On Saturday, January 17th, 2015, I went to Crystal Bridges American Art Museum with some of my family. I have to say, I was so excited to go and on the way there I enjoyed the anticipation of going to a well known museum. I seriously enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Northwest Arkansas. I took many pictures of the climbing mountains, which I hope to use as source material.
One of the many images I got of the mountains on my way to the museum
So we get to the museum, enter the galleries. I'm ready! I head straight for the American landscape painters, whip out my pen and start taking notes. But, a minute or two in, a museum worker stops me and inquires, "Are you using a pen?" I am surprised, not realizing someone was getting my attention, but she was so nice and hands me a small pencil. I take it and continue taking notes. How I did not know you could not have pens in galleries is beyond me, it must have slipped my mind, I digress...
Thomas Moran, The View of the Catawissa in Autumn 1862
My favorite works from the American landscapes included a piece painted by Thomas Moran, Valley of the Catawissa in Autumn, from a landscape in Northern Pennsylvania. You might think, of course, its her homeland, well you can't shake the PA out of me. Also, it really was beautiful and incredibly detailed. My other favorites included a Thomas Cole, The Good Shepard, and a Bierstadt, Indian Encampment.
Beautiful Gallery Space of Crystal Bridges
As we moved throughout the galleries, it was beautiful moving into some of the glass and wood structured rooms. The light reflected from the water was beautiful, as was the wooded gardens on the opposite side, even in the dead of winter. I really hope to go sometime in the summer to be able to fully enjoy the gardens.
James Lavadour, Tiichum
The State of the Art exhibit was so encouraging! To see many different works in many different mediums by many living artists from the states was very enlightening. I connected with James Lavadour's work the most. His ability to apply paint to look like landscapes without being extremely representational is exactly what I want to channel in my work. Other works that I really appreciated include: Jimmy Baker's Arrangements 1-8; Gabriel Dawe Plexus No. 27; and A. Mary Kay Zenith. I enjoyed the entire exhibition, I could probably write much more about many other works, but this space and your attention do not allow.
One of the most annoying things I heard all day was some one said to either their child or someone else, "I don't think it means anything. It's just art." Oh man! If I knew who they were, I'd be saying something, but I didn't, instead I just wrote it down. Little side note: we need to teach children the importance and meaning behind art. Artists do what they do for a reason, and that is why it is important to take children to museums to experience artwork first hand. Also, it was family day at the museum, so I was really encouraged to see so many parents with so many children in tow. Good for them.
Cracker Barrel Time!
Finally we enjoyed a nice dinner at Cracker Barrel, before journeying back home. Gotta love relaxing days at art museums.
TL;DR: Crystal Bridges is really cool! I like James Lavadour, Jimmy Baker, Gabriel Dawe and A. Mary Kay's works. Also they have a State of the Art exhibition app, check it out. And Cracker Barrel is always a good road trip staple!