CRYSTAL BRIDGES MEMBER MAGAZINE
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOL V ISSUE II
N E X T G E N E R AT I O N F U N D
Windgate Charitable Foundation Doug and Shelley McMillon Family
Jack and Melba Shewmaker Family
Paul and June Carter Family Pamela and Wayne Garrison Reed and Mary Ann Greenwood The J.M. Smucker Company
G L O B A L I N I T I AT I V E F U N D Chuck and Terri Erwin Reed and Mary Ann Greenwood
Stella Boyle Smith Trust Harriet and Warren Stephens
P. Allen Smith
Bob and Marilyn Bogle Chip and Susan Chambers Harlan and Kathy Crow The Murphy Foundation Thomas Lon Smith
Becky and Bob Alexander Paul M. Angell Family Foundation Neff and Scarlett Basore Robert and Nancy Brooks Paul and June Carter Family Ken and Liz Allen AMP Sign and Banner Arvest Bank Avis Bailey Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry Blue Rhino Briar Rose Bakery Cambridge Associates David and Cathy Evans Family Harrison and Rhonda French Family Greg Thompson Fine Art
ConAgra Foods The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Fund James Dyke and Helen Porter First Quality Enterprises, Inc. George’s Meza Harris Charles and Shannon Holley inVeritas Randy and Valorie Lawson/ Lawco Energy Group MillerCoors Moon Distributors Inc. Nickelodeon Northwest Arkansas Naturals Pinnacle Car Services
Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A. Trustee
The Coleman Company Greenwood Gearhart Inc. Galen, Debi and Alice Havner Univision Arkansas William Reese Company JTH Productions KFSM-TV CBS Kimberly–Clark Premier Dermatology & Skin Renewal Center Procter & Gamble Riedel Roblee Orthodontics Rockline Industries Esther Silver-Parker Mark and Diane Simmons Charitable Fund Steven and Claudia Strange Demara Titzer
The Hershey Company Tartaglino Richards Family Foundation The Segal Family Foundation The William M. Fuller Foundation TravelHost NWA Nicole and John Weeldreyer Family Fund Wright Lindsey Jennings
FRONT COVER: John Trumbull, Portrait of Alexander Hamilton (detail), 1792, oil on canvas, 86 1/2 x 57 1/2 in. Jointly owned by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Credit Suisse, 2013. Photo by Edward C. Robison III. BACK COVER: Joan Mitchell, Untitled (detail), 1952–1953, oil on canvas, 77 1/2 x 71 1/2 in. © Estate of Joan Mitchell. Photo of Adonna Khare by Phill Hatten, courtesy of the artist.
CRYSTAL BRID GES MEMBER MAGAZINE
03 07 08 10 11 16 18 19 24 26 35 36 38
NEWS NOW ON VIEW ACQUISITIONS
VOL V ISSUE II
A DEEPER DIVE: ART & POLITICS
COMMUNITY OUTREACH A CLOSER LOOK COMING SOON MUSEUM STORE TEEN COUNCIL TRAILS & GROUNDS COLLECTION SPOTLIGHT BACK STORY CELEBRATIONS PHILANTHROPY
CONTRAST & CONVERSATION: LOANS HIGHLIGHT NEW THEMES
28 STATE OF THE ART STATUS: A CONVERSATION WITH THREE ARTISTS
C MAGAZINE IS THE MEMBERSHIP PUBLICATION FOR CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART.
Member Priority Line: 479.418.5728 MON • TUE • 8 am to 5 pm WED • THU • FRI 8 am to 9 pm SAT • SUN 10 am to 4 pm Purchase gift memberships at: CrystalBridges.org/Membership.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CHIEF INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY OFFICER
Rod Bigelow LINDA DEBERRY EDITOR
THIS ISSUE of C magazine offers a bit of insight into the politics of art: whether overtly featured as subject matter, or detectible only by closely considering the choices the artist made in the act of creation. In the months leading up to the presidential election, politics dominates our news outlets and social media feeds. It’s everywhere, whether we choose to be a part of it or not. But no matter how closely you do or do not participate directly in politics, if you are an American, you are by definition politically involved. With a government run “by the people, for the people,” politics is an inherent part of American life. Art is likewise inescapably political. Just like everyone else, artists are steeped in the political climate of their time, whether that be the 1860s or the 1960s, and the art they create naturally reflects that experience. As viewers, we come wearing our own socio-political goggles, which color how we “read” the work. Perhaps the articles here will inspire you to take a fresh look at some of your favorite works in the collection, or to consider how your political “goggles” affect what you see. And if you need a break from all the political hubbub, you may find relief and even some perspective in a new traveling exhibition focusing on the art of dance, which opens at Crystal Bridges on October 22. For, in the immortal words of the French playwright Molière: “all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.”
ART IS INESCAPABLY POLITICAL
Sandy Edwards CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER
Jill Wagar DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Diane Carroll EDITOR
Linda DeBerry CREATIVE SERVICES MANAGER
Anna Vernon LEAD DESIGNER
Laura Hicklin CONTRIBUTORS
Chad Alligood Alejo Benedetti Mindy Besaw Rod Bigelow Alison Demorotski Amy Torbert Dylan Turk Matt Wrbican EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Alison Nation PHOTOGRAPHY
Marc Henning Stephen Ironside Dero Sanford MEMBERSHIP & DEVELOPMENT
Ana Aguayo Robyn Alley Brandi Cline Angela Hodges Emily Ironside Anne Jackson Kaylin McLoud Megan Martin Hannah Nestor
Do we have your email address? If you’re not getting special announcements, event reminders, and our eNewsletter, then the answer is no.
Don’t miss a thing. Send your email address to email@example.com Environmentally friendly
100% Recycled (post-consumer waste) Made with renewable energy Acid Free
THIS SPRING, Crystal Bridges announced plans to transform a decommissioned Kraft Foods plant located in downtown Bentonville into a vibrant space for visual and performing arts. Visitors can expect art exhibitions, music, film, theater, and culinary offerings, creating new synergies with the current Crystal Bridges offerings. While the Museum features masterworks from the colonial era to the current day, the new venue will focus on the art of our times. The space will welcome artists and the community to gather and celebrate the intersection of art and everyday life. The 63,000-square-foot facility will be redesigned by Wheeler Kearns Architects of
Chicago, Illinois. The goal of the adaptive-reuse project is to retain the raw, industrial character of the original 1940s structure, which makes it ideal for inspiring creativity and experimentation. Architectural plans are underway, with an estimated opening in 2019. In developing the program for the new space, Crystal Bridges is collaborating with MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), one of the largest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country. The Walton Family Foundation is supporting the project as a way to enhance the quality of life in the region. The development of this innovative arts venue is a continuation of
the family’s commitment to making art accessible in the heartland of America, and continues in the vein of founding Crystal Bridges as a nonprofit charitable organization for all to enjoy. “With our support for this project, we envision a concept that will explore the unfolding story of contemporary American art,” says Tom Walton. “This engaging place of creativity will look at broader, current, and messier definitions of art that can inspire the next generation of artists and art patrons.”
Crystal Bridges to Open New Arts Venue 3
Since its inception, the Tyson Scholars program has supported the work of 15 scholars, attracting museum and academic professionals in a variety of disciplines from across the world.
2016-2017 Tyson Scholars Announced CRYSTAL BRIDGES announces the 2016-17 Tyson Scholars of American Art. The Tyson Scholars program was established in 2012 through a $5 million commitment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, Inc. The program supports full-time scholarship in the history of American art and visual and material culture by
providing scholars with housing and access to Crystal Bridges’ art and library collections. Since its inception, the Tyson Scholars program has supported the work of 15 scholars, attracting museum and academic professionals in a variety of disciplines from across the world.
IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITS GENEROUS ENDOWMENT FOR THE SCHOLARS PROGRAM, THE TYSON FAMILY AND TYSON FOODS ALSO FUNDED THE DON TYSON PRIZE: A CASH AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AMERICAN ART. THIS FALL, THE MUSEUM WILL ANNOUNCE THE FIRST RECIPIENT OF THIS PRIZE.
Fall 2016-17 Tyson Scholars JENNIFER CAMP: Stories in Pictures: The Woodcut Novels of Lynd Ward and Visual Narrative in Depression-Era America. Camp is a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Virginia. She studies the intersections of art, politics, and visual culture during the Great Depression. Her dissertation analyzes the “picture books” of New York City-based printmaker Lynd Ward.
KLINT ERICSON: Sumptuous and Beautiful, As They Were: Architectural Form, Everyday Life, and Cultural Encounter in a Seventeenth-Century New Mexico Mission. Ericson is an Art History PhD candidate at the
University of North CarolinaChapel Hill. His dissertation explores cultural encounters in seventeenth-century New Mexico, focusing on a community of Spanish Franciscans and Zuni Indians.
MICHAEL GAUDIO: Soundings: Art and the Aural Imagination in the Americas, 15901900. Gaudio is currently a Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota. He is currently completing a book that investigates the significance of aural experience in relation to prints, paintings, and films created within the colonial Atlantic world.
