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TO US SNOTTY EAST COAST AESTHETES, THE DESIG-nation "Texas's oldest art museum" might have a ring equivalent to "Montana's premiere mime troupe." But hold on; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (also known by the unfortunate acronym MAMFW, or "mam-fwuh") was founded as the Fort Worth Public Library and Art Gallery way back in 1892, decades before many larger cities got their own robber-baron palaces turned public showplaces. A mere dozen years later, the institution made its first purchase for the permanent collection: Approaching Storm, 1875, by George Inness.
Other New York showplaces were closed: Broadway, off-Broadway, and Lincoln Center, but City Center's decision to forge ahead turned out to be courageous, heeding Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's plea to resume our daily lives as quickly as possible.
Though less globe-trotting than its American colleague, the Tate's four showplaces now boast some 350,000 square feet of exhibition space in which to display the museum's collection of more than 60,000 works.