The Washington Post got a tour and has posted this slideshow of Crystal Bridges, including views of previously undisclosed works by Hiram Powers ("Proserpine," marble bust, 1840), John Singer Sargent ("Under the Willows," 1887) and Robert Rauschenberg ("Untitled," an oil, graphite and silkscreen composition, 1963).
Here's a story from Maine Antiques Digest about a Florida man who was arrested last year for selling fakes, including one of "Under the Willows." Sargent painted several "Under the Willow" paintings, so the painting in the article may not be the one owned by Crystal Bridges, but the article says the real Sargent was in the Museum of Art in Houston, where other of CBMAA's paintings have hung.
The Washington Post's story on Crystal Bridges is here. From the story:
While millionaires and billionaires before her have created museums, Walton’s Crystal Bridges — with its mix of contemporary and classic art, and its origins in the frugal, self-made ethos of the Wal-Mart empire — feels decidedly different from the museums of the Gilded Age, or the boomtown art collections of mid-century Texas. There is no anxiety about the status of American art, no looking to Europe for validation. There’s no embarrassment about the immense fortune that made the museum possible, no old-fashioned cultural money-laundering in the manner of Carnegie or Mellon. Nor is there any worry about whether the art is too conservative or too edgy. It is a mature, serious, relatively progressive museum launched at a time when increasing numbers of people consider themselves socially tolerant and fiscally conservative. It is a museum for people who are as comfortable with art as social experiment and provocation, as they are with untrammeled, winner-takes-all capitalism.
I'm not quite sure how large the audience described in the latter sentence would be, and I would hope the museum, Walton-funded though it is, is also for people who think untrammeled, winner-takes-all capitalism is destroying the middle class, and a valid subject for art as well.
UALR TV's latest "Inside Art" installment looks at two sculptures that, after languishing on campus for years, are being restored by Wendel Norton of Norton Arts. The works are the late James Sterritt's "Warm Behind the Wall," fabricated in 1977, and an untitled piece by Kelly Grimes Edwards, made in the 1980s.
The program will air on Comcast and U-Verse Oct. 5-9: 8 pm Oct. 5, 10:30 p.m. Oct. 6, 10 p.m. Oct. 7, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9.
Artist Clay Enoch was on hand today as City Director Dean Kumpuris "unveiled" Enoch's bronze of William "Bill" Clark and his dog, Chloe, at the Bill Clark Wetlands.
The sculpture, "Steady," is significant for several reasons: It pays tribute to the co-founder of CDI contractors, which built the Clinton Presidential Library, a man Kumpuris described as "one of the most altruistic" men in Little Rock. It is fine piece of public art, commissioned by and created in consultation with Clark's widow, Margaret Clark. And it is the first sculpture in Riverfront Park to refer to one of our own, a crucial relationship that Eye Candy has harped on previously and which the workmen who helped create the rock and pond setting said they were happy to see.
Enoch is a member of the National Sculptors Guild Loveland, Colo., and a native of Memphis (and therefore no stranger to the subject, a man in waders, duck call in hand, Labrador at his side).
Kumpuris gave a tour of the wetlands as well, pointing out the trap that has been installed at the drainage into the Arkansas River backwater that will capture, as an environmental lesson, the trash that people toss onto the streets in East Little Rock and which eventually ends up in the river. An upper pond area that is fed by the river and has a spillway into the backwater serves as a wetland demonstration area, planted with overcup oak, aquatic tupelo, native iris and other wetland-loving species. A large white bat house has been installed across the backwater.
Kumpuris, whose idea it was to honor Clark with the wetlands project, is rightly proud of the project, a great stop on the River Trail, which with the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge will be celebrated at an 11 a.m. dedication in the morning with the President and Mrs. Clinton — and Clark and Chloe — present.
Erin Harmon, who teaches painting at Rhodes College in Memphis, is giving a talk at 3 p.m. today in the Fine Arts Center Gallery of Arkansas State about her exhibition, "Midnight Garden," on view through Oct. 21.
About the paintings, she writes:
These "Midnight Gardens" incorporate real and imagined exquisite botanical fragments, strange flora, and sentimental mementos into a beautiful but sterile Eden. The paintings teeter between still life objects and landscape representation that implicates the viewer as participant. Inspired by myths as well as allusions to the landscape as feminine, these objectified forests and gardens embody a timeless and mystical space while also suggesting a sense of desire, anxiety, and a loss of authenticity.
Read more about the artist here.