CRAIG LEE: Skyline SpectacuARTICLES BY PAST TYSON SCHOLARS APPEAR IN THE CURRENT AND FORTHCOMING ISSUES OF LEADING, ACADEMIC ART JOURNALS. IN ADDITION, TWO PAST TYSON SCHOLARS HAVE PUBLISHED BOOKS THAT EXPAND ON THEIR STUDIES
WHILE IN RESIDENCY AT CRYSTAL BRIDGES.
lar: Architecture, Aesthetics, and Outdoor Advertising in the American City. Lee is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art Histo-
ry at the University of Delaware. His dissertation examines the aesthetic politics of outdoor advertising in twentieth-century America.
JENNIFER PADGETT: Made for ‘Modern Surroundings’: Intersections of Fine Art, Decorative Arts, and Design in America, 1920-1940. Padgett is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her dissertation investigates how modern artists worked across boundaries of fine art and design to envision a more dynamic interaction between aesthetic experience and everyday life in the early twentieth century.
e s 5 m s m .
Reese Teacher Fellowship Awarded SPRINGDALE,
AR, high school teacher Josh Davis is the recipient of the 2016 Reese Teacher Fellowship. This fellowship provides funding for a high school teacher to conduct research in the Crystal Bridges Library for one month to work on projects that integrate primary art sources into their teaching through cross-curriculum lessons. Davis, who teaches sophomore English, will focus on integrating modern art and literature into lessons on industrialization, the Great Depression, WWII, mass consumerism, and media. The Reese Teacher Fellowship is sponsored by William Reese Company.
Outdoor App Receives Honor
CRYSTAL BRIDGES’ outdoor app, CB Outdoors, received an Honorable Mention for Mobile Applications during the 2016 MUSE Awards ceremony at the American Alliance of Museums annual convention in June. MUSE Awards recognize outstanding achievement in galleries, libraries, archives, or museums media. CB Outdoors is sponsored by Cox Communications.
Van Cliburn’s Piano Finds a Home and Concert Venue at Crystal Bridges CRYSTAL BRIDGES has received a gift of a grand piano that belonged to the internationally acclaimed pianist Van Cliburn. The piano was donated to the Museum by Cliburn’s long-time partner, Tommy Smith. Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn Jr. (1934-2013) was an acclaimed pianist who played with the New York Philharmonic, among many other distin-
guished orchestras. At age 23, he became an international sensation when, at the height of the Cold War in 1958, he won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1962, Cliburn established the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. During his career, Cliburn received many honors, including the Kennedy Center Honors, 2001; the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003; and
the Russian Order of Friendship in 2004. He was also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and received a National Medal of Arts in 2010. During his career he played for every US president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. In honor of the gift, Crystal Bridges will hold a piano concert on Sunday, October 9, 2016, with guest artist Olga Kerns. Kerns, an internationally renowned
pianist, was a winner of the Gold Medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn Competition, the first woman to win the competition in more than 30 years. Members will receive early notification when tickets are available. Sponsored by Reed and Mary Ann Greenwood, The William M. Fuller Foundation, and The Tartaglino-Richards Foundation.
Contemporary Art Intervention
Roxy Paine’s Bad Lawn meets Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits
BEGINNING this summer, guests are experiencing an unusual visitor to the Museum’s Early Nineteenth-Century Galleries. Roxy Paine’s sculpture Bad Lawn was installed alongside Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits and the Hudson River School landscapes. Paine’s artwork celebrates what many in today’s suburban American neighborhoods try to control: nature’s unruliness. Seen in juxtaposition with the nineteenth-century celebrations of American wilderness, the work invites us to consider how our relationship with the natural world has changed over generations. Guests are encouraged to share their thoughts through comment cards made available in the gallery.
This contemporary art intervention is part of an experiment to test ideas and interpretation possibilities in advance of a reinstallation of the galleries planned for early next year. With this juxtaposition, we aim to spark questions, conversations, and new ways of thinking about how artists respond to nature. Through visitor response, observation, and various other methods of interpretation, we hope to learn if the placement of contemporary art in these galleries activates new perceptions of and connections to historic artworks.
“ From a romanticized view of the
“American West” to a more realistic perspective on the true nature of our environment and our relationship! Thought provoking and humorous.
—from a guest response card
TOP: Roxy Paine, Bad Lawn, 1998, epoxy, PVC, polymer, steel, wood, PETG, lacquer, oil paint, and earth, 48 x 120 x 84 in. Photo courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai. Bottom: Roxy Paine, Bad Lawn (details). Photos by Marc Henning.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1981, oilstick, acrylic, and spray enamel on canvas, 78 x 68 in. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris/ ARS, New York 2016. Photo by Edward C. Robison III.
07 NOW ON VIEW
Untitled, 1981, oilstick, acrylic, and spray enamel on canvas BORN IN BROOKLYN to a Haitian-American father and a mother of Puerto Rican descent, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) often combined influences from many cultures in his work. In the 1970s, along with his artist friend Al Diaz, Basquiat made graffiti under the name SAMO in the subways and streets of New York. Through his work in street art, the artist developed a bold and expressive approach to painting, often incorporating words and icons. In the early 1980s, he joined other influential painters of the era in merging traditional painting with a street-art-inspired style. His expressive, buoyant manner of painting deployed lively colors and a personal hierarchy of repeated symbols. Basquiat’s Untitled (1981), currently on view in our 1940s to Now Gallery, features several of the hallmarks that define Basquiat’s
personal style. Passages of bold mark-making and luscious color appear throughout this work, from the creamy, sherbet colors in the background to the hastily scrawled dark lines that demarcate the central figure. The crown of thorns, which adorns the figure’s head, is a key symbol for the artist, who used a simplified outline of the crown as a kind of personal trademark. Untitled appears in the gallery alongside Keith Haring’s monumental Moses and the Burning Bush—both works featuring Biblical subjects considered by seminal New York street artists of the 1980s. Like Basquiat, Haring too began creating his art in the subways, leaving his drawings around the urban infrastructure of the city. Visit the gallery to learn more about Basquiat, his connection to Haring, and their unique solutions to painting in 1980s New York. CHAD ALLIGOOD CURATOR
Endangered Species Series, 1983, screen print on paper THE ART DEALERS Ronald and Frayda Feldman commissioned the Endangered Species print portfolio from Andy Warhol (1928–1987) in 1983. The idea was born after conversations the Feldmans had with Warhol about a variety of issues related to the state of the environment, including beach erosion. The topic may have arisen over Warhol’s concerns regarding his own beachfront property and its conservation. He worked closely with the Feldmans to decide which animals to include in the portfolio. After lengthy discussions, ten photogenic endangered animals were agreed upon; the Bald Eagle was the first to be completed. Warhol commented that these unnaturally colored works were “animals in make-up,” thereby linking them to his society portraits, [in which] he frequently accentuated the sitter’s features by adding color in shapes that clearly signify the use of cosmetics. . . . The San Francisco Silverspot butterfly, for example, is brown and silver in the wild, yet Warhol rendered it in a nearly full spectrum. The Giant Panda is executed in a keyed-up shade of red, and Warhol’s African Elephant is pop pink, recalling . . . the pink elephant in Walt Disney’s popular animated film Fantasia (1940), which had been re-released with a completely new soundtrack in 1982. Warhol donated 100 of the Endangered Species prints to a variety of wildlife conservation organizations to be sold at auction in support of their work. The portfolio was exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in 1983, then traveled on a tour of other natural history museums around the United States. MATT WRBICAN CHIEF ARCHIVIST, THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM, PITTSBURGH
Excerpted from the exhibition catalog for Warhol’s Nature, curated by Crystal Bridges’ Curator Chad Alligood, 2015
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, BEGINNING AT TOP: Andy Warhol, Elephant, Butterfly, Tree Frog, Panda, Orangutan, Eagle, Rhino, Tiger, Zebra OPPOSITE PAGE: Ram, from the Endangered Species Series, 1983, screen print on paper, 38 × 38 in. © 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photos by Edward C. Robison III.
09 ACQUISITIONS ANDY WARHOL The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)
I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want.
A FULL SET OF THE ENDANGERED SPECIES PRINTS WAS INCLUDED IN WARHOL’S NATURE, A 2015 SPECIAL EXHIBITION AT CRYSTAL BRIDGES ORGANIZED BY CURATOR CHAD ALLIGOOD. THESE PRINTS, AND MANY OTHER STUNNING WARHOL IMAGES, ARE INCLUDED IN THE EXHIBITION CATALOG, AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE IN CRYSTAL BRIDGES’ MUSEUM STORE.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER PROGRAMS
Coordinated with the Literacy Council of Benton County, the Ozark Literacy Council, and the Springdale Family Literacy Program, these programs bring English language learners to the Museum to practice speaking and listening through discussions about the artworks.
CREATIVE CONNECTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMER’S
Creative Connections is a program for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and their care partners. Developed in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association and the Schmieding Center for Senior Health, sessions include facilitated discussions in the galleries and a studio art activity.
PROGRAMS FOR ADULTS & CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Life Styles is a non-profit organization in Fayetteville that provides a collegeequivalent program for young adults with disabilities called Launch. Students in their Effective Communication class visit Crystal Bridges to discuss artwork and to create art in the studio. Open Avenues, a Rogers-based non-profit, employs adults with disabilities at their Work Center. Crystal Bridges Educators visit monthly to facilitate hands-on art activities over the lunch hour. The Museum also hosts parents’ nights out with 99 Balloons, an organization that provides respite care for families who have children with disabilities. While the parents enjoy a stroll through the galleries or dinner in Eleven, the children and siblings engage with the Museum’s collection through art-making, structured play, and gallery tours.
