Located in south Tryon’s prominent corridor, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is home to more than 1,600 pieces by some of the most renowned mid-20th-century artists. Ranging from pop art to expressionism, Bechtler features pieces by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacornetti, Le Corbusier and many more.
The Bechtler family, set in Switzerland, privately held the collection until 2010. The family cultivated their collection over a 70-year period in Europe. Andreas Bechtler inherited a section of the collection amassed by his family and kindly donated it to Queen City. Many of the most popular pieces featured in the museum were gifts from the artists to the Bechtler family.
At the entrance of the museum, guests are greeted by a glimmering 18-foot Firebird sculpture. This piece is covered in bits of colors and reflective mirrors that echo the Tryon Street surroundings. Artist Niki de Saint Phalle created the sculpture, offering hints to the corresponding collection awaiting visitors inside.
Thanks to Swiss architect Mario Botta, the building projects an intimate texture with open spaces and panoramas. His use of unassuming but sophisticated materials creates a truly one-of-a-kind feel. Botta is internationally recognized as one of the planet’s leading architects. Thus far, he has only accepted two projects in the United States: the Bechtler and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The Bechtler’s mission is to share the joy and excellence of art so everyone can be inspired and informed while having their cultural and intellectual life enhanced. From special members-only events, Jazz at the Bechtler, school tours, family days, Modernism + Film, guest lectures and a commitment to making the museum accessible and inclusive to those with disabilities, the Bechtler is more than a museum; it is the cultural heart of Charlotte.
Located beside several of uptown Charlotte’s finest cultural facilities such as the Knight Theater, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture and the Mint Museum Uptown, the Bechtler Museum officially opened its doors in January 2010. Nearing its 10-year anniversary on Jan. 2, 2020, the museum is now displaying its international exhibition featuring Nomadic Murals: Tapestries of the Modern Era. The exhibition is an exploration and presentation of tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture and architecture. This exhibit features important tapestries by modern masters such as Rene Magritte, Marc Chagall, Diego Giacometti and many more. It will remain on display through Dec. 1.
The second floor of the museum features Sculpture from the Bechtler Collection. This collection showcases 20 pieces of work over four decades by 17 artists from six countries. The museum describes this collection as “… works by artists at their zenith and at the beginning of their career.” Showcased within it are all manners of material including ancient traditions like bronze, marble and iron, simple forms such as painted wood and more idiosyncratic approaches such as enamel on steel.
The Bechtler is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.; and is closed Tuesdays and major holidays including New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission is $9 for adults; $7 for seniors, college students (with school ID) and educators; $5 for youth (11 to 18); and free for children (up to 10) and active-duty, retired military personnel, National Guard, Reserve and their families.
Tours: The Bechtler is a welcoming institution where teachers and students learn about modern art and the personal stories behind the artwork. The museum offers engaging and interactive school tours that are designed to foster students’ inquires, develop critical and creative thinking skills, make connections to other areas of curriculum and help create a visual language that promotes better reading and writing skills.
The Bechtler’s guided tours are led by specially trained docents and last 45 to 60 minutes. A minimum of 10 students is required for a guided tour. All group tours, guided or self-guided, must be scheduled with the museum’s education department at least 30 days in advance. The museum requires an adult chaperone to accompany each group of 10 students. Programs for students with disabilities are available by request.
Admission is $2 per student, chaperone or parent. After-school tours also are available at the rate of $2 per student. To book a tour, contact the Education Department at 704.353.9218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at least 30 days in advance for all guided tours.
420 S. Tryon St., Charlotte