Northwest Arkansas is now the home of a world-class museum. That's right, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
is a world-class facility, designed by a world renowned architect and
housing a collection of world-class art. Click on the link to learn
more. Friday my wife and I paid our first visit to the facility and I
must say, I was very impressed. As an architect, there is a tendency to
sometimes dismiss the work of the "Starchitects" as impractical and
unrealistic. This tendency has merit in some cases, but not here. Moshe
Safdie has done a brilliant job in designing this facility as a place
to display American art. I am sure that some aspects of the design
don't work as well as one would like, but overall, the design is well a
crafted blend of concrete, wood, glass, and copper. If you are within
driving distance of Bentonville, Arkansas, you need to visit this unique
merger of art and architecture.
There is something about the design that reminds me of the work of Bruce Goff or the last period of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. The building is constructed around a couple of creek-fed ponds.
The blend of concrete, wood, copper, glass, and landscape is very well executed. Couple that with a beautiful site and the results are worth the visit.
Inside, the galleries continue the theme of wood, glass, and concrete. The copper is left to the exterior application. There are paintings and sculptures. That is an Alexander Calder sculpture in the middle of the photo. It's hard the decerne because it is very light, airy and almost a mobile.
There are sculptures of all shapes, sizes and periods of American art. You can spend an entire day in this place. We only spent about two and a half hours, none of which was spent in the outdoor sculpture gardens.
There are paintings that will take your breath away. I find this one simply fascinating. It is called "Lantern Bearers" and was done in the early 20th Century.
There are paintings of historical significance. There are two paintings of Washington that were done in the late 1700's. They are each about 6'x9'. It is hard to believe these works have survived so long.
This is a drawing of Geronimo, done in the very early 1900's. It is almost photographic in quality. Look at the character in that face! There were a number of drawings, sketches and photos of Indians that just may have been my favorite part of the museum. We will definitely be making a return trip. In fact, I believe that I will be purchasing a membership.