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS WORKSHOPS
Crystal Bridges has partnered with the Arkansas Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf to offer professional development workshops for ASL interpreters to help them become more comfortable signing art and architecture terms, since there are few standardized signs in ASL for this specialized terminology.
Welcoming All Access and Inclusive Programs AMANDA DRIVER ACCESS AND INCLUSIVE PROGRAMS MANAGER
WELCOMING ALL IS ONE OF THE core tenets of Crystal Bridges’ mission, and we are continually seeking ways to make the transformative power of art available to more people. To that aim, the department of Access and Inclusive Programs was developed and charged with connecting with underserved sectors of diverse audiences in our community and finding ways to make the Crystal Bridges experience accessible and meaningful for everyone. At right is a description of collaborative programs that have resulted from these efforts, and there are more to come! For more information about Access and Inclusive Programs, contact us at access@ crystalbridges.org or 479-418-5724. Crystal Bridges Access and Inclusive Programs are sponsored by Loreen Arbus.
11 A CLOSER LOOK
John Trumbull’s Alexander Hamilton John Trumbull, Portrait of Alexander Hamilton (detail), 1792, oil on canvas, 86 1/2 x 57 1/2 in. Jointly owned by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Credit Suisse, 2013. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.
AMY TORBERT TYSON SCHOLAR
ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1755–1804) is currently experiencing an unexpected rise in popularity, due to the Broadway sensation Hamilton: An American Musical. Crystal Bridges holds one of the most significant portraits painted during Hamilton’s life. In 1789, President George Washington appointed Hamilton the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Two years later, merchants in New York City wished to celebrate Hamilton’s role in crafting the new nation’s financial systems: he had established the Bank of the United States, promoted a federal excise tax, and laid the groundwork for the creation of the US Mint and the New York Stock Exchange. The group of New Yorkers asked Hamilton if they could commission the artist John Trumbull (1756–1843) to paint his portrait. Hamilton cheerfully agreed and sat for Trumbull between January and July, 1792. The result of these sittings is the full-length, life-sized portrait now jointly owned by Crystal Bridges and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a gift to the museums from Credit Suisse. Before arriving in Arkansas in 2011, the portrait honored the patron saint of American capitalism by hanging in financial institutions across the city of New York, including City Hall (1792–1805), the Chamber of Commerce (1805–1980), and multiple investment banking firms (1983–2011). John Trumbull was the natural choice to paint Hamilton’s portrait. Trumbull’s own political beliefs were aligned with Hamilton’s, and Hamilton’s brother-in-law had helped pay for some of Trumbull’s expenses to study in London in the 1780s. Hamilton wrote that he wished his likeness to “appear unconnected with any incident of my political life.” This desire set a challenge for Trumbull, who was tasked with creating a dignified public portrait intended to exemplify civic virtue, but whose sitter wished to be portrayed in a “simple representation of [a] fellow Citizen.” Trumbull adopted Hamilton’s stance, his graceful gesture with a single ungloved hand, and the monumental forms of classical architecture from the conventions of eighteenthcentury British “Grand Manner” portraiture. But the artist acquiesced to Hamilton’s wishes by depicting him in a simple suit of gray fabric instead of his military uniform. The blank piece of paper beneath Hamilton’s right hand does not refer to a specific article but instead reminds viewers of his prolific writings, accentuated by the nearby quill. From Trumbull’s brush, Hamilton emerged as a writer, a thinker, and a political visionary.
AMY TORBERT was a 2015-2016 Tyson Scholar of American Art at Crystal Bridges. She is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Delaware and the 2016-2017 Barra Fellow in American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. During her ninemonth stay at Crystal Bridges, Torbert worked on her dissertation about depictions of the American Revolution by eighteenth-century British printmakers.
Looking below the surface reveals strong political messages in three iconic artworks
A DEEPER DIVE
ALEJO BENEDETTI, ALISON DEMOROTSKI, & DYLAN TURK
ART IS POLITICAL. Whether it’s a propaganda poster
Kara Walker, A Warm Summer Evening in 1863, 2008, wool tapestry and felt, 69 x 98 in. Photo by Edward C. Robison III.
proclaiming the merits of a particular candidate or political party, or an abstract painting with virtually no obvious ties to the outside world. No artwork can be made in a vacuum and therefore every object contributes to a larger dialogue of its time. A full spectrum of artworks engaging politics are scattered throughout the Crystal Bridges collection. At times it can be blatantly obvious, such as Richard Caton Woodville’s War News from Mexico or Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter. But in other works these connections are more nuanced. Sometimes to get to the political aspect of an artwork requires
digging deeply into the work itself, analyzing the materials and methods or scrutinizing the iconography. Other times the work is a manifestation of the artists’ personal political point of view, or represents a veiled stance for or against the cultural politics of the artist’s time. Here, delving deeply into Kara Walker’s A Warm Summer Evening in 1863, Mary Cassatt’s The Reader, and Joan Mitchell’s Untitled reveals the political ideas below the surface.
KARA WALKER, A WARM SUMMER EVENING IN 1863, 2008 Looming large against a chaotic illustrated scene, the caricatured silhouette of a hanged young black woman sets a dark tone for Kara Walker’s tapestry, A Warm Summer Evening in 1863. Set in the past, this work offers a layer of removal from the present day. By focusing on a historical scene, Walker creates breathing room to reflect on the now. In all of her work, she frames the continued repercussions of racism throughout US history as a starting point for discussing racial
injustice among today’s audiences. This approach allows viewers to engage with a politically charged topic in the abstract. The past becomes a safeguard for reflection upon the present. The image comprising the background originally appeared in the newspaper Harper’s Weekly, August 1, 1863, and reads, “The rioters burning the colored orphan asylum, corner of Fifth Avenue and Forty-Sixth Street, New York City.” Leading up to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, many white, working-class Americans in the North feared that freeing the slaves would result in added competition for jobs due to an influx of black
workers fleeing to the northern states. This fear, coupled with an expanded draft law that targeted a broader swath of white men, resulted in riots in the streets of New York City on July 13. While innocent New Yorkers of every cultural and racial background were subjected to violence during this protest, rioters intentionally targeted African American men, women, and children. In response to the atrocities, Harper’s Weekly, and later Kara Walker, seized upon one event in particular: the burning of this orphanage. This event represents an attack upon some of the most vulnerable victims imaginable. It was outrageous at the time, with Americans of all cultural backgrounds responding to the atrocity with shock and disbelief. And yet, in the original imagery and in the accompanying newspaper article, the emphasis is less on the victims and more on the rioters themselves and the political situation that initiated the event. Nevertheless, the passage of more than a century-and-a-half has done little to diminish the emotional impact of this scene, and Walker’s additions help to redirect the viewers’ focus back onto the innocent orphans. Created in 2008, Walker’s tapestry predates the high-profile
MARY CASSATT, THE READER, 1877 The wealth of female subjects in the work of Mary Cassatt almost creates a sense of a woman-centered world devoid of men. Her paintings frequently depict interactions between mothers and their children, exchanges between female companions,
With the support of the Impressionists, Cassatt’s career began to flourish. The Reader, 1877, was painted during Cassatt’s transformational year and—with its brighter palette, looser brushwork, and light, airy atmosphere—is credited as her first fully realized painting in the Impressionist style. Her choice to focus on domestic scenes and strictly female subjects was unique. As her work progressed through her explorations of women and their daily activities, the act of reading became a recurring theme. Reading was a regular topic of conversation among the Cassatt family, often mentioned in their letters. She understood the sense of independence and power that knowledge provides. A woman reading was a woman who was potentially exploring realms previously forbidden to her, including, among other subjects, politics. By leaving the book in The Reader untitled, Cassatt leaves the topic of the subject’s reading open to any topic one can imagine. This woman is not relegated to a land of fairy tales or any other
LEFT: Mary Cassatt, The Reader, 1877, oil on canvas, 32 x 25 1/2 in. Photo by Robert LaPrelle. RIGHT: Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1952–1953, oil on canvas, 77 1/2 x 71 1/2 in. © Estate of Joan Mitchell. Photo by Edward C. Robison III.
