As promised, the just-announced summer exhibition schedule at Bentonville arts space the Momentary carries on a programming philosophy aimed at expanding the capabilities of the space and furthering understanding of, and connection to, art being made in the current moment.
That promise came from Lauren Haynes, director of artist initiatives and curator, contemporary art, at the Momentary and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Ahead of the spring temporary exhibition schedule, she explained that presenting the smaller, overlapping solo shows is indicative of the rhythm of the curatorial mission moving forward.
"We are excited to continue our second year with ... [the] presentation of three solo visual art exhibitions that will offer new perspectives and conversations to our community," Lieven Bertels, director of the Momentary, echoes in a press release.
"Whether the artists are familiar to our visitors or completely unknown, they will be able to ... enjoy a multimedia exhibition that draws from Afrofuturism, science fiction and experimental cinema by Cauleen Smith; explore race, class, social justice and more through a multi-film installation by Garrett Bradley; and dive deeper into Kenny Rivero's practice and themes that have been present in his work for the past decade."
The last of the three spring exhibitions closes June 13, less than two weeks before the first show of the summer season debuts. On June 26, "Cauleen Smith: Space Station, Radiant Behind the Sun" will fully transform the Lobby Gallery at the Momentary. A "space station" with a 1970s aesthetic, multimedia works and immersive elements will draw visitors into the worlds of Smith's interdisciplinary filmmaking.
"Through her practice, Cauleen Smith layers stories, reframes narratives and considers history through different lenses," Allison Glenn said in the exhibition press release. Glenn is associate curator, contemporary art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and curated the Smith exhibition.
"This new solo exhibition gives us an opportunity to showcase and share her unique artistic style and perspective with Momentary audiences."
The works of another filmmaker will fill Gallery 2 and Gallery 3 beginning July 3. "Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody" features two single-channel videos and a multi-channel video installation by Bradley that all explore social, economic and racial politics of everyday life. The exhibition was organized by Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and presents the New Orleans-based artist's work in a way that connects "the dots from the past to present and [offers] a new vision for the future."
"Garrett Bradley is a brilliant storyteller, and we are excited to feature a dynamic trio of her films at the Momentary," said Kaitlin Garcia-Maestas, assistant curator at the Momentary, who organized the exhibition for the Bentonville venue.
"Among many things, Bradley is going to expand our visitors' awareness of the history of American film, while also presenting new opportunities for visitor engagement in a gallery setting."
Finally, "Kenny Rivero: The Floor Is Crooked" opens July 10 to present a retrospective of Rivero's drawings, paintings and sculptures made over the last decade. Haynes is the curator for this final exhibition of the summer season and she shares her excitement for the work to be shown in Bentonville:
"Rivero's work over the past 10 years has addressed complicated themes around history, identity and more, so being able to see this vast scope of works and themes together in the Momentary's galleries will be a fantastic opportunity for our visitors to learn more about Rivero, his work, and our current moment."
On March 8, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University announced Lauren Haynes as the museum’s new senior curator of contemporary art, beginning her position June 7. The illuminating perspectives and deeper understanding this reporter, in particular, has gained from countless conversations with Haynes over the years have been a great pleasure, and we at What’s Up! are going to miss her! Here, Haynes reflects on her time with two of the region’s anchor arts institutions.
The arts landscape in Northwest Arkansas has definitely grown over the last four-plus years! It’s been amazing to be a part of that change and to also see everything that’s developed outside of Crystal Bridges and the Momentary. I think the audiences here, like audiences across the world, want to see a variety of work, by a variety of creators. They’re less concerned about what might or might not be perceived as “challenging,” but are more interested in work that makes them think, allows them to see a different perspective, and work that allows them to see themselves and their own experiences reflected in what they’re experiencing.
Being part of the team that helped open the Momentary is a highlight of my curatorial career so far. Working with so many talented people across a variety of departments to create something that had never been done in Northwest Arkansas before was a truly life changing experience. It wasn’t always easy, and there were many bumps in the road, but I’m extremely proud of the work that the team did and continues to do at the Momentary. I look forward to seeing what happens next.
Opening the Momentary is one of my proudest moments, as well as the work that I’ve done to help diversify the permanent collection at Crystal Bridges. Some of my favorite acquisitions include works by Jordan Casteel, Amy Sherald and Sam Gilliam (among many, many others!).
We wish Lauren the very best of luck!
— Jocelyn Murphy
Associate What’s Up! Editor
Summer Exhibition Schedule
‘Cauleen Smith: Space Station, Radiant behind the Sun’
On display June 26-Oct. 17
‘Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody’
On display July 3-Sept. 19
‘Kenny Rivero: The Floor Is Crooked’
On display July 10-Oct. 24
COST — Free
INFO — 367-7500, themomentary.org