George Wittenberg's "Postcards of Harlem," watercolors of historic places, is now available at the Museum of the City of New York at 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue. The Little Rock artist sends his painted postcards through the mail to add the stamps and postmark as an art element; the Harlem postcards were mailed from 125th Street.
Learn more about Wittenberg, who's also created postcards of Little Rock, here. And look for a book including those LR postcards in October.
Habitat for Humanity's annual fund-raiser auction of artist-restored furniture is tomorrow night, Sept. 29, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Lafayette Square building at Louisiana and Sixth streets (523 Louisiana) and if you want to bid on some beautiful things for a beautiful purpose, clear off your calendar now and plan to go.
"Get Hammered!" is the theme of the 2nd annual Restore and After event, where Hammer-tini cocktails, beer, wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served for a mere $25 ticket price. The Rodney Block Band will entertain.
Among the items to be auctioned are no fewer than four doghouses, all decorated by realtors with the Little Rock Realtor's Association, toy chests, chairs, hutches and more.
Here's how it worked: 14 artists purchased items from H for H's ReStore outlet in North Little Rock and turned them into works of art for auction. Last year's event raised $7,000, enough to build a room in a Habitat house. Go here to purchase tickets or call 379-1583.
A life-sized sculpture of William "Bill" Clark with his duck dog is being installed in the Bill Clark Wetlands at the Clinton Presidential Park tomorrow. The Clark Wetlands will be dedicated at a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday along with the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge (the former Rock Island Railroad Bridge).
Clay Enoch, a member of the National Sculptures Guild in Loveland, Colo., that has been the source of most of the public art in Riverfront Park, created the bronze sculpture, "Steady," which was commissioned for the park.
Clark, the founder-owner with the Dillard family of CDI Construction, builder of the Clinton Presidential Library, was a civic leader and outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing and being in nature.
According to the National Sculptors Guild, "Steady" will be produced in a limited edition.
"Available as limited editions of 25 for the maquette, and 10 for the monument, the lifesize dog will also be available without the hunter in a separate edition. Introductory prices are available for the first 3 castings or through mid October 2011*... maquette: $7,200, lifesize: $60,000, lab alone: $12,500. *Effective October 14, 2011 prices are subject to change without notice based on cost of production and/or rarity in edition. Prices do not include shipping/handling/insurance or optional installation.
Artist V.L. Cox and a volunteer crew could use more company in their work refurbishing the mural on the North Little Rock seawall. The mural — on 30 by 8 foot panels — was designed and painted by Betty Dortch Russell and Marge Holman in 1962. (Go here for more information.) It got a facelift in 2001 and is getting retouched again under Cox's direction.
Cox is working there now as I type, and will return in the morning at 8 a.m. The NLR Women's Club has been feeding volunteers pimiento cheese and ham and cheese sandwiches, and there will be other refreshments.
Here's how it's working best, Cox said: Each volunteer gets a color and works in the part of the mural that needs that color! Work should continue thru Saturday.
The North Little Rock arts scene got some state recognition today when the Arkansas Arts Council announced that Vince Insalaco is the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award and John Gaudin the winner of the Arts Community Development Award, two of the Governor's Arts Awards for 2011.
The Arts Council also named individual fellowship recipients in music composition (Richard Salonen of Farmington, Rena Wren of Hot Springs and Shannon Wurst of Fayetteville), poetry (Mary Angelino, Fayetteville; J. Camp Brown, Fort Smith; and Cynthia King, Fayetteville) and sculpture/installation art (Ty Brunson of Russellville, John Rankine of Eureka Springs and Carey Voss of Conway, the subject of the video above.)
The Governor's Arts Awards will be presented at a luncheon at noon Oct. 18 in the ballroom of the Peabody Hotel. Tickets are $35; go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 324-9766 to purchase. Each recipient will receive an original work of art created by Arkansas artist Winston Taylor of Russellville, recipient of the 2011 Arkansas Living Treasure award.
Other Governor's Award winners are Nicole Capri, Arts in Education; Thoma Thoma, Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts; Mike Shirkey of Fayetteville, Folklife Award; Larry Foley of Fayetteville, Individual Artist Award; Hershey and Denise Garner of Fayetteville, Patron Award; and Claire Haun, Judges' Special Recognition Award. (That's several awards for Fayettevillians as well.)
Sotheby's is having its American Paintings, Silver, Folk Art and Sculpture auctions today and tomorrow in New York, and there are several things I'd like to have. Or at least be able to see at Crystal Bridges. Indulge me.