deaths of young African Americans like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Even before these tragedies and the groundswell of activism that followed, her work speaks to a continued culture of racial injustice in this country. Today, given the proliferation of coverage splashed across the news and social media, Walker’s artwork, which itself draws directly on an earlier form of mass media, embodies a timely reminder of a continued tradition of brutality playing out on the streets and disseminated in the media sources of each successive generation. Walker pulls back the veil. The media, whether a weekly newspaper from the 1800s or a web-based video making the rounds on social networks, always reveals a certain bias. No story is completely without inflection from its source, and Walker’s point is that historically, this often comes at the expense of the black community. By employing the silhouette motif in this work, Walker re-centers the attention onto the victims, and encourages all of us to bring an equally probing eye to our consumption of media today. AB
and women in solitary moments, as is the case with The Reader. However, the domestic scenes that populate Cassatt’s work often lead to an overly sweet and deceptively simple interpretation by viewers. These seemingly passive moments are more than they appear. Cassatt’s pleasant scenes can also be read as subtle acts of defiance against societal standards. Cassatt herself led a life of resistance to nineteenth-century male-dominated ideals and expectations. Late in life, Cassatt was increasingly involved in women’s issues, from the right to pursue education to the right to vote. But even as early as 1860, Cassatt was charting her own course when she enrolled as one of only 20 female students to study art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Nineteenth-century women were often schooled in the art of ladylike watercolors, but women were only very rarely admitted to the storied halls of the academic fine-art world. PAFA was a progressive institution that admitted women ahead of its counterparts in France, England, and Germany. At PAFA, the female curriculum matched that of the male, with the exception of the nude figure class, which was barred to women. Instead, female students were only permitted to study draped models and often had to take turns posing for each other. In 1865, Cassatt convinced her father to allow her to travel to Europe for additional study of works by the great masters. Studying under various male painters, she traveled and worked for numerous years without finding consistent acceptance or support in exhibiting her paintings. In 1877 she experienced a pivotal shift in her career. She was invited by Edgar Degas to exhibit with the Impressionists, becoming the only American, as well as one of only three women, in the group.
gender-regulated subject. Cassatt painted the modern woman because this was how she saw herself and the women around her. She believed “women should be someone, not something” and so every painting she made gave her subjects agency. Against the odds of her chosen profession and the broader expectations of women during this period, Cassatt was able to paint a path that was uniquely her own. AD
JOAN MITCHELL, UNTITLED, 1952-1953 Politics and awareness of social issues were always part of Joan Mitchell’s life. She was born the second daughter in a well-todo family in Chicago in 1925. Her childhood home was filled with writers, scientists, and other intellectuals of the day, as her parents, James Herbert Mitchell, a doctor; and Marion (Strobel) Mitchell, a poet, author, and editor, were both successful in their own fields. Mitchell’s father wanted a son, so Mitchell spent a lifetime torn between meeting his expectations and rebelling against his heavy hand. Mitchell sought out experiences that contradicted her privileged childhood. She wanted to experience something real and honest, unbound by the propagandizing climate of early twentieth-century America and out of the reach of society’s ideal role of a woman. She began studying at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1944. She joined the Communist party and took up an interest in the socially engaged muralists of Mexico such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. In 1945, Mitchell and a friend traveled to Guanajuato for the summer. In Mexico Mitchell discovered a spirit of individual freedom that was embraced and vocalized by the people, whose political fervor had been galvanized by the Mexican Revolution. Mitchell quickly let her curiosity take over. She got a boyfriend, a romantic poet and economics student named Manuel de Ezcurdia,
danced in the streets, smoked cigars overlooking the distant mountains, and sketched everything that she saw. Her experience in Mexico immersed her in a community of people who celebrated individuality in a moment when the US was tightly enmeshed in a narrow patriotic identity stemming from World War II, something that Mitchell couldn’t identify with. Although she hadn’t yet fully discovered her artistic voice, Mitchell’s experiences in Mexico created a deep foundation that pushed her into the world with an open mind and a youthful fascination with social politics, capitalist injustices, and the celebration of individuality that ran throughout her life. Abstraction slowly seeped into Mitchell’s compositions as she came to recognize its ability to amplify personal expression. Mitchell has been widely—and arguably inaccurately—considered a “second generation” Abstract Expressionist, a label given her partly because of her gender and partly because she did not adhere strictly to the tenets of Abstract Expressionism set forth by its masculine leaders. While Mitchell mastered formal and compositional techniques derived from the work of Abstract Expressionists before her, she eschewed the Ab Ex penchant for allover painting, as well as its rejection of the figure or anything that suggested a spatial distinction (such as a horizon line) within the work. Mitchell’s work is inherently political, in as much as Abstract Expressionism is itself inherently political. The movement’s rejection of appropriation, interpretation, and prescribed meaning placed it on the forefront of personal expression in a time when America was about unity rather than individuality. Mitchell pushed it even further. While she explores the scale preferred by her male contemporaries, her work remains more intimately focused on the feelings evoked by the memory she chooses to paint. She allows the narrative to drive the composition. Her paintings developed as exuberant expressions of a life lived—unbound by judgments and interpretations crafted or manipulated by society, governments, or academia. DT
16 COMING SOON
The Art of American Dance Mary Cassatt, Robert Henri, John Singer Sargent, and More Oct 22, 2016 – Jan 16, 2017
ALEJO BENEDETTI CURATORIAL ASSISTANT
THE ART OF AMERICAN DANCE, opening at Crystal Bridges on October 22, is the first major traveling exhibition to explore American visual art related to the many forms of dance. Including nearly 100 dance-inspired paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs, the exhibition examines a diverse range of traditions, from dance in Native American cultures to ballroom dancing, to Jitterbug, swing, modern dance, and others. Whether laboriously choreographed or an impromptu impulse, every dance is a time-based event with a specific duration. Dance is an art form that marries the passage of time with the movement of a body through space, and once a move is completed, it is gone forever. Even the most sophisticated methods of recording a performance ultimately fail to preserve anything more than a memory of a fleeting moment. With that in mind, The Art of American Dance does not set out to simply document the history of dance in this country. Rather it traces more than a century of influence between these two different art forms—dance and the visual arts—in a way that expresses the complexities of the American experience. As visitors move through the show, they will experience phenomenal artworks, videos of dance performances, and even some opportunities to try the dance moves out for themselves. Each of the artists in this exhibition present dance as a physical manifestation of an emotion or idea. Due to the role of dance throughout history, it is impossible to view the art form in isolation. Therefore, most of the artists represented here treat dance as a symbol, brimming with complexity and capable of alluding to a much larger network of concepts. These associations accompany every individual dance, whether performed onstage by a member
MEMBER PREVIEWS: 9 AM TO 9 PM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21,
John Singer Sargent, Capri Girl on a Rooftop (detail), 1878, oil on canvas, 20 x 25 in.
9 AM TO 11 AM SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22.
of a professional dance company or as an unchoreographed activity by the untrained “Everyman.” Each artist carefully nests the dances alongside other imagery in order to emphasize certain ideas, directing the viewer’s attention to a specific issue through decisions about composition or subject matter and using the dance as an opportunity to reflect upon humanity. A few artists in the exhibition allow dance to influence the actual making of their artwork. In these cases, the physicality of dance directs the artist’s decision-making process, allowing the true collaborative nature of art and dance to emerge. At certain points in time, for example, advances in dance costuming resulted in the modification of the art form, while at other times, costumes responded to changes in the dance medium. Similarly, the changing styles and techniques of visual art influenced dancers and choreographers throughout history.
Like the visual arts, dance reflects on our humanity and responds to it in turn. While both fields work toward a similar goal, each has its own unique properties. A dance can express ideas that even the most poetic words or beautifully rendered painting could never capture. Working together in this exhibition, dance and the visual arts address basic human concerns in a way that enables greater depth and clarity for each topic. The Art of American Dance includes iconic and wide-ranging artists such as George Caleb Bingham, Mary Cassatt, Aaron Douglas, and Diego Rivera, among many others. It will be on view through January 16, 2017. This exhibition was organized by the Detroit Institute of Art and travels to Crystal Bridges from the Denver Art Museum. Support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and an ADAA Foundation Curatorial Award and the Association of Art Museum Curators.
18 MUSEUM STORE
POP ART IS A WAY OF LIKING THINGS ANDY WARHOL
CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM STORE
Bright, playful gift items feature Andy Warhol’s enduring images. You’ll like them. Pop in and browse! Members always receive a 10% discount.
Warhol’s Nature catalog $22.95 Soup Can crayon set $9.99 Soup Can 200-piece puzzle $17.99 Wooden magnetic shapes set $17.99 Marilyn 300-piece puzzle & journals $9.99 - $16.99 Campbell’s soup mug $14.99
19 TEEN COUNCIL
LD What made you want to be a part of Teen Council? TC I want to be involved, I want to know what’s going on in the world around me.... I wanted to find a way to get involved in the arts and just the community in general. So when I found out about Teen Council, I was just so pumped to be able to be involved. I can catch the wave as it’s coming and be part of everything. LD What have you found the most interesting about Teen Council?
Teens Blaze Trails LINDA DEBERRY EDITOR
CRYSTAL BRIDGES’ Teen Council was formed as a means of engaging with area teens, building connections across communities between teens with an interest in art, and getting their input in developing programing for their peers. Now, Crystal Bridges’ Teen Council is being recognized nationwide. The group was invited to send delegates to the 2016 National Teen Convening in Boston, which took place in early August. Crystal Bridges was one of only seven museums invited to attend. Earlier this year, delegates from Crystal Bridges’ Teen Council participated in the Southeastern Teen Convening at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. There, they joined delegates from three other museums to give presentations about their respective programs and engage in panel discussions. I met with a group of Crystal Bridges’ Teen Council members to learn from them what they found valuable about teen engagement with art museums. Teen Council programs are sponsored by the Nicole and John Weeldreyer Family Fund.
