Next, I talk Dave, a builder, into visiting the Contemporary Art Museum and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the two adjacent museums, on the basis of their modern, mint-new architecture. Brad Cloepfil did the former, and the more well-known Tadao Ando the latter, making St. Louis progressive - don't forget that Arch - in design circles. At the compact Contemporary, huge concrete slabs protrude over the entrance, mysteriously defying gravity. It's more fascinating than an artist's bellybutton on video inside.
Next door, the Pulitzer is serenity embodied in glass and stone. But the art is sparse and stark and there are docents everywhere who make us feel felon, until we stumble into the courtyard and enter the massive sculpture Joe, by Richard Serra, which winds through a spiraling passage of rusty steel sheets until you reach the open center, a manmade canyon encircling the blue sky. Across the courtyard, planted in a field of grass, is a torso of Venus. Again, all is right with modern art.