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Fort Worth Art museum has new home

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FORT WORTH, Texas — The oldest art museum in Texas, founded the same year Butch Cassidy hid in downtown Fort Worth after robbing his first train, is showing off a new, $65 million home with room for its 2,700 paintings, sculptures and other pieces.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth boasts more gallery space than any repository of contemporary art except New York's Modern Museum of Art, officials say.

The glass, steel and concrete building near downtown was designed by Tadao Ando, who captured architecture's most prestigious award, the Pritzker Prize, in 1995. Officials hired the Japanese architect in 1997 after deciding that the museum's 1953 building was just too cramped at 38,000 square feet and no parking.

The new building is 153,000 square feet, including 53,000 square feet of gallery space to display the museum's varied collection of postwar art, which includes Picasso's "Reclining Woman Reading" and Andy Warhol's "Twenty-Five Colored Marilyns."

"Coming to the building today, the installation of the artworks brings a new life to the building," Ando said through a translator as he toured the finished museum. "I was surprised at how handsome the collection is and how well it was installed."

Construction began in 1999 on the structure, which features three 40-foot-high glass wall bays rising out of a 1.5-acre reflecting pond. An outdoor sculpture garden is part of the 11-acre site.