Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crystal Bridges Art Museum

This weekend, Alex & I went with my husband's aunt to see a new art museum: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The museum, which opened in November, was founded by Alice Walton of the Walmart family. The museum is a nonprofit organization and admission is FREE because of a grant from Walmart.

The museum buildings are amazing and it sits on a gorgeous 120 acre site with over 3 miles of walking and biking trails. Unfortunately, it was raining, so we didn't go out on the trails.

From the site: "the Museum complex encompasses a library, the hands-on Experience Art Studio and Drop-in Studio, a glass-enclosed gathering hall for lectures, films, and other events, a Museum Store, a restaurant, and areas for outdoor concerts and public events. (Above: part of a trail and sculpture taken through large glass window.)

The collection of American art is divided into 4 sections: Colonial, 19th Century, Modern, and Contemporary. The Colonial collection included art by Gilbert Stuart (the Constable-Hamilton portrait of George Washington shown above), John Trumbull, John Singleton Copley, and Samuel Finley Breese Morse (of morse code fame and whose art I discussed here).
Trompe L'oeil by Haberle from Wikipedia
The 19th Century area includes some trompe l'oeil which is art that tricks the eye into thinking it's 3 dimensional. One piece was by Haberle, though it isn't the one I posted above. There was also work by Mary Cassatt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and John Singer Sargent (whose art I copied for my charcoal portraits).

Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter which was on Saturday Evening Post (from Wikipedia)
The Modern and Contemporary sections included art by Norman Rockwell (one of my favorite artists!), Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns (who we studied here), Louise Nevelson (who we studied here), and Jacob Lawrence.

I loved the layout of the museum. There were two places where you could stop and rest and look at art books or get on iPads to learn more about the art. And, there were two hands-on activity centers. Unfortunately, one closed just as we found it. But, we spent some time in the other. It had quite a few activities (including a dressing up area and places to build and to learn about art). Alex and Aunt C had fun making butterfly art!

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