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Crystal Bridges

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Thomas Moran, Valley of the Catawissa in Autumn, ca. 1862

[Steven Watson, from the Crystal Bridges website]

Roberta Smith has a piece in today’s tomorrow’s NYT on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art that had me heading to google maps to find out how to drive to Bentonville, Arkansas from Tulsa International Airport.* I checked flights, too. Not that we’re leaving in the next week or two, but I’d sure like to.

I suppose it would make sense, if we go, to combine the visit with other activities in the region. For example, Branson, Missouri is only 85 miles away. We could take in a concert. Or we could head down to Little Rock for the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and the Clinton Library, except that Little Rock isn’t all that close.

We’ll take our time planning the trip. The longer we wait, the richer the Crystal Bridges collection will be. And I haven’t even discussed the idea with Gail. (Are you reading this?) In the meantime, I can enjoy studying the art at its website.

Charles Sheeler, Amoskeag Mills #2, 1948

[From the Crystal Bridges website]

Here’s the opening to the NYT article:

By just about any measure, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which opened last month in this small town in northwest Arkansas, is off to a running start. The dream-come-true of Alice Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune, it is characterized by people both inside and outside the museum as a work in progress, with plenty of room for improvement. But there it stands, a big, serious, confident, new institution with more than 50,000 square feet of gallery space and a collection worth hundreds of millions of dollars in a region almost devoid of art museums.

Much more than just a demonstration of what money can buy or an attempt to burnish a rich family’s name, Crystal Bridges is poised to make a genuine cultural contribution, and possibly to become a place of pilgrimage for art lovers from around the world.

See also the accompanying slide show.

Harry Sternberg, Thomas Hart Benton, 1944

[From the Crystal Bridges website, courtesy of the artist’s estate]

*Addendum: Somehow, it didn’t occur to me that one might be able to take a commercial airline flight into Bentonville, Arkansas. I should have realized that with the size and importance of Walmart, and the Clinton presidency, commercial flights would have been introduced some time in the 1990s, and so they were, in November 1998. (See here for a history.) No need to fly into Tulsa, the closest city of significant size. Instead we can fly, for instance, into O’Hare and then on to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, just 14 miles outside Bentonville.

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Categories: Art, Travel

Go Kyrie! Go Cavs!

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Kyrie Irving with coach Byron Scott, December 11

[AP Photo, Carlos Osorio]

The Cavaliers (Cleveland’s NBA basketball team) opened their season tonight at home against Toronto. This means that Kyrie Irving, the first pick in last June’s NBA draft and my cousin (well, maybe not, but it’s fun to pretend), made his professional debut.

Three days after the draft, I wrote that “I’m not much for wearing official team clothing, but I see a Cleveland Cavalier jersey in my future.” If only I had remembered, as I surely would have if the NBA season weren’t delayed for two months, I would have put the jersey on my wish list for the holidays. But no matter, since the jersey wouldn’t have been available. According to the Cavalier online store, it still isn’t. I will be patient.

According to Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

The Kyrie Irving era got off to an inauspicious start Monday at The Q.
But to pin the Cavaliers’ 104-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors on a 19-year-old rookie point guard is roundly unfair, not to mention misleading. Especially on a night the club’s collective effort was bad enough to give it a running start on the No. 1 pick next season.

The Cavaliers defended poorly, shot worse and needed a strong effort from their second unit just to keep them in the game against one of the NBA’s bottom feeders.

Irving, the top selection in the June draft, managed just six points on 2-of-12 shooting and never found his rhythm before a sellout crowd of 20,562 fans. He spent a good portion of the second half on the bench as backup Ramon Sessions helped the Cavaliers stay close with a team-high 18 points and six assists.

“It’s disappointing,” said Irving, who played 26 minutes. “You want to play really well when the whole world is watching. It’s a learning process.”

The point is an unforgiving position for first-year players. Not only did Irving struggle at the offensive end, but he had difficulty keeping the Raptors’ Jose Calderon (15 points, 11 assists) in front of him.

How have other recent high-profile point guards fared in their NBA debuts?
According to Stats LLC, Washington’s John Wall had 14 points, Chicago’s Derrick Rose scored 11 points and New Orleans’ Chris Paul collected 13 points.

“He looked OK for what was like his fifth game in a year,” said coach Byron Scott, who named Irving his starter on Monday morning. “He had seven assists and one turnover. The only thing he didn’t do was shoot the ball well.”

I trust that by the time my jersey arrives, Kyrie will be playing better. We’ll put in a big order. I know Dad will enjoy his. (He doesn’t read Ron’s View, so don’t tell him. It will be a surprise.)

Categories: Clothing, Sports