TC One thing I think is really cool about Teen Council is that we as teens can actually do something. We have a budget. Whereas normally it doesn’t matter how creative you are, if you don’t have the means and the people backing you up to organize something like a teen event then it’s not going to happen. But this way, our creativity actually ends up producing something. TC One of my favorite things about Teen Council is that we get connected. These are my peers or friends, this is where we get excited about art. LD Why do you think art is important? TC I think it’s another way of connecting with people through different cultures and different time periods. We’re always striving to understand one another....I think art is the way that we can do that. LD What is it about the Museum that you find fun and engaging? TC [I like] the way [the artwork] sparks conversations. We’re trying to get that out to kids... that you can actually start talking about the art with people while you’re in the galleries. We’ve had these “politics in art” events and the kids will start talking about things, and we’re trying to encourage that. We don’t want them to feel like it’s not their place and they don’t have anything to say about it, we want to show kids that art affects everybody and they can all have something to say.
CONTR LOANS HIGHLIGHT NEW THEMES IN CRYSTAL BRIDGES’ TWENTIETH-CENTURY GALLERIES LINDA DEBERRY EDITOR
EARLY THIS SPRING, Crystal Bridges’ Twentieth-Century Art Galleries, located on the Museum’s gallery bridge, were reinstalled with works from the permanent collection. The new installation offers a fresh look at several old favorites, debuts a few works from the permanent collection never before exhibited at the Museum, and showcases several significant loans from other institutions. Museums around the world regularly share their collections with other museums: lending works for inclusion in special exhibitions, or borrowing artworks to highlight specific aspects of their own collections. The works on loan to Crystal Bridges help our guests gain a better understanding of the many different ways American artists responded to the social, political, and artistic transformations that took place in the first half of the twentieth century.
The first two decades of the century presented dynamic change and unprecedented prosperity to the nation as the technological advances of the Industrial Age brought to life mechanical wonders such as cars, planes, and telephones. This sense of seemingly limitless possibility sparked social and cultural changes and spurred artists to seek new way of depicting the world around them. For many, artistic inspiration arrived in the form of the work of European avant-garde artists such as Pablo Picasso and René Magritte, who abandoned strict realism to seek expression in in a variety of diverse styles, collectively referred to as “modern.” “In the early twentieth century, the term ‘modern art’ was applied to any style that deviated from the status quo,” explained Margi Conrads, Director of Curatorial Affairs. “This installation gives us an opportunity to consider the wide variety of modes referred to as ‘modern’, and how they relate—or not—to one another.”
LEFT: René Magritte, L’Anniversaire, 1959, oil on canvas, 35 1/16 x 45 3/4 in. Art
Gallery on Ontario. Purchase Corporations’ subscriptions Endowment, 1971, 70/7. © 2016 C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. RIGHT: Pablo Picasso, Seated Woman in a Chemise (Femme en chemise assise), 1923, oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 28 3/4 in. Tate: Bequeathed by C. Frank Stoop 1933, N04719. © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
STEPS BEYOND THE REAL The first gallery opens with Picasso’s bold Seated Woman in a Chemise, on loan to Crystal Bridges from the Tate in London, England. “Picasso was the leading avant-garde artist in Paris, and he had an enormous impact on American artists,” said Conrads. “Most artists of this era were either responding to or reacting against Picasso’s art.” By the early 1920s, when Seated Woman in a Chemise was painted, Picasso diverged from his signature Cubist style to take a new approach to the female form. The figure in this painting appears solid and stalwart, more akin to classical sculpture than to a living, breathing woman. Picasso’s influence and inspiration in this respect can be seen in Alfredo Ramos Martínez’s Florida Mexicana on view nearby, whose subject’s body features a similar monumental quality, reminiscent of the ancient Aztec sculpture of the artist’s home country of Mexico. Surrealism, another artistic style that had its roots in Europe, also influenced a number of American artists. Steeped in the psychology and heavily influenced by the theories of Carl Jung, Surrealists created scenes depicting the subconscious life of dreams and symbols. Belgian Surrealist René Magritte’s incongruous 1959 painting L’Anniversaire, on loan from Art Gallery of Ontario, depicts an enormous and minutely detailed boulder that fills the confines of a small room with an open window. This example of Surrealism is complemented by a recent addition to Crystal Bridges’ collection by American artist Helen Lundeberg, whose 1938 painting The Tree also exhibits a dreamlike dislocation of the natural world to emphasize her reaction to the devastation of the land during the Dust Bowl. “Rather than being a realistic image of Dust Bowl America, Lundeberg depicts a wedge of earth, like a core sample, that features fertile land on the left and depleted land on the right, divided by a twisted, half living, half dying tree,” explained Conrads. “This beautiful and eerie painting merges the actuality of the drought’s devastation with an otherworldliness that simultaneously increases and relaxes the discomfort of the image.” By contrast, another recent acquisition, George Ault’s 1944 Daylight at Russell’s Corners, relies on sharp realism to convey a sense of isolation and loss. The canvas depicts an empty smalltown crossroads at whose juncture lie a few, somewhat dilapidated buildings, muffled in snow. Across the canvas, a network of crisply delineated telephone and electrical wires divide the heavy gray sky. This network of wires, a relatively new but already essential technology in 1944, highlights the power of longdistance communication to both bring us together and to facilitate our isolation from one another. “Ault’s laser-sharp depiction, presented with gray and brick red, is so still and quiet that it takes on an air of mystery,” explained Conrads. “Although their methods varied considerably, Ault, Magritte, and Lundeberg each investigated psychological states in their defined worlds, whether actual or fantastic.
LOOK FOR THESE OTHER WORKS ON LOAN IN THE EARLY TWENTIETHCENTURY GALLERIES
N.C. Wyeth 1882–1945
On the October Trail (A Navajo Family) 1907
Oil on canvas Brandywine River Museum of Art
Emily Carr 1871–1945
Kispiax Village 1929
Oil on canvas Art Gallery of Ontario
LEFT: Luigi Lucioni, Portrait of Bob, 1936, oil on canvas, 38 x 28 1/2 in. Photo by Dwight Primiano. TOP: Guy Pene du Bois, The Appraisal, 1946, oil on cavas, 38 x 28 1/2 in. Brandywine River Museum of Art, Bequest of Richard M. Scaife, 2016.
THESE CHARACTERS EMBODY MANY OF THE SWIFTLY CHANGING SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS THAT
FUELED THE EXPLOSION OF ARTISTIC INNOVATION SO RICHLY PRESENT
IN THESE GALLERIES. MARGI CONRADS
SOCIETAL STRATA Depictions of work and social class in the early twentieth century are also highlighted in the reinstallation. As the country became increasingly industrial, a widening gap appeared between life in the country and in the city that is illustrated in such paintings as Thomas Hart Benton’s darkly menacing depiction of industry in The Steel Mill, and Doris Lee’s nostalgic image of rural life in Off to Auction. Artists were also aware of the growing separation between the working class and the societal elite. This is pointedly depicted in the American artist Guy Pène du Bois’s painting The Appraisal, on loan from the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. In this work, a man and woman, elegantly attired in formal evening dress, cast somewhat haughty gazes beyond the confines of the frame into the viewer’s space. “The ‘appraisal’ is of us, of whether or not we stack up,” said Conrads. “This is emphasized by the way the artist composed the painting. Close-cropped around the edges, it brings us right into the picture, and makes us complicit. They are looking at us and vice versa. While the man and woman in the picture are sizing up whoever they see, the work suggests that the viewer is taking stock of them as well.” Luigi Lucioni’s 1936 Portrait of Bob, newly on view in the Museum, also draws us into its rarefied world. It is an arresting portrait of an attractive young artist, painted in a highly realistic style reminiscent of the early Renaissance masters. Where the couple of The Appraisal are clearly members of the social elite, Bob comes across as a member of the artistic elite: stylish in his beret,
confident, a touch arrogant, and thoroughly aware of his impact. As in The Appraisal, the image is cropped tightly, eliminating the boundary between Bob and the viewer. His S-shaped pose and sidelong glance have been arranged for maximum effect. There is something about the attitude and portrayal of Bob that is akin to that of Walt Kuhn’s Dragoon, the portrait of a costumed female performer that appears in the first gallery. Both subjects point a direct and self-assured gaze at their viewers. Both inhabit a somewhat privileged realm that exists independent from the workaday world of the steel-workers, farmers, and ship builders represented elsewhere in these galleries. And both exude an unapologetic sensuality it would hardly have been thinkable to display so frankly a generation earlier. “In some ways, these characters embody many of the swiftly changing social and cultural factors that fueled the explosion of artistic innovation so richly present in these galleries,” Conrads said. The works on loan to Crystal Bridges will remain on view into the summer of 2017. We hope you visit the Museum soon to enjoy this opportunity to experience the way these paintings engage with other works, both old and new, in the Crystal Bridges permanent collection. NEARLY ALL OF THE WORKS FROM CRYSTAL BRIDGES COLLECTION MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE VIEWED ONLINE AT CRYSTALBRIDGES.ORG/ART/#COLLECTION.
