Fort Lauderdale Art Museum turns 30 with exhibits of Mendieta, Italian design

Mar 19, 2016 1572

by Siobhan Morrissey

Standing in the lobby of the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and looking heavenward, Frank Stella observed the soaring atrium and mused, "It's the Pantheon of America." "That's how he felt," says Bonnie Clearwater, who has served as the museum's director since 2013. One of America's greatest living artists, Stella — known for his minimalism and latter-day sculptures of coiled metal — drew the connection between one of Rome's most memorable structures and the museum's dramatic interior. "He says he loves our space," Clearwater said. "I said, 'Of course you do, it's a spiral.' "

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the distinctive building designed by the master of modern architecture, Edward Larrabee Barnes. In many ways, the building Barnes erected in 1986 has both influenced and enhanced the exhibitions featured at the Fort Lauderdale museum. According to Clearwater, Barnes created a broad expanse of interior space that is ideally suited to exhibit both monumental and miniature works of art. The space also greatly adds to the museum's mission both as a base of learning through its affiliation with Nova Southeastern University and as a repository of post-World War II art, Clearwater says.

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