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Crystal Bridges previews retrospective exhibition ahead of anniversary in Bentonville

by Jocelyn Murphy | July 10, 2021 at 7:25 a.m.
Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) The Lantern Bearers 1908 Oil on canvas laid down on board

BENTONVILLE -- Crystal Bridges at 10, the latest exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, features more than 130 works spanning 200 years to celebrate the museum's first 10 years and set the tone for the decade to come.

The museum opened Nov. 11, 2011.

The exhibition opens to the public Sunday. The museum hosted a virtual media preview Friday morning.

The exhibition is organized into 10 parts that explore artistic influences, the natural elements, portraiture, nature and more than one section featuring local artists.

"Truly, you have never seen our collection this way," Mindy Besaw, curator of American art and director of fellowships and research, promised members of the media on the virtual call.

The museum recently expanded the Temporary Exhibition Gallery by 2,200 square feet for a total of 10,000 square feet, according to a museum news release. Crystal Bridges at 10 will be the first temporary exhibition to use the additional gallery space.

Crowd favorites within the permanent collection -- like Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter," Maxfield Parrish's "The Lantern Bearers" and Andy Warhol's "Dolly Parton" -- are presented in new context alongside never before seen pieces and new works.

Works across time are paired to spark new conversations, Besaw said, like in the section where Rosie is presented next to portraits of people from Arkansas who have contributed to the collective good during the difficult months of the pandemic.

"One of the cues that Lauren and I took is really looking at involving our community in a richer, more integrated way into our collection," Besaw said of the exhibition's co-curator Lauren Haynes. Haynes is the director of artist initiatives and curator, contemporary art, at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, a nearby, multidisciplinary arts venue.

One place community involvement manifested is in a section highlighting self-portraits. The curators used many of the examples in the permanent collection as an impetus to draw regional voices into the museum, Haynes said.

Twenty-four self-portraits submitted by K-12 students hang in the exhibition alongside the professional works. The rest of the 500 student submissions will be shown on a screen in the space.

The curators said they were deliberately vague when discussing Crystal Bridges at 10 with reporters as it is nearly impossible to convey the experiential nature of the exhibition.

Ten immersive art experiences will be found throughout the space, including a multisensory section that brings nature into the galleries and a participatory tableau vivant -- or living picture -- where visitors can pose themselves inside a modern version of a fan-favorite painting.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) Rosie the Riveter 1943 Oil on canvas

[Don't see the quiz above, click here: nwaonline.com/artquiz2/]

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Crystal Bridges at 10 is on display through Sept. 27. Tickets are $12, but free for members, veterans, children under 18 and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants.

Source: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Print Headline: Crystal Bridges previews retrospective exhibition ahead of anniversary

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