24 TRAILS AND GROUNDS
A Forest Oasis for Native Plants New plantings at the Tulip Tree Shelter LINDA DEBERRY EDITOR
DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT HOUSE ON CRYSTAL BRIDGES’ GROUNDS, A LARGE SECTION OF THE FOREST SOUTHEAST OF THE MUSEUM, INCLUDING PART OF THE TULIP TREE TRAIL, WAS FENCED OFF AND RESTRICTED TO CONSTRUCTION CREWS. The closure prompted the Trails and Grounds crew to build a new trail segment that would allow guests to circumvent the construction zone. Now that the full trail has re-opened to the public, the Tulip Tree shelter is situated on a loop, rather than at the end of trail spur as it was before. With its proximity to the Frank Lloyd Wright house and increased trail access, the shelter is receiving more traffic, so the Trails and Grounds team has expanded the landscaping around the structure. The forest area around the Tulip Tree Shelter was cleared of invasive species and understory plants to make way for an experimental integration of structured landscaping and pathways within the greater context of the natural forest. “The idea is to slow down the guests’ perception of that area,” explained Trails and Grounds Manager Clay Bakker. “The winding paths encourage them to take their time and enjoy the native plants that have been located there.” The Museum has introduced more than 30 species of native woodland wildflowers to this area, including wild geranium, wild ginger, Jacob’s Ladder, and American Coralbells. The plants are arranged in large groupings or “drifts” of single species to increase their visibility and impact. Of particular interest are the trilliums. Crystal Bridges’ grounds feature 11 species of these woodland ephemerals, making the Museum’s collection one of the largest in the region. “Most of these plants are naturally scattered through the forest,” said Museum Horticulturalist Cody George. “We have designed a planting plan that allows for a close-up, organized display of the textures and colors that the native plants give to this area.” The new gardens also help to diversify the forest, giving a leg up to native plants that have been forced out in many areas of the
grounds by non-native invasive species. Ephemeral plants such as trillium and bloodroot are especially vulnerable to the moreaggressive growth of the invaders. “These are very early spring plants, evolved to come up early and get their share of the sun before the rest of the forest greens up and takes it away,” explained Bakker. “But invasive species are very quick to colonize areas of sunlight and their root systems suffocate the ephemerals; or some of them remain evergreen, shading the ephemerals out. These days nature needs a little help to get back what would normally come, well... naturally.” Diversifying the forest doesn’t stop with the plants. Every species of native plant comes with its accompanying host of insects that rely on it for food or shelter. The insects bring the birds and small mammals that feed on them, which in turn bring predators such as hawks, owls, and foxes. The new plantings, along with additional amenities such as lighting, security cameras, and access to electricity, have made the Tulip Tree Shelter more visitorfriendly. On your next visit to the Museum, take the short walk up the trail to visit the shelter and enjoy the opportunity for quiet reflection and communion with nature that it affords. The Tulip Tree Shelter has been made possible by Galen, Debi, and Alice Havner.
THE TULIP TREE SHELTER ALSO MAKES AN IDEAL LOCATION FOR SMALL-SCALE SPECIAL EVENTS. FOR INFORMATION ABOUT RENTING THE TULIP TREE SHELTER, VISIT OUR WEBSITE: CRYSTALBRIDGES.ORG/RENTALS
DWARF WAKE ROBIN
YELLOW WOOD LILY
LANCELOT LANCE-LEAF TRILLIUM
LITTLE SWEET BETSY
26 COLLECTION SPOTLIGHT
LINDA DEBERRY EDITOR
The Politics of War News from Mexico RICHARD CATON WOODVILLE (1825–1855) grew up in Baltimore, MD. After briefly studying medicine, he decided to pursue an art career and studied abroad, predominantly in Germany. Although his paintings feature American scenes during the 1840s, the majority of his works were produced in Europe. Many of Woodville’s paintings were enjoyed by the masses through prints. Upon its publication in 1851, Woodville’s War News from Mexico became very popular, selling more than 14,000 prints. Between 1830 and the Civil War, “genre paintings,” depictions of ordinary people engaged in everyday activities, flourished throughout America. War News from Mexico is a genre painting that captures the excitement of Americans upon discovering the latest news from the Mexican-American War [1846–1848]. The date on the newspaper—1848—indicates that the news being reported is likely the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2 of that year, which ceded Texas, California, and most of the Southwest to the US, expanding the country’s territory from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. In the center of the painting stands a white man reading a newspaper aloud to a crowd gathered around the porch of the “American Hotel,” which represents a communal meeting place for the town. Since only white men could participate in politics,
they occupy the center of the painting, ensconced under the porch roof. The artist, however, also includes in this image those without power or influence, such as African Americans and women. Their positions and clothing represent their marginalized role in nineteenth-century America. A woman leans out of the window of the hotel, excluded from the group of men, but craning her neck to hear the news. Also excluded are the African American man and child in the foreground on the right (possibly slaves) who wear tattered clothing and do not share in the white men’s enthusiasm. The owning of slaves was America’s most deeply divisive political issue at this time, and the addition of such vast amounts of territory re-ignited the debate over whether slavery should be expanded into the newly acquired territories. Eventually, the migration of Americans into the West would bring about the movement of some one million slaves as well. This painting also depicts the early power of mass media on the youthful US. Inexpensive “penny papers” became available in the 1830s, making printed news readily available to everyone, rather than only to the moneyed elite who could afford costly subscriptions. The Mexican-American War was the first American war to be covered in the mass media, and its progress dominated the headlines.
Richard Caton Woodville, War News from Mexico (detail), 1848, oil on canvas, 27 x 25 in. Photo by The Walters Art Museum, Susan Tobin.
Between 1930 and the Civil War, “genre paintings,” depictions of ordinary people engaged in everyday activities, flourished in America.
STATE OF THE Conversations with three artists in this ground-breaking exhibition reveal how it impacted their careers CRYSTAL BRIDGES’ GROUNDBREAKING EXHIBITION, State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, is currently on the road in the form of two traveling exhibitions (5,000 and 10,000 square-foot versions). It has been nearly two years since the original show opened in September, 2014, and we checked in on a few of our State of the Art “alumni” artists to learn how the exhibition impacted their careers, and to see how their work is progressing today. For this feature, I connected with three artists: Miki Baird, in Kansas City; John Douglas Powers, in Knoxville, Tennessee; and Adonna Khare, in Los Angeles. I was delighted to learn that many of the artists have remained in touch with one another through a State of the Art artists’ Facebook page, where they share information about their work and post media coverage about the exhibitions. Some of the alumni have also connected at opening events for the traveling exhibitions at venues in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Savannah, Georgia; and Memphis, Tennessee. Read on to hear from these three State of the Art artists. LINDA DEBERRY EDITOR
LEFT: Photo courtesy of the artist. RIGHT: John Douglas Powers, lalu, 2011, wood, steel, plastic, electric motor, and video projection, 57 x 80 x 108 in. Photo by Dero Sanford.
ART STATUS JOHN DOUGLAS POWERS John Douglas Powers works out of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he creates his mesmerizing kinetic artworks. His sculpture Ialu—a mass of upright rods moving rhythmically against a backdrop video of blue sky and rolling clouds—was among the first artworks to greet State of the Art visitors as they entered the first gallery. In the time since the exhibition closed, Powers has had several solo exhibitions, including shows at Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee; the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art in Demorest, Georgia; and the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He was also chosen as an artist-in-residence at MIT. In the spring of 2016, Powers received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship that will allow him to dedicate a full calendar year exclusively to his artwork, beginning in January, 2017.
do some engraving and relief works. Having time to explore is what I’m looking at right now. But I know that artery of the big, kinetic pieces is going to continue for a while because I’m still really excited about that work and I still see a lot of possibilities for where it can go. But I’m equally excited to explore those little offshoots on the side.
LD How did being part of State of the Art impact you? Did you feel that it affected how your work was received?
JDP I guess I would say yes, but indirectly and more via the entire exhibition than by a specific work or artist. After the opening of State of the Art I found myself reflecting on my experiences shortly after finishing my undergraduate degree. I stayed in Nashville for a few years and played in this rock band with some friends, and we had the chance to go on tour a couple of times. The first time we went, we kind of inherited the tour: this band had to cancel their tour and they just gave us their dates. So, we would show up at these venues and we had no idea who the other bands were that we were playing with. It was this really interesting experience. There were these amazing moments where the show was so great because the bands were so different from each other. It was so disparate that everything sounded better. And I sort of felt that way about State of the Art to some degree: that there was such difference between my piece and this textile piece on the wall, that maybe in a smaller show, where you were trying to be super concise about thematic connections, that pairing might never have happened. That was something I really enjoyed. It was positive and refreshing to see how these super-different voices that might not have ended up in a room together in other circumstances ended up next to each other in conversation. The whole experience was kind of magical. Crystal Bridges was one of those places on my “wish to visit” list, and hadn’t made it yet. It was really great—amazing—that the first time you get to visit a museum that you’ve really wanted to go see, you’re going to see a show that you have work in. It was such a special thing.
JDP Yes, I think it did on a lot of levels. I’d been really happy with the success that I’d had up to that point, but there’s something validating about being included in a show like that in a museum of that quality. It felt like a major endorsement. Maybe that was as much internal as external, but the things that have happened since that show are all interconnected. I think that show was about shining a light on some artists who the curators felt were deserving of more attention; and I think for a lot of us, it had that effect of propelling us forward a little bit. But it’s been quite a couple of years since all that came together. To me it felt like having been in the show was a major ingredient in making me competitive for [the Guggenheim fellowship]. LD Is your work going in the same vein, or are you on to something new? JDP A little bit of both. The sculpture and video that were in State of the Art—those motion-based pieces—are the largest and the most time-consuming works. It’s exciting to have the year to dedicate to the studio and to be able to commit to some big projects like that, but also have the time to explore and play around with some things on the side. I’m looking at some more-traditional object-making as well as some more involved video work. I’ve been doing a lot more work with technology in the last couple of years. So I’ve been playing around with 3-D printing and working with a CNC machine to
LD I can’t imagine having that kind of time to focus on your art. JDP I can’t either! It really hasn’t started and I keep pinching myself and saying “wait— I get to just be an artist for a year?” LD Were you influenced or impacted by any of the other artists?
