Although still exhausted from getting home late Friday night from an overseas trip, I was excited (in a sleepy way!) on Sunday to check out the State of the Art Exhibit at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. And wowza! The giant, quirky, interesting, thought-provoking exhibit did not disappoint.
Although I was part of a group of bloggers the museum invited for a guided tour of the exhibit, all opinions from the day are mine. Plus, museum admission is free for everyone.
What made the museum folks so excited to show off this particular exhibit? Well, State of the Art is the largest exhibit they’ve ever had — in both space and scope. In fact, having opened September 13 and running through January 19, it covers 19,000 square feet of gallery space.
Walking along on our tour, I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed the various displays in all sorts of mediums. Many incorporated “found objects” into their canvas in a clever way, including this piece made with discarded lottery tickets…
This one made from melted plastic (including yogurt cups)…
“Forever” made out of old romance novels…
And this wall display called “Ghosts of Consumption,” which consists of objects/trash found in ocean water off of Hawaii, Alaska, Greece, and Costa Rica.
Who knew things such as an old comb and plastic floss holder could be put together in such an interesting way while also making a strong environmental statement?
Other pieces were more playful. I loved this colorful, giant quilt made of fabric, thread, ink, and paint — and featuring the artist’s grandmother with a guitar…
For more information, check out the Crystal Bridges website and their State of the Art microsite, which features videos of the various artists creating in their studios. The exhibit runs until next January, and a symposium November 14-15 will feature many of the artists giving free talks.
I’d like to go back and spend a little more time at each of the State of the Art displays, as well as the other incredible areas of the museum. As I previously wrote, I enjoyed seeing the Andy Warhol collection there last Spring. But I need to also check out more of the inside galleries – and the various outside paths and exhibits.
In other words, time for another road trip. Soon!
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Wow, the imagination of people never stops amazing me. Some people look at an object and see art when others might see trash. How these artists could make something so wonderful out of everyday items is unbelievable. Thanks for the article and pictures.
Wasn’t it all amazing? Found-object art is becoming my favorite.
This sounds like a very interesting place to visit. Your pictures are great. Maybe some day I’ll get to see this museum. Nice article Deborah.
Thanks for the compliments Darlene! I think you would really enjoy this museum.
The entire exhibit appears to be unified by imagination and enjoyment. Who knew our trash could occupy such an exalted place in the art world.
It’s true Sandy. You definitely need to come for a visit before the Exhibit ends in January!!
Can’t wait to go back with my hubbie!
Do you think he’ll like it Sarah? I’m excited to go back with several other people and see what they think.
I do! I’d love to take everyone over Christmas, but aren’t sure all the family will “get it”. Nathan will though.
I haven’t spent much time in Arkansas, but this is now definitely on my list of “Must-visit” places when I finally get there. I love museums and this one seems right up my alley.
Arkansas would love to have you Lauren! If you ever do get a chance to see Crystal Bridges, make sure you leave plenty of time. There’s a TON to see there.
Hi Deborah! It was great to meet you and sit next to you before the tour! I really enjoyed the exhibit as well. I’m happy that the museum appreciates the everyday artists. Being an artist myself, I can appreciate the difficulty of having a voice!
It was so nice to meet you too Beth!! Thanks so much for stopping by. And that’s a really interesting point about the everyday artists. Super important folks!
I love Crystal Bridges. Your post makes me want to see this fun exhibit. Great post and pictures.
I think you’d love it Dorothy. It really was a lot of fun — with lots of stuff to ponder and take in.