One is William Edmondson's "Angel with Cape Surround," carved limestone figure by the late self-taught Tennessee artist (1882-1951). Here's a bit from Sotheby's about Edmondson, whose work I've always craved:
Edmondson was the first African American self-taught artist given a one-person exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1937. A New Yorker reviewer acknowledged the "surprising amount of weight and power" of the work but went on to write, "The figures are not decorative enough to be attractive to many, nor have they really enough emotional or intellectual content to be of lasting interest, and it is likely that after the show closes, on December 1st they and Mr. Edmondson will soon be forgotten." More than seventy years later, that reviewer was proved wrong. The museumestablishment has recognized Edmondson as one of the most important self-taught artists of the twentieth century.
Then there's "Waiting for the Bus" by New Jersey artist John R. Grabach (1886-1981), one of several of the artist's paintings at auction (and I guess one needs more than one in a collection, so why stop there?). Why is this woman sitting with her legs sticking straight out? She looks like a patient, sort of. Anyway, it reminds me of the hills and architecture and autumn light of the New England mill town I once lived in.
Then there's the "Group of 13 Standing Female Figures" by Elie Nadelman (1882-1946), plaster miniatures placed in a Plexiglass box. From Sotheby's:
And because I'm a nut for folk art, here's a third piece that caught my eye: A whirligig from a farm in Iowa. Alice Walton is probably NOT going to buy this for me, but here it is anyway.
Sotheby's is touting other works in the auction, one a 19th century painting that purports to be a portrait of Capt. James Smith's family owned by his descendants, a Nadelman sculpture of two female nudes and a gorgeous George Inness painting them. I also wouldn't mind a couple of Joseph Stella drawings and Martha Walters series of paintings from Ellis Island. See the auction overview here.
"Off the Grid"
Arkansas Tech's Norman Hall Gallery opened an exhibit Monday of Keliy Anderson-Staley's photographic study of 30 families who've left the modern world behind to live in the Maine woods. Anderson-Staley has first-hand experience of living off the grid; her project started with her own family, who lived in a log cabin in the Maine woods. From the artist's statement:
Tensions within families, between generations, and between individuals and larger communities are among the psychological themes explored. I am especially interested in capturing the complex attitudes of the children as they echo their parent’s pride while still exhibiting some frustration and discontentment. The new wave of homesteaders in their 20s and 30s is also surprisingly strong. Although their gardens and homes look similar to the ones built in the 70s and early 80s, there is a different atmosphere. At the same time, they are still bathing their children in the same metal tubs I remember using as a kid.
Anderson-Staley will give a talk about the exhibition at a reception at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. The show runs through October.
The great chalk art party returns to the sidewalks of the Clinton Presidential Park tomorrow for the sixth year, thanks to the Thea Foundation. Students and their teachers will be making art, families will be enjoying the bouncy castle and mimes from Parkview and food, and all teachers and students K-college will receive free admission to the Clinton Library. That's 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow.
The Art Loft, the new gallery at 1525 Merrill Drive, holds a grand opening tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be food by Lulav, Spanish classical guitar by Rico Novales, and lots of art, by such artists as Patrick Cunningham, Catherine Rodgers, Dan Thornhill, Rosemary Parker, Kelly Furr and many more.
Max had this earlier on his blog while I was out, but here it is again: The Walton Family Foundation, its website updated for 2010, announced today that it donated more than $1.2 billion to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2010, accounting for a huge portion of its total philanthropic giving last year of $1.49 billion.
That number is on top of another $403 million for, artwork, general operating expenses and construction the foundation invested in the museum in 2010. Museum director Don Bacigalupi announced in May an endowment gift of $800 million to the museum.
Ring up another $50 million from the family foundation to the museum in 2009, $60 million 2008, and $10 million in 2006. The museum non-profit has reported artwork acquisitions totaling $141.7 million since 2007 — long after Alice Walton began acquiring significant pieces, such as the $35 million "Kindred Spirits" by Asher Durand. Add another $20 million by Wal-Mart this year, and from other sources, $10 million from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation and surely big money from other Northwest Arkansas industries. Cha-ching!
The full press release is below. But before you read it, here's something fun: Tell me who painted the painting in the left part of the photograph below that appears on the Crystal Bridges website and I'll make you famous by mentioning your name in Eye Candy!
