Contemporary artists to show at Crystal Bridges

AP News
Posted: Nov 11, 2013 6:30 PM

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced Monday that it is planning a major exhibition of contemporary art that will open next fall.

Monday marked the second anniversary of the Bentonville museum's Nov. 11, 2011, opening and organizers marked the event by detailing the planned "State of the Art" exhibition.

The works, selected after curators visited more than 400 studios of American artists, are to go on display Sept. 13 and run through Jan. 5, 2015. The museum is to display works by more than 100 artists.

"All art is contemporary when it's created, and speaks to the time and place in which it was made," Crystal Bridges President Don Bacigalupi said. "Great art can inspire introspection, conversation and even action. We see it throughout our history and we're seeing it today. By examining a wide range of works by contemporary artists from across the country, we can all gain insight into our nation as a whole — our challenges and concerns, as well as what uplifts and inspires us."

The exhibition will include explanatory materials from the artists to give contest to their works, Assistant Curator for Special Projects Chad Alligood said.

"The artists themselves will lend their voices to share, explain, challenge and contextualize their work in this exhibition. By highlighting the voice of the artist, we will give our guests unprecedented insight into the artists' practice," Alligood said.

Alligood and Bacigalupi traveled the country to select the works.

"On our nationwide journey, our goal has been to discover artists whose practices are informed by history and tradition, but are decidedly of our time," Bacigalupi said. "We've been most impressed with works that marry technical virtuosity with visual splendor and intellectual engagement. These artists have something powerful to say, and have devised truly effective means of communicating with the public."

Crystal Bridges founder Alice Walton, a daughter of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton who spent part of her fortune to build and stock the museum, reflected on a letter she received from a young student.

Walton said the fifth-grader came away with the understanding that artists do more than combine shape and color and use their craft to express ideas and feelings.

"I want everyone to see contemporary art through the eyes of the artists," Walton said. "That's why we're doing this."

An exhibition of 101 artworks by modernists from America and Europe opened Saturday at the museum. "The Artists' Eye" runs through Feb. 14.