There’s never much down time at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
As one temporary collection of works at the museum in Bentonville prepares to leave and another prepares to go on display, museum officials have announced the slate of exhibits that will be featured in 2018.
The popular and enchanting “Chihuly: In the Gallery” collection of elaborate blown glass art will have its last hurrah on Sunday (Aug. 14). It will be followed by the previously announced collection of works by Stuart Davis, which will be on display from Sept. 16 through Jan. 1 and span his entire 60-year career.
The museum on Tuesday announced the 2018 exhibit calendar, which will contain three exhibits that focus on art from black artists, Native American artists and the great American painter Georgie O’Keeffe. Each of the exhibits will tie back to works already in the permanent collection of the museum.
“Our 2018 exhibitions complement the story of American art shared through our permanent collection,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges’ Executive Director & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
The first of the three will be the U.S. debut and only one of two American stops for “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” The collection, organized by the Tate Modern, is currently on display at the London museum and will debut in Bentonville on Feb. 3. After its run at Crystal Bridges, the collection’s final U.S. stop will be at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.
“Soul of a Nation” explores the artwork of the Black Power movement and the Civil Rights era through paintings, murals, photographs and sculptures.
“Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting and confounding expectations,” Tate Modern says in its description of the exhibit.
Notable artists included in “Soul of a Nation” include Romare Bearden, Melvin Edwards, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Charles White, Alvin Loving, Alma Thomas, and Lorraine O’Grady.
The two temporary exhibits that follow are being assembled by Crystal Bridges curatorial staff and guest curators. Both of the exhibits are currently in progress and therefore have working titles. “Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art” debuts May 26 and “Native North America” opens Oct. 6. Both are expected to go on tour after their debut in Arkansas.
Crystal Bridges owns two important O’Keeffe works – “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” and “Radiator Building – Night, New York.” These works will be packaged with additional examples of O’Keeffe’s work and “artworks by a select group of emerging contemporary artists that evoke, investigate and expand upon O’Keeffe’s artistic legacy,” the museum says in a press release. The exhibit is a curatorial collaboration between Lauren Haynes, Curator of Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges, and Chad Alligood, formerly of Crystal Bridges but now chief curator of American art at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in California.
The final temporary exhibit of 2018 at Crystal Bridges explores the work of Native American artists. It too is a collaborate effort, curated by independent curator Candice Hopkins (Tlingit, citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation), Manuela Well-Off-Man, Chief Curator of the Institute of American Indian Art’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and Mindy Besaw, Crystal Bridges Curator of American Art.
These three exhibits, like other temporary and traveling exhibits at Crystal Bridges, will be ticketed, although any fees associated with those tickets have yet to be determined, says museum spokesperson Beth Bobbitt.
The museum is also expected to announce, as it has in the past, a series of “focused exhibitions” that pop up in response to interesting happenings in the museum. An example of such an exhibit is the current “Not to Scale: Highlights from the Fly’s Eye Dome Archive,” which adds context to the newly installed “Fly’s Eye Dome” by Buckminster Fuller. There are no tickets or fees associated with focused exhibitions.
Classes, tours and special events, such as Saturday night’s sold out closing party for the Chihuly Saturday Nights concert series, will be developed around the traveling exhibits.