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Thrills and Chills at Crystal Bridges

Captured on camera! The Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery!

Captured on camera! The Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery!

In honor of Halloween, we scared up some spooky stuff for you to ponder from Crystal Bridges’ collection. Hope this doesn’t keep you up at night….

Evan Penny "Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be, Variation #2" (detail), 2010 silicone, pigment, hair, fabric, and aluminum

Evan Penny
“Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be, Variation #2” (detail), 2010
silicone, pigment, hair, fabric, and aluminum

Evan Penny’s Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be, Variation #2

This one was easy.  There’s just something about this super-realistic oversized head that gives people the creeps.  How’d you like to be the Security Guard who had to check this guy’s gallery after hours?

Roxy Paine "Yield", 2011 stainless steel

Roxy Paine
“Yield,” 2011
stainless steel

Roxy Paine’s Yield

Paine identifies this sculpture as a “dendroid”: something tree-like, but not necessarily a tree.  It is beautiful in bright daylight, but spooky as all get-out under a stormy sky.

Marisol "Portrait of Martha Graham," 1977 Oil and pencil on wood and plaster

Marisol
“Portrait of Martha Graham,” 1977
Oil and pencil on wood and plaster

Marisol’s Portrait of Martha Graham

Marisol’s tribute to the great dancer and choreographer is distinctly disturbing with its rough-carved face and bound fingers. In fact, the work is meant to convey Graham’s steely gaze and professional toughness, despite the painful arthritis that plagued her as she grew older.

Danial Nord "state of the art," 2011 Recycled television backs, electronics, video projectors, DVD player, sound system, and mixed materials

Danial Nord
“state of the art,” 2011
Recycled television backs, electronics, video projectors, DVD player, sound system, and mixed materials

Danial Nord’s state of the art

What’s scarier than a beloved childhood icon gone wrong? This installation in the State of the Art exhibition is a bit overwhelming at first, and it takes a few minutes for your eyes to make sense of what is lying in the darkened room. The eerily chipper marshal music and disorienting lights can make you feel as if you’ve entered Mickey’s bad dream.  Read an interview with Danial Nord here.

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife 1885 Oil on canvas

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
“Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife,” 1885
Oil on canvas

John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife

Sargent has captured the author in a thoughtful moment with an expression that seems to indicate a guilty conscience.  Stevenson’s wife, draped in a gold-trimmed sari and positioned partly out of the frame, is creepy too.  In fact, there’s a great corollary between this painting ahd Stevenson’s famous scary tale, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  Read about it here.

This tree

This tree

This Tree

Seriously. It may not look like much in this picture, but this spooky, gnarly, witchy-looking old tree on the Tulip Tree Trail looks like it was sent straight from Halloween Central Casting.  I half expect it to reach out and grab me every time I have to walk past it.

George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925) "Return of the Useless," 1918 Oil on canvas

George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)
“Return of the Useless,” 1918
Oil on canvas

George Wesley Bellows’s Return of the Useless

This wrenching image of emaciated and ill Belgian civilians returning from forced labor in boxcars is scary enough on its own. But is made more chilling when you realize it was painted in 1918, and depicts atrocities that occurred during World War I, not World War II.  This grim image of soldiers herding humans out of boxcars foreshadows the horrible events of the Holocaust by more than 20 years.

Captured on camera! The Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery!

Captured on camera! The Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery!

The Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery

Last but not least, there’s the infamous Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery.  If you stand in just the right position, looking at Geri Melchers’s The Embroideress through the Plexiglass vitrine that houses the bust of Anne Page, a ghostly face appears to be looking over the shoulder of the woman in the painting.  In fact, it’s the reflection of Thomas Eakins’s portrait of The Art Student (James Wright) behind you. Or is it?

That’s it for now.  Hope we didn’t scare you too badly. Happy Halloween.

Linda DeBerry
Senior Copy Editor / Publications Manager

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