Friday, February 17, 2012

Crystal Bridges

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.


  1. This looks like a fine museum. I was not even aware of it being as how it is new. That is not that far from Tulsa. Sue and I will have to make a day trip out of that. We enjoyed your coverage.

  2. Wow, Heather wanted to know if I wanted to take a trip on my birthday, this might be the place.

    Great post.

  3. Very nice indeed. I sure would love to spend the day here. How great that you have such a grand place to visit and enjoy. Awesome.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  4. I love a good museum. This looks like a good one.

  5. We took a family trip over there yesterday. I was very impressed, to say the least. Coming back and checking out your post again in preparation for my post I have to say you really captured the essence of the building with your photographs.