New acquisitions, installations will ‘reimagine’ experience at Crystal Bridges, early American art galleries to close temporarily

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 835 views 

Four sculptures from the permanent collection will be on view in the forest, including Tony Tasset’s 12-foot tall Deer (2015). Image courtesy of the Artist and Kavi Gupta. Photo: Tim Johnson.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville announced Tuesday (Dec. 12) new works, plans to revamp its early American art galleries and North Forest outdoor art space in 2018.

The Cost of Removal (2017) by Titus Kaphar, has been added to the 1940s to present gallery. The piece “investigates historical subjects through the lens of current events to call attention to who and what is memorialized or forgotten,” according to a Crystal Bridges press release. Curator Lauren Haynes give a free gallery talk on the piece Thursday (Dec. 14).

Indian Land #4 (1980) is another recent addition to the Crystal Bridges collection by artist Fritz Scholder. It will be installed before the end of December.

Through this work, Scholder “disrupts the romantic visions of American Indians by painting un-stereotyped Indian themes and images that exposed real-life issues and situations in native communities,” according to Crystal Bridges.

In early 2018, the early American art galleries will be closed from Jan. 9 through March 16. When they re-open, there will be familiar works and also some pieces on loan from other institutions, including Native American art, folk art, furniture and art from other regions and time periods, according to Crystal Bridges.

“In the reimagined galleries, visitors will engage with the permanent collection in new and invigorating ways,” according to a press release.

While the galleries are closed, photos of works in the early American collection will be accessible online.

The museum’s North Forest, which opened in May with the Chihuly: In the Forest exhibit, closed Nov. 27 and will reopen Dec. 23, 2018, along with the North Forest, Rock Ledge and Enfield Trails, according to Crystal Bridges.

Recent acquisitions being installed in the North Forest include Carol Bove’s Horse Lover (2016), and Fletcher Benton’s Steel Watercolor No. 152 (1993).

Four sculptures from the permanent collection will be on view in the forest, including Tony Tasset’s 12-foot tall Deer (2015), which was recently on loan to the City of Chicago and appeared on the Riverwalk as part of a citywide initiative to install public art, and George Rickey’s One Fixed Four Jointed Lines Biased (1988), previously on view in the museum’s courtyard.

“As one of the newest American art museums, Crystal Bridges continues to rethink how American art is presented,” Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in the press release. “We are excited to add to our permanent collection, activate new spaces and create connections between the past and present, inviting visitors to consider the complexities inherent in the American spirit – all toward the goal of keeping the art experience engaging and accessible for our diverse audiences.”

In addition to the new acquisitions, two visiting artists will install site-specific work at the museum in December, according to Crystal Bridges.

Leonardo Drew, a Brooklyn-based artist, “works with everyday materials related to the architecture and the natural surroundings of a space,” according to the museum. Drew recently completed an installation titled 184T (2017) on the north side of the early-20th century gallery.

Nina Chanel Abney will be installing a mural in the stairwell that connects the galleries to the museum’s restaurant, according to the museum “Abney’s figurative paintings deal with contemporary urban life. Her work is influenced by many aspects of popular culture, including cartoons, video games, hip-hop and tabloid magazines, as well as artists Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse and Stuart Davis.

The work, which will be titled upon completion, will be on view to the public starting Saturday (Dec. 16).

“These thrilling new acquisitions and site-specific projects further the museum’s effort to diversify our collection and broaden our understanding of the American experience,” Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art, said in the release. “Artists like Nina Chanel Abney and Titus Kaphar address contemporary issues and allow visitors to make connections with other works in our collection.”

Crystal Bridges announced its temporary exhibition schedule for 2018 earlier this year.