MIKI BAIRD Miki Baird lives in Overland Park, Kansas, and works from her studio is in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri. Her work involves the collection, deconstruction, and re-organization of materials. Her assemblages are made from accumulations of candid photographs taken on the streets and from collected, broken-down material in her studio. Baird has enjoyed several solo exhibitions since State of the Art, and was chosen for the prestigious Art Omi International residency with a Charlotte Street Foundation Fellowship in upstate New York this summer. LD What have you been up to since State of the Art? MB In addition to a series of group and solo exhibitions in Kansas City, Omaha, and Minneapolis, I have been fortunate to exhibit work in Invito a Tavola, a fiber exhibition in Como, Italy, Paris, and Venice. I had a solo show here in Kansas City at Studios Inc. where I was completing a three-year fellowship. This was my first opportunity to occupy a cavernous, industrial space and allow the work to “inhabit” an interior. I also participated in a group show at the Bemis Center of Contemporary Art, in Omaha, Nebraska; the Kemper Museum of Art at the Crossroads location, and at Haw Contemporary here in Kansas City. I completed a solo exhibition in January at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Missouri. Opportunity and the chance to grab hold of it is food for artists and State of the Art continues to give voice not just to me but to all of the artists in the exhibition. There is nothing to take for granted, this is a new, very busy, thought-provoking path to consider. I have to seriously ask myself how I want to grow my practice and especially how does that affect a deeper examination of each body of work I continue with.
MB It was a surprising revelation to me to be contacted for the first studio visit [from curators Don Bacigalupi and Chad Alligood]. With hindsight, I feel strengthened by the entire project. I’m sure you know there are a lot of very good artists out there and it can be a difficult process trying to get exposure for your work. So when this happened, I thought that whether or not my work was selected, this was a marker for me, they gave me a forum and gave me time to talk during the visit and to speak through my work in exhibition. The second point I would like to make is how the exposure of the exhibition gave me a greater sphere of feedback from the public. I take seriously the comments I hear from every single person who takes the time to look at my art. I gather my work in a very pedestrian way and I do not believe the work is complete without pedestrian insight. State of the Art provided a first-time national platform that continues to inform my work. I am honored to be a small part of the archive of artists State of the Art has brought together. LD What are you working on lately? MB Right now I’m carrying on a very long-term project. Specifically, I am collecting, deconstructing, and examining the fragmented remains of my parent’s junk mail. I started carrying it off in 2012, not consciously with the idea of making art, but keeping it led to some serious evaluation of the material. I had one of my helpers start shredding it, and when I poured that paper out, I understood that I had the equivalent of some sort of chronicle. The shredded paper was readable, but in a nonlinear way. I started plucking out words and phrases, little pieces of color and design from huge piles of paper. I’ve been breaking down material for a long time, but this was a point when I could really understand what the act of deconstruction and the resulting de-contextualized material had the potential to do. I find myself in a peculiarly interesting place with this body of work—between an appreciably maligned media and the transformation of material identity. Over the past decade I have become increasingly interested in methods of organization, breakdown, and reconstruction— not only in my own art, but how those methods were used by my grandmothers when making rugs, quilts, and clothing from discarded fabrics. I don’t work per se with fibers and fabrics, but my photos and junk mail are every bit as much fabric and fiber as the rag rugs and quilts that they made. The connection was a bit off-putting. After spending years sewing, then walking away from stitching, I knew I was at a dead end. But you know what? I owe a reverential nod to those skillful, innovative women who put me to work cutting and organizing old fabric into strips and squares for their domestic creations. My interpretations are different than theirs, but I am curious how adaptions of the underlying current of their work will continue to fit into mine. My time in residency will focus on this examination and new ways of material application.
RIGHT: Photo courtesy of the artist. LEFT: Miki Baird, swatch….the weft and warp of red walker, 2010–2012, .25 x .5 in. archival pigment prints, 42 x 52 x 11 in.
LD Looking back on it, what’s your perspective on State of the Art now?
VISIT THE CRYSTAL BRIDGES’ BLOG IN THE MONTHS AHEAD FOR INTERVIEW
WHEN CRYSTAL BRIDGES
EXCERPTS WITH OTHER ARTISTS FROM THE EXHIBITION.
WENT OUT ON A LIMB AND SELECTED ME FOR
LEFT: Photo courtesy of the artist, photo by Phill Hatten. RIGHT: Adonna Khare with her artwork, Rhinos, 2014, carbon pencil on paper, 96 x 72 in. Photo by Marc Henning.
IT DID WAS ADD ANOTHER LAYER TO WHAT I DO.
THE SHOW, I THINK WHAT
LD Are you worn out?
ADONNA KHARE Adonna Khare, whose studio is in Los Angeles, California, creates detailed, large-scale drawings of animals, often imbued with human characteristics. Each work offers an element of the fantastic, disrupting any preconceived idea on the part of the viewer that these are simple animal images. The stories they tell are complex, nuanced, and deeply personal to the artist. Khare’s work has been receiving significant attention from museums and galleries across the country since State of the Art debuted at Crystal Bridges, and she has taken some of her already large drawings to an even more monumental scale. LD What have you been up to since State of the Art? AK A lot has happened since State of the Art, and I feel like the momentum has just picked up a little bit more. I opened my first solo museum show at Boise Art Museum in February. I just booked another group museum show in Mesa, Arizona, this upcoming September. And of course part of the State of the Art show traveled to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, so I went to Minneapolis where I was even interviewed by NPR. I had a very successful show in a new gallery this past November in Denver, and I’m in the works for my first solo gallery exhibit in Manhattan. The gallerist became aware of my work through the most recent museum exhibition. I open a huge show here in the Los Angeles area this October, a show in San Francisco this June, and a show in Montana and Colorado this July. LD Wow, how do you create all that work?! AK I never leave my studio. I just kind of moved in. I draw every single day; at least four to seven hours of drawing every day. I’ve done two monumental drawings: over 20 feet. One will be going to San Francisco, and one will be coming to L.A. for my show this fall.
AK No! This is a dream come true. For how many years was I working odd jobs and this and that to try to get artwork in shows? And now I have the opposite problem, where I can’t keep up with the art demand. I would much rather have it this way than the other. LD Now that you’ve had time to reflect, can you tell me what your impressions were when you saw the State of the Art exhibition for the first time? AK I think what struck me most was the diversity of the show. But it was consistently diverse throughout the whole show: it was photography, it was painting, it was drawing, it was sculpture, it was installation, it encompassed so many things. It was one of my favorite shows I’ve ever seen because it wasn’t predictable. I came back for the family days, and it was really exciting to see that much of the community supported by the museum. I’ve worked with several museums and their education programs because I have a background in education, but the amount of participation at Crystal Bridges was pretty remarkable. LD Did your experience with State of the Art have an impact on how you thought about your work? AK Yes. In the art world you are labeled immediately by critics and galleries, there needs to be some kind of label on you. And I tend to get labels toward “illustrator.” “Whimsical.” Not fantasy, but kind of that direction. So when Crystal Bridges went out on a limb and selected me for the show, I think what it did was add another layer to what I do: that it is not easily dismissed as just pure illustrative work. There is a narrative to it, absolutely, but it can also exist in a contemporary art world and it doesn’t have to be one or the other. For me the huge challenge when I show in these contemporary galleries and museums is for people to believe that it’s relevant— that a very traditional medium using realism as a way to tell stories can be relevant in contemporary art. That’s a huge gift that being part of State of the Art gave my artwork.
What better place to dine than Eleven restaurant at Crystal Bridges? Enjoy views of the Museum’s dramatic architecture and tranquil ponds while dining on fine, High South cuisine prepared by Eleven’s award-winning chefs. Cheers to you!
Serving dinner Wednesday through Friday, 5 to 9 p.m. Make reservations at 479.418.5700 Option 2, or online at CrystalBridges.org/Eleven.
OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Rembrandt Peale, Rubens Peale, 1807, oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift of Mrs. James Burd Peale Green, NPG.86.212. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Raphaelle Peale, Corn and Cantaloupe, ca. 1813, oil on panel, 14 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. Photo by Dwight Primiano. Charles Willson Peale, George Washington, ca. 1780-1782, oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in. Photo by Amon Carter Museum of American Art. James Peale, Sr., The Ramsay-Polk Family at Carpenter’s Point, Cecil County, Maryland, ca. 1793, 49 1/8 x 39 3/8 in. Photo by Dwight Primiano.
Great food in a magical atmosphere.
