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Architecture: A Modern Marvel in Texas

Despite its Spanish Colonial belfries and arches, the McNay Art Museum’s strong suit is Impressionist and modern art (Van Gogh, Picasso, O’Keeffe, Pollock). Fittingly, Parisian architect Jean-Paul Viguier’s spare expansion of the San Antonio museum puts a modern twist on the original 1920’s buildings with a sleek, 45,000-square-foot glass box (6000 N. New Braunfels, 210/824-5368; mcnayart.org). The newly christened Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions nearly doubles the institution’s overall space. Transparency defines the new structure: adjustable louvers atop the skylit roof and retractable silkscreened glass beneath it modulate the daylight with such refinement that the shadow of a passing cloud is perceptible. Gardens extend from the glass-walled galleries down to the McNay’s lush grounds and outdoor sculptures, including large works by Barbara Hepworth and Anthony Caro. On view now through January 4: “Judith Godwin: Early Abstractions,” an exhibit devoted to the American Expressionist painter. Opening on October 22, “Artmatters 13: Joseph Marioni: Liquid Light.”

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