The auction house’s York Avenue salesroom in Manhattan, filled with American art dealers and collectors, went dead quiet while a tense nine-and-a-half-minute bidding battle played out for “Saying Grace,” one of Rockwell’s best-loved scenes. It brought $46 million, well over its high estimate of $20 million and the most ever paid at auction for his work. ...
Who bought the works remains a mystery. Sotheby’s isn’t saying, nor are the buyers. Among this country’s top Rockwell collectors are the filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, as well as the businessman H. Ross Perot and Alice L. Walton, the Walmart heiress. None could be spotted in the audience or in any of Sotheby’s skyboxes.
The pair began their research by reaching out to curators, gallerists and thought leaders in each region, who helped identify some 10,000 promising artists across the United States. From that group, Bacigalupi and Alligood developed a priority list of more than a thousand artists to visit, logging hundreds of hours of studio conversations before establishing the final checklist. “We’ve come to recognize that many extraordinary artists may be known in their own locales, but have yet to emerge on the national stage. Their work, however, deserves consideration from a national audience,” said Alligood.
She stops again at Andy Warhol’s 1977 “Hammer and Sickle,” a blood-red painted screen print of the Communist symbol she picked up for $3.4 million at Sotheby’s as part of a recent 20th-century art buying spree, partly to quiet critics who’ve called her collection unbalanced.
“I started thinking, How do you talk about those 30 years of friction between the Soviet Union and the United States, the McCarthy era, the bomb shelters, the school drills we all got so used to?” she says. “That one painting is the door."
U of A Announces Results of Crystal Bridges Research
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Researchers in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas surveyed nearly 11,000 students and compared responses between those who took a field trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and those who did not. They found that students who took the field trips learned more about art, demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills, displayed higher tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy, and developed more of a taste for art museums compared to students who did not go on the field trip. The results offer implications for everyone from parents to policymakers.
New videos on Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art's YouTube page go behind the scenes to illuminate the importance of exhibition installation, both in showing the works to their best advantage and in carrying the theme of the exhibition. Sometimes, such as in the installation of Crystal Bridges' sculpture by Donald Judd of stacked orange boxes, the space is every bit a part of the sculpture as the work itself.
Check out the video of Kevin Murphy, the former curator of American art who is now with Williams College in Massachusetts, in which he explains the color choices for the walls in the "Angels and Tomboys" exhibition to get an idea of the importance of setting, and a glimpse of the exhibit too. There's a second process video by Murphy as well, along with several videos about the George Washington exhibitions that
were is at the museum through September! (Thanks for the correction, Dianne! I was a little mixed up!)
Kevin Murphy, curator of American art at Crystal Bridges Museum, is headed to Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., in September for a curatorial and teaching job there. His departure will be the third of three hires he came in with: Matt Dawson, who was a deputy director, and David Houston, director of curatorial, preceded him in heading to new pastures.
Diane Carroll, museum spokesperson, said the museum is making progress in hiring a new director of curatorial and that person will be involved in hiring someone to replace Murphy. Murphy came to Crystal Bridges from the Huntington Library in Los Angeles.
There have been several staff changes since the museum opened in 2011, the first the departure of former curator Chris Crosman. (The Walton Family Foundation recently made a gift of $25,000 to the Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine, where Crosman once worked, in Crosman's honor.) Ex-director Don Bacigalupi is now president of the museum and serves on its board; the director's job was filled by Rod Bigelow, who like Bacigalupi came to Crystal Bridges from the Toledo Museum of Art. Dawson's position was not filled. Carroll said the museum engaged a heavy curatorial staff prior to opening because it had 2,000 works of art not yet on view, and that the staffing pattern change reflects the different needs of the museum. She declined to say how much in advance the museum knew of Murphy's plans to leave.
Murphy is curating the "Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art” exhibit that opens June 29; here's a New York Times' review of the show when it appeared in Newark.
Crystal Bridges Museum president Don Bacigalupi has written a come-hither piece about the Donald Judd work that has been installed on the grounds of the Bentonville museum in the Huffington Post. Bacigalupi says the work at CBM, "Untitled, 1989 (Bernstein 89 24), is what Judd called a "specific object."
Judd called these mature works "specific objects" rather than sculptures or works of art, to indicate their distance from traditional ways of making sculptural art. These were "specific" because the artist carefully orchestrated their shape, scale, proportions, and materiality. And they were "objects" because they were fabricated — rather than sculpted — by the artist.
The Judd was acquired along with Andy Warhol's "Hammer and Sickle" at an auction at Sotheby's.
Here's a link to the Judd Foundation website, where you can learn more about the "specific objects."
Arkansans love Norman Rockwell. (I especially love the Rockwell in the image above.)
During its 11-week run, the exhibit "American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell" drew more than 121,000 people to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the museum said today — more than any other visitors at any of the 12 museums it traveled to before coming to Arkansas. (Around 100 of them traveled to the show on the Arkansas Times' artbuses.)
Next up: "Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th Century American Art," 72 masterworks from the Newark Museum, and "Surveying George Washington," historical documents, both June 29-Sept. 30.
