Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces three 2021 focus exhibitions and a new outdoor installation in the North Forest. The museum debuts This Is the Day on April 24, What I Know: Gifts from Gordon W. Bailey on June 26, Selena Forever / Siempre Selena, organized by the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX, on September 4, and the outdoor installation by artist Rashid Johnson titled The Bruising: For Jules, The Bird, Jack and Leni opens on May 15. All three exhibitions and the installation will be free to view.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” – Psalm 118:24 NIV
Throughout American history, the Black church has been a pillar of the community, a place for worship and organizing, a provider of spiritual and political leadership, and a target for terrorism and bombings. Above all, the Black church has endured, remaining resilient through both victories and losses.
This Is the Day brings together 24 artistic representations of Black faith and spirituality, including the work of Bruce Davidson, Faith Ringgold, and Arkansas-based photographer Aaron Turner, that illuminate the resilience of the Black church and the community it has served for more than 300 years. From depictions of joy to quiet moments of prayer to images of departure through funerals and terrorism, this focus exhibition displays the church’s significant role in Black history and culture that still endures today.
Artist Rashid Johnson combines influences of art, architecture, and nature in the North Forest this summer with a new, outdoor sculpture created specifically for Crystal Bridges. This unique, midnight-blue, 20 x 20 x 20-foot, living greenhouse titled The Bruising: For Jules, The Bird, Jack and Leni will include collaborations with artists, performers, and community members.
Johnson is known for using a range of everyday objects, including live plants, books, records, shea butter, black soap, and CB radios, that reference his childhood, and Black culture. The museum’s Trails and Grounds team worked with Johnson to identify a collection of native and non-native plants to be featured within this pyramidal structure. The season will open with Dutchman’s pipe, a caterpillar-attracting native plant. Tropical plants like monsteras, philodendrons, and ponytail palm trees will lavish in the rich summer sun. The flora will vary with the seasons and response patterns, resulting in an ever-changing, living sculpture.
The second level of the sculpture’s frame offers a scaffold stage for artists to perform from within the heart of the sculpture. Performances, such as sound, music, spoken word, poetry, dance, oratory, and more, can also be performed around the sculpture.
What I Know is an exhibition about knowledge featuring artworks created with a variety of media by Leroy Almon, Thornton Dial, Sam Doyle, Minnie Evans, Josephus Farmer, Roy Ferdinand, Bessie Harvey, Clementine Hunter, Joe Light, Ronald Lockett, Sister Gertrude Morgan, J.B. Murray, Sulton Rogers, Nellie Mae Rowe, Welmon Sharlhorne, Herbert Singleton, and Purvis Young.
The artists’ practices and intentions differ, still, whether moved by divine inspiration, sociopolitical observation, or an indelible memory, all of them imbued their impassioned works with wisdom gleaned from lives well lived, proclaiming: this is What I Know.
The artworks are recent gifts from the collection of advocate, scholar, and collector, Gordon W. Bailey. What I Know is the result of his ongoing collaboration with Crystal Bridges and reflects his decades-long advocacy on behalf of African American artists from the South.
Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Grammy award-winning artist Selena Quintanilla-Pérez became an international pop sensation, creating a legacy that has lasted far beyond her brief life. With her embellished bustier tops, high-waisted pants, and red lips―a look often imitated today―Selena’s image and fashion sense were as famous as her music, particularly in a genre dominated by men. This image was immortalized by renowned photographer John Dyer. Working collaboratively, Selena and Dyer crafted photographs that contributed to her enduring legacy over the course of two photoshoots in 1992 and 1994.
In Selena Forever / Siempre Selena, visitors can hear her music and enjoy a selection of nine photographs in which the singer shines. Whether visitors barely know her name or have listened to all her music, this exhibition provides a new appreciation for the pop star and the power of photography to shape an image.
Selena Forever/Siempre Selena was organized for the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, by Kate Carey, Head of Education.
The Bruising: For Jules, The Bird, Jack and Leni by Rashid Johnson is supported by Airways Freight Corp.
Selena Forