First Fridays at the Modern

Last night was our third time attending First Friday at the Modern and our first dining at the museum’s own Café Modern (stay tuned for a separate post on that). For the uninitiated, First Fridays are held on the first Friday of each month (naturally), when The Modern (also known as Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth) stays open late to host live music, a cash bar, and those who want to wander though the galleries.As the program is sponsored by the Star-Telegram, newspaper subscribers gain free admission to the galleries (be sure to bring your Press Pass) while others pay the usual admission ($4 for students and seniors; $10 for the rest of us). The music, which usually leans toward jazz, is performed in the lobby and is free for everyone. Waiters are on hand to serve drinks and salsa and chips. In fact, we’ve gone with friends just to the music and cocktails part for an inexpensive night out, and that in itself is fun. The building’s soaring concrete and glass walls and shimmering reflecting pool provide a dramatic setting that will make you feel like you’re really in a city, and the crowd is friendly and diverse; you’re likely to see babes in strollers and older folks with walkers, and none of that pseudo-intellectual or exclusive feel that art crowds are sometimes plagued with. Although it’s worth the stop just for the music, it is sort of a shame to go without walking through the galleries, because things do look different at night (and after a drink or two). For one thing, people seem game for philosophizing—some even with strangers—about the abstract art works. And that can make for fascinating conversation (just try naming any of the many works called “Untitled” and you’ll be on a roll). If the full parking lot is any indication, this venture has gone a long way toward making the museum feel more accessible and more inviting to those who can’t always get to the galleries during the daylight hours, or simply prefer the unbuttoned evening vibe.