Crystal Bridges opens two new exhibits Saturday, May 11: "American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life," which I wrote about here in April, and "American Experience: Genre Scenes on Paper from Crystal Bridges’ Permanent Collection."
The museum will also extend Saturday viewing hours for its exhibit "American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell" to 7:30 p.m. on May 11, 18 and 25.
The "Genre Painting and Everyday Life" features two paintings from the Louvre Museum by European painters who influenced American artists, an Eastman Johnson from the High Museum in Atlanta, a George Caleb Bingham from the Terra Foundation for American Art and a painting by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait from CBM's own collection.
"Genre Scenes on Paper" includes watercolors and drawings by William Anderson Coffin, Winslow Homer, John Lewis Krimmel, Luke Robins and Thomas Waterman Wood from CBM's collection.
Peter John Brownlee, associate curator for the Terra Foundation and curator of the "American Encounters" exhibition, will give a talk on the evolution of American genre painting at 3 p.m. May 19 at the museum.
Keith Haring, the cartoon artist who became famous first for his graffiti drawings in the subway tunnels of New York, purposely made his affordable for the public (opening the "Pop Shop") after his success in the art world pushed his gallery prices into the stratosphere. Everybody has seen Haring's simply outlined cartoon figures in some form or another, from T-shirts to posters to paintings. That he died of AIDS at the age of 31 in 1990 is also part of his legend, as he was one of the earliest activists to speak about the illness.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced today the installation of Haring's 1986 "Two-Headed Figure," a red aluminum figure that features a baby's head on one end with a dog's on the other,
on the grounds at Walker's Landing, the terrace on the east side of the pooled spring.
The sculpture was bought at auction at Sotheby's in New York last November for $578,500. The museum press release said its acquisition "was made possible by Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr." Sybil Robson Orr is museum founder Alice Walton's first cousin and a film producer.
In a press release, Crystal Bridges President Don Bacigalupi said the sculpture is a "rarity."
The work features two of his signature creatures, here as dual heads on a singular body, leaning over their respective shoulders to engage one another in dialogue. It’s pure delight and whimsy with an invitation to join the conversation.
Keith Haring (1958-1990)
Two-Headed Figure, 1986
Polyurethane paint on aluminum
96 x 82 x 56 in. (243.8 x 208.3 x 142.2 cm)
Made possible by Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr
Two paintings from the collection of the Louvre Museum in Paris will be on exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art when the collaborative exhibition "American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life" opens May 11.
Dutchmaster Jan Steen's humorous "Festive Family Meal" (painted in 1674) and Irish painter William Mulready's sentimental "Train Up a Child" (1841/1853) will be shown along with the Hudson River School painter Eastman Johnson's "Negro Life at the South" (1870) from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and American frontier painter George Caleb Bingham's "The Jolly Flatboatmen" from the Terra Foundation. Crystal Bridges' "The Life of the Hunter: A Tight Fix" by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait returns to the museum from the Louvre as part of the exhibition.
The inclusion of the Dutch and Irish works are meant to give viewers an idea of the art that American genre painters had studied. The exhibition runs through Aug. 12, when it will travel to the High.
Using a framework of 180 LED-lit tubes, "Buckyball" is a representation of spherical carbon 60 molecules named for Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome. The 30-foot sculpture, which nests one molecule inside another, was programmed by Villareal to change colors. Commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, it was first exhibited by Mad. Sq. Art, the contemporary art program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, from Oct. 25, 2012, to Feb. 15, 2013.
From a Crystal Bridges news release:
For more than a decade, Villareal has been a pioneer in the merging of art and innovative light technology. Recently, the debut of the artist’s installation, The Bay Lights, on the San Francisco Bay Bridge received world-wide attention and acclaim. Villareal’s work often reduces forms to basic components — such as pixels or the ones and zeros found in binary code — to better understand their underlying structures and how they function. He then builds these fundamental elements into interactive light installations that move, change and grow into complex compositions in order to explore them on a larger scale.
Reclining couches (which Villareal calls "zero-gravity" benches) will surround the sculpture. Villareal will discuss his work at a public lecture from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 1 in the Great Hall. Register at the museum website.
Villareal's work is also included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y.
Eye Candy has been swamped with other duties at the Times and so is a bit late posting this news about the five acquisitions Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art recently announced. I posted the news about the Warhol ("Hammer and Sickle") and the Judd ("Untitled, 1989 (Bernstein 89 24)" but not about three other paintings from the first half of the 20th century: Max Weber's "Burlesque No. 1," an oil on canvas dated 1909, Agnes Pelton's "Sand Storm," oil, 1932; and Marvin Dorwart Cone's "Stone City Landscape," 1936, oil on canvas.
The Weber was purchased for $506,500 last November at Christie's auction house and the Cone for $752,500 last November at Sotheby's. "Sand Storm" was apparently purchased from Hirschl and Adler Galleries.
The Crystal Bridges press release on the works is on the jump.
A&E Feature / To-Do List / In Brief / Movie Reviews / Music Reviews / Theater Reviews / A&E News / Art Notes / Graham Gordy / Books / Media / Dining Reviews / Dining Guide / What's Cookin' / Calendar / The Televisionist / Movie Listings / Gallery Listings