For many months, I have looked forward to my visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, along with a group of Woodson Art Museum members.
This eagerly awaited visit occurred last Thursday, March 29, and in a word, it was awesome!
Without exception, my Crystal Bridges experiences exceeded my expectations . . . and I had set the bar high.
The Setting: it’s indescribably beautiful, as though the landscape existed to embrace the structures. The dogwoods, azaleas, and other flowering trees and shrubs were in full bloom, lending a magical vividness to the scenery.
The Welcome: Crystal Bridges Director Don Bacigalupi took time from his busy schedule to welcome our group. How special is that?! His introduction was gracious and heartfelt and greatly appreciated by all.
The Tour: Curator of American Art Kevin Murphy was our guide. His insights into the collection as well as installation nuances were eye openers that made this introductory tour exceptional.
The Collection: where to begin? From the Levy-Franks Colonial portraits and the Martin Johnson Heade “Gems of Brazil” – twelve of them! – to Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits and from a remarkable array of Marsden Hartley’s work to Claes Oldenburg’s Alphabet/Good Humor and Tom Uttech's Enassamishhinjijweian, every gallery provided an exceptional treat.
The Architecture: Moshe Safdie embraced the site and created a series of brilliant, connected structures that are intimate and serene as well as light-filled and exuberant. The materials are lush and sumptuous, providing a glorious, inviting environment in which to experience art.
The Grounds: beckoning trails encourage wandering that appeals to most all the senses. The sights, sounds, and smells create lasting impressions of native landscaping and thoughtfully sited sculpture.
In short, run – don’t walk and don’t wait – to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art!