that renowned architect Tadao Ando captured all of these in this remarkable building. It is fitting that Ando's first public commission in America would be here in the city "Where the West Begins." In this building, art, architecture, and nature come together to provide a rich museum experience.

Every detail from the intricate concrete walls and the reflecting pond, to the angles of natural light are pieces of art. Touring the Modern is an experience in art itself. You feel part of the paintings as you walk through the perfectly lit galleries. Art doesn't just hang in the Modern - it comes to life. Richard Serra's Vortex 2002, is a wonderful welcome to the museum. I enjoyed seeing Jackson Pollock's Masqued Image. And given my fondness for books, I, of course loved Anselm Kiefer's giant book.

This museum, like thousands across America, stands as a beacon for education. It is a living repository for information and treasured art - and with the Modern's new Education Center and Auditorium, a museum that will be enjoyed by everyone.

The Education Center will provide budding Picassos with plenty of space for activities. These rooms will be part of an active museum - hosting lectures, musical performances and citywide cultural events.

Thank you for your support of this great institution. Your tireless efforts will make the museum an inviting place for thousands of visitors every year. The fact that the Modern was built with private funds is a testament to the people of Fort Worth. Your commitment continues that of the twenty pioneering volunteers who worked hard to bring modern art to Fort Worth. I know you are proud of the investment you have made in your community and your future - especially your children's future. I'm especially proud of Fort Worth.

When this beautiful building was complete, Tadao Ando said, "I hope this museum becomes the heart of Fort Worth." It is well on its way to becoming the heart of modern art in America. Congratulations, and I wish you another 100 history-rich and colorful years here in Fort Worth. Thank you.


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