Walton Family Foundation Invests Over $1.2 Billion
In Home Region Initiatives in 2010
Unique Year Highlighted By Grants to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Includes Grants in Delta Region, NW Arkansas and Education Reform Initiatives
BENTONVILLE, ARK., [DATE], 2011 — Today the Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $1.2 billion in initiatives within the foundation’s home region. While just over $45 million was dedicated to organizations and projects within the foundation’s three home region initiatives, 2010 represented a unique year of grant making as the foundation worked toward the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, investing more than $1.2 billion in the project.
“Our 2010 investments reflect the extraordinary opportunity to lay a foundation for a cultural amenity in Northwest Arkansas that will benefit generations to come,” said Buddy Philpot, executive director of the Walton Family Foundation. “Grants to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art were outside of our typical grant making in our home region but clearly emphasize our desire to bring cultural amenities to Northwest Arkansas.”
In addition to grants to Crystal Bridges, the foundation invested in three home region initiatives — Arkansas Education Reform, Northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. Grantmaking by each area is as follows:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - $1,203,290,308
In 2010, the foundation invested more than $1.2 billion in the museum set to open Nov. 11, 2011 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Recently Don Bacigalupi, Ph.D., executive director of the museum, announced 2010 endowment grants from the foundation totaling $800 million to support operations, art acquisitions and future capital improvement needs. Also in 2010, the foundation made grants to the museum of $403 million for, artwork, general operating expenses and construction.
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is “to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of landscape. The museum explores the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving outstanding works that illuminate heritage and artistic possibilities.” The museum takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building design by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds will house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Visitor amenities will also include a restaurant on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds and a Marlon Blackwell-designed museum store. Miles of sculpture and walking trails will link the Museum's 120-acre park and gardens to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas and the region’s trail system
Arkansas Education Reform - $15,167,104
Through a statewide education reform initiative, the foundation invested in efforts to increase academic performance of the state’s students by investing in programs that improve accountability, transparency, choice and incentives in Arkansas’ public schools. The foundation works with grantees to:
• Promote and support academically and financially successful independent and open-enrollment public charter schools, and encourage the closure of those that are not;
• Invest in organizations that can leverage continued policy support and advancement of educational accountability and choice policy; and
• Assist traditional school districts in complying with the state accountability policy.
Northwest Arkansas - $24,854,907
Because of strong historic and Walton family ties, northwest Arkansas is of particular importance to the foundation. The foundation pursues a goal of enhancing the quality of life for northwest Arkansas residents, primarily in Washington and Benton counties, by supporting community, economic and educational initiatives that will have a direct impact on the regional industries’ ability to attract and retain a quality workforce. Investments are focused on five primary quality-of-life drivers:
• Efforts to improve education by investing in independent public charter schools, state and geographically targeted advocacy organizations, traditional school districts and preschool programs;
• Economic development and infrastructure;
• Fine arts, culture and natural amenities;
• Diversity outreach; and
• Environmental programs.
Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi - $5,617,751
The foundation’s history of support and engagement in the Delta dates back to 1991. Foundation staff works with grantees to improve the quality of life in this impoverished region by implementing economic development and community-based strategies that lead to sustainable progress in these defined geographic areas, and by enhancing educational opportunities for children and adults. Work in the Delta region is focused on the following strategies:
• Improving education in independent public charter schools, state and geographically targeted advocacy organizations, and traditional school districts;
• Economic development;
• Community development; and
• Leadership development and civic engagement.
About the Walton Family Foundation
When Sam and Helen Walton launched their modest retail business in 1962, one of their goals was to increase opportunity and improve the lives of others along the way. This guiding principle has played a pivotal role in the phenomenal growth of their small enterprise into a global retail leader. This principle also drives the philanthropic mission of the Walton Family Foundation.
Today the foundation is more focused than ever on sustaining the Walton’s timeless small-town values and deep commitment to making life better for individuals and communities alike. By working with grantees and collaborating with other philanthropic organizations, the foundation is dedicated to making a positive difference in three focus areas:
• Systemic K-12 education reform
• Freshwater and marine conservation
• Quality of life initiatives in our home region
During 2010, the foundation invested more than $1.49 billion in domestic and international projects that addressed significant social and environmental issues, and sought to create exciting new opportunities. The foundation continues to implement and expand grant making to fund a positive difference in many diverse communities — and in the lives of the people who call them home. For more information, visit www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org.
New sculpture, food, music at 5:30 p.m. at 1401 S. Main St.
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