Best Museum

Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

The building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, is gorgeous. The exhibitions are rigorous and pitch-perfect, and often deal with light and space, capitalizing on Ando's minimal but essentialist design (witness this past year's Light Project, Dan Flavin: Constructed Light and Ideal (Dis)Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer). It's pure curation, generous and exacting (there's no text on the wall or supplemental material; just the implicit, elemental directive to look closely at the art). The Pulitzer's outreach programs are more challenging and innovative than most museums in the nation can boast (examples: "Staging Old Masters: Former Prisoners Perform at the Pulitzer," in cooperation with Prison Performing Arts; and "A Marathon Ovid," a two-day reading of Metamorphoses). Then there's the contemporary-music series (courtesy of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra), and the readings, symposia and film series the Pulitzer hosts. Too bad art and community aren't always as harmoniously integrated outside its cool walls.

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