35 BACK STORY
The Peale Family
An American Artistic Legacy MINDY BESAW CURATOR
AS AN ARTIST, NATURALIST, AND EDUCATOR, Charles Willson Peale was an intellectual and cultural leader of our young nation. Peale was devoted to natural sciences and art and opened America’s first museum in 1786 in Philadelphia. Charles Willson Peale was also at the center of an artistic family that made an important and lasting impact on early American art. Peale’s brother, James Peale Sr., was an artist, as were several of Charles Willson’s children and nieces and nephews. Charles Willson Peale named most of his 17 children after famous artists and scientists (11 of his children survived into adulthood). Raphaelle, Angelica Kauffman, Rembrandt, Titian Ramsay, and Rubens were named for European Old Master painters. Although not all of them became artists, Raphaelle was an accomplished still life painter JAMES PEALE, SR.
(Corn and Cantaloupe, in Crystal Bridges’ collection), Angelica Kauffman was a portrait painter, Rembrandt painted portraits and history scenes, and Titian Ramsay was an artist on one of the early expeditions to the American West. Rembrandt Peale was the most promising artist of the family. Several trips to Europe expanded his artistic training, and he developed a style that surpassed his father’s artistic skills. In this portrait, Rembrandt depicts Rubens Peale, his younger brother. Rubens, unlike his artistic namesake, devoted his life to natural sciences. As a boy, he studied mineralogy and botany and assisted his father in preparing specimens and creating displays for the museum. He was small for his age and had poor eyesight (notice how the strong magnification of Peale’s lenses enlarge the corner of his eye). At the age of 17, when Rubens sat for this portrait, he was a botanist. The portrait reflects the quiet strength of the sitter, and the artist’s fondness for his brother. Rembrandt and Rubens were close throughout their lives. Rubens was elected as a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and devoted much of his life to managing his father’s museum. Rembrandt painted history scenes and portraits and often lectured and wrote about art. DON’T MISS THE PORTRAIT OF RUBENS PEALE BY HIS BROTHER REMBRANDT PEALE, NOW ON VIEW, ON LOAN FROM THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY. (ABOVE LEFT)
CHARLES WILLSON PEALE
THE OPEN ROAD DIRECTOR’S RECEPTION FEBRUARY 25, 2016 Members at the Circle and Guild levels and sponsors celebrated the opening of The Open Road, Crystal Bridges’ first full exhibition of photography. Sponsored at Crystal Bridges by Coca-Cola, Stout Executive Search, and ConAgra Foods.
TEEN NIGHT APRIL 2, 2016 Crystal Bridges’ Teen Council organized this evening of artmaking, music, dance, and fun for area teens. Sponsored by the Nicole and John Weeldreyer Family Fund.
AMERICAN MADE DIRECTOR’S RECEPTION FEBRUARY 13, 2016 Members at the Sustaining level and above celebrated the opening of American Made, Crystal Bridges’ first folk art exhibition. Sponsored at Crystal Bridges by George’s and Becky and Bob Alexander.
GARDEN PARTY MAY 14, 2016 Sponsored by Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A. Trustee and Rockline Industries.
“A lot of charitable
organizations say, ‘I want to do this.’ My family’s approach is ‘what’s missing?’
Minding the Gaps
A Conversation with John Tyson LINDA DEBERRY EDITOR
IN 2012, CRYSTAL BRIDGES RECEIVED a $5 million commitment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, Inc., to establish the Tyson Scholars of American Art program and the Don Tyson Prize. Tyson Scholars is a research and residency program that helps promote the study and understanding of American art; and the Don Tyson Prize is a special recognition presented to an individual or institution whose work has significantly advanced knowledge in the field of American art. The prize was named in honor of the late Don Tyson, former chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods. The family’s interest in American art began with Don Tyson’s love of traditional American Western art, which he began collecting in the 1960s. His son, John H. Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods, is also an avid collector, and has significantly expanded and diversified what has now become the Tyson Foods corporate collection. He’s currently a member of Crystal Bridges’ board of directors. Later this year, Crystal Bridges will announce the first recipient of the Don Tyson Prize. In preparation, we visited John Tyson in his office at Tyson Foods to get his perspective on the prize, and the Tyson Scholars program as it has evolved since 2012. LD Tell me about your dad and his taste in art. JT He was a traditionalist. He loved Western art. It came from looking at the great Charles M. Russells and Frederic Remingtons at the Gilcrease Museum and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa. He was interested in that part of American history—it was something about the spirit of the frontier and the spirit of the individual, of walking your own path. LD The Tyson collection now includes more than 650 works. Do you collect? JT I do. One of the first things I acquired was Andy Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians. The thought was that if Andy Warhol could look at cowboys and Indians differently, could that inspire us to look at our business differently too? LD Why was it important to you and your family to work with Crystal Bridges and find ways to complement its mission? JT It’s important to give back to your community; it’s where you live, it’s where you work. For my family and me, it’s the people we
grew up with, the town and the area that shaped us. We’re part of the fabric. And if we’re part of the fabric, we ought to contribute to the fabric. Then the citizens of Northwest Arkansas can use these resources and weave it in a way that enhances the experience for all of us that live here. LD How did the concept of the Tyson Scholars and Don Tyson Prize come about? JT It came out of a collaborative conversation with Crystal Bridges leadership about how we could best work together. A lot of charitable organizations say “I want to do this.” My family’s approach is “what’s missing?” It’s about what’s needed. With Crystal Bridges leadership, we asked: “What could significantly increase awareness of what’s going on in American art?” What was missing at the Museum was accessibility to the archives, the library, and research on the works themselves. I didn’t realize that American art hadn’t been adequately studied for its own sake. Out of that conversation came the Tyson Scholars of American Art. It creates the opportunity for scholars to come and use the Museum, because of the depth of what is available, to complete their work. We also saw that there was a gap in ways to acknowledge the people and institutions that support American art. That’s when we created the Don Tyson Prize. My dad was always a big believer in education. He appreciated the American spirit, American history, and the American work ethic that says with just a little elbow grease, a person can get a few breaks. This type of accolade for the work being done to further American art would have been meaningful to him. LD This gift has now benefitted 15 scholars, from all across the country. Looking forward, what are your hopes for the future of the Tyson Scholars program? JT I hope it becomes recognized as a desirable step in the careers of those people who are studying American art, and I think we’re off to a very good start. I hope that overall research of American art increases, and also that the people we bring here will take the experience of Northwest Arkansas back to their home cities. I assume that after the scholars go back home, when people say “what was Northwest Arkansas like?” they can’t help but say, “it was something pretty special.”
GEORGE & MARY BENJAMIN Original Members, Sustaining Circle How frequently do you visit Crystal Bridges? We visit at least eight to ten times during the year.
What made you decide to become a Member of Crystal Bridges? We followed the Museum project from the time Alice Walton bought Kindred Spirits. We wanted to be participants of this incredible gift to the people of Northwest Arkansas.
How would you describe Crystal Bridges to a friend/family member? It houses a broad collection of American art as excellent as any in the country. Also, its special exhibitions are timely, well chosen, and interesting.
We have seen treasures here that we could not see anywhere else. The architecture alone is a reason to visit. How has Crystal Bridges impacted you and your family? It has helped introduce fine art to our grandson, who was intrigued with the exhibits. We never tire of coming to the Museum from Siloam Springs because we always see something new and interesting. The Museum has also elevated the prestige, not just of Northwest Arkansas, but the whole of Arkansas in the eyes of the country and the world.
Why do you feel art is importantâ€”for individuals, families, and communities? Art brings out our more basic instinct, which is to create anew. It encourages us to see the world around us with a different eye. Art also helps us to learn and communicate cultural, social, and historical change.
41 LAST WORD
WE BELIEVE THAT RIGOROUS, FOCUSED SCHOLARSHIP SHOULD BE SUPPORTED AND RECOGNIZED IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE MORE SCHOLARS TO TURN THEIR ATTENTION TO THIS FIELD. THERE ARE STORIES AND MEANINGS inherent in every work of art. Sometimes the meanings are clear, such as the patriotic message inherent in Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter. But sometimes the messages are more deeply encoded, and reveal themselves to us in layers, depending on how much we know about the context of the work. The time and place of its making, the artist’s personal history, the political and artistic climate of the times—all of these factors and more contribute to how much information we can glean from a work of art. Mary Cassatt’s The Reader (page 12) is a good example of this type of layered artwork. Excavating this information is the job of art scholars, who dig into the background and context of artworks, putting together the bits and pieces that reveal the hidden stories behind them. The scholars’ work enriches our understanding of the artworks and their makers, as well as of their cultural and political history. It might surprise you to learn that American art is an area of study that remains largely unexcavated. For decades, art historians thought of American art as primarily a European art
spin-off, not particularly worthy of focused research. But of course, we know now that American art has a rich history and fascinating evolution of its own, and there’s much more to be discovered. Our curators are continuously conducting research into the works in our permanent collection. Their efforts result in more robust programs, stronger information in the gallery labels and audio guide, and newly discovered connections between artworks, both in our collection and in the collections of other museums. This is why Crystal Bridges is dedicated to fostering the further study of American art through the Tyson Scholars in American Art program and the Don Tyson Prize. We believe that rigorous, focused scholarship should be supported and recognized in order to encourage more scholars to turn their attention to this field. As Crystal Bridges prepares to award the first Don Tyson Prize this fall, we are grateful to the Tyson Family and Tyson Foods for their ongoing support of scholarship in American art and their commitment to Crystal Bridges.
600 Museum Way â€¢ Bentonville, AR 72712