Feature Articles

March 2014

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC, Features Career of Architect Mario Botta

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC, is presenting Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory, an exhibition which spans the career of acclaimed architect Mario Botta, on view through July 25, 2014.

Considered one of the century’s most fundamental contributors to postmodern classicism, Swiss architect Mario Botta is respected particularly for his sensitivity to regional vernacular and to the building’s relationship with the land. He is the designer of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – the only commissions he has accepted in the United States. Botta’s body of work ranges from private residences in the Swiss Alps to urban projects in Europe and Asia.

Botta is among the most noted architects on an international scale. His reputation and status have long been established throughout the rest of the world by the great number and wide variety of commissions the 70-year-old architect has received in the last 50 years throughout Europe and most recently Asia. He is considered one of the world’s foremost architects of churches and museums.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is the only US venue for this engaging exhibition that highlights the designs for some of Botta’s significant museums, libraries, theaters and religious spaces. Over the last decades, Botta has focused on creating major public buildings worldwide. The exhibition features sketches, original wood models and photographs for 30 of these projects.

More than 200 objects will be on view throughout the museum’s entire fourth-floor gallery including wooden stools designed by Botta, which provide seating for the exhibition’s digital slide shows.

Also featured in the exhibition are letters and sketches by architects and others who have influenced Botta. Included in this Encounters section are artworks from the Bechtler collection created by artists who have inspired Botta such as Alberto Giacometti, Jean Tinguely, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso.
“This exhibition is a celebration of the Bechtler building as the single largest object in our collection,” said John Boyer, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art President and CEO. “It is a reminder of the powerful uniqueness of this commission in the United States and an acknowledgement of the important relationship between architecture and other forms of art.”

The show’s title, Architecture and Memory, addresses what Botta says are inseparable elements in that the transformations wrought by architecture become part of the human landscape. Botta’s buildings interpret modern culture while evoking the memory of the land.

Botta’s buildings respect topographical conditions, regional factors and building materials. His designs bear the stamp of respect for craftsmanship and are often ruled by an underlying geometric principle. Though he occasionally uses steel and glass in visible quantities, Botta is truly an architect of stone, brick and concrete. He uses geometric shapes to juxtapose lightness and weight.

Botta’s work, as described in The New York Times, “eschews the slickness and the sleekness of so much late modernism. His material is masonry, not glass or steel, and he uses it to create buildings that are firm, self-assured essays in geometry.”

The exhibition will be supplemented by a roster of public and educational programs as well as a catalogue.

Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory was organized by Mario Botta and is based on the exhibition Mario Botta Architecture 1960-2010, which was on view Sept. 11, 2010 through Jan. 23, 2011 at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Trento and Rovereto, Italy.

The exhibition is made possible with a generous grant from presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Private Bank.

“The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art building designed by architect Mario Botta is a gem of contemporary architecture not only in Charlotte, but in all of the United States. Wells Fargo Private Bank is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of this noteworthy exhibition of Botta’s work,” said Wells Fargo Private Bank Regional Director Madelyn Caple. “We are proud to demonstrate our continued support of Charlotte’s cultural community by sponsoring a show highlighting one of the world’s masters of architecture.”

Significant funding for the exhibition is provided by Belk, Inc, Childress Klein Properties, Electrolux North America, The Hartford and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

Additional funding comes from Rodgers and Balfour Beatty Construction. A design consortium led by Wagner Murray Architects, which includes American Institute of Architects (AIA) Charlotte, Gantt Huberman (a division of Bergmann Associates) and Housing Studio, also provided financial support. The exhibition’s media sponsor is WFAE 90.7fm, Charlotte’s NPR News Source.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to the exhibition of mid-20th-century modern art. It is named after the family of Andreas Bechtler who assembled and inherited a collection created by seminal figures in modernism. The museum is located at Levine Center for the Arts, on South Tryon Street.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings or visit (www.bechtler.org).


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