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Crystal Bridges

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

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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