ARTNews on Crystal Bridges | Rock Candy

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

ARTNews on Crystal Bridges

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 11:32 AM

I should have posted this ARTNews article about Crystal Bridges sooner, but better late than never. Author Patricia Failing has done the best job so far, I think, writing about the art in the collection, but then she is a professor of arts history at the University of Washington at Seattle and not a glib reporter who writes from a more limited arts background, like yours truly. Failing has made one teeny error, however — she identified the Arkansas Times as a supporter of the Walton Family. As all Times readers know, that's hardly the case. No matter. I must admit to being thrilled to see something I've written, teeny sentence though it is, quoted in ARTNews!

Failing's views:

Hartley’s 1940 Madawaska—Arcadian Light—Heavy, a portrait of a young boxer with glowing nipples, is especially arresting and well displayed. Crystal Bridges founding curator Chris Crosman’s description of the painting is not coy about its homoerotic allure: the painting, he writes, “reveals Hartley’s full-blown embrace of homosexual desires that up to this point had remained hidden in stylized imagery, encoded in mystical symbols, or subsumed in representations of nature’s heaving rhythms.” ... The early-20th-century room wraps up with a 1936—37 Arshile Gorky still life, which could have been hung in the modern-and-contemporary gallery with an early ho-hum Pollock and a 1946 psuedo-Surrealist painting by David Smith. ... The most ambitious is “Wonder World,” a survey of approaches to “realism” by contemporary artists. Assembled by curatorial director David Houston, formerly chief curator at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, the show is both witty and routine—Dan Flavin versus photorealist Richard Estes. This exhibition subverts conventional wisdom about the museum’s collection with several artworks, including a John Baldessari sound sculpture, Nam June Paik’s multimedia portrait of John Cage, an inlaid wood installation by Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Roxy Paine’s steel-and-plastic Bad Lawn, Al Souza’s fantastic jigsaw-puzzle collage, and holograms by James Turrell, who was also commissioned to create one of his “skyspaces” for the museum.

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