Sunday, February 9, 2014

Crystal Bridges Museum on quest to find undiscovered American artists

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, April 2013
Randy Kennedy reports in the New York Times today under the headline, "Seeking U.S. Art All Over the Map.  Just Check GPS."  Kennedy reports that the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, established through an endowment from Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, is planning a show for the fall of 2014 that "will inevitably be seen as a kind of heartland response to the Whitney Biennial."  To that end, Don Bacigalupi, the museum’s president, and Chad Alligood, a curator, have already "logged 50,000 miles visiting 500 artists in 30 states, and they ha[ve] almost 500 more artists to go."

 Kennedy provides this further context:  
The Whitney Biennial, the much-argued-about barometer of the country’s art, helped bring artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock and Jeff Koons to prominence. Hoping to make their own discoveries of that caliber, Ms. Walton’s emissaries have looked high and low, sometimes literally. 
Possum Trot, Arkansas, a few miles from Ponca and
perhaps not labeled on most GPS software/units. 
During a trip to Portland, Ore., Mr. Bacigalupi was invited to an artist’s dark basement where she showed him a sculpture resembling a coffin and he momentarily feared for his safety. He and Mr. Alligood, a Harvard-trained curator who grew up in rural Georgia, have ventured to places so small the GPS has given up (a farm near the unincorporated town of Ponca, Ark.). They have seen art on a goat farm, in a soap factory, in a defunct pie factory. 
Read other posts about Crystal Bridges here and here.  Read other posts about Ponca, Arkansas, here, and environs here and here.  The photo left is of Possum Trot, just a few miles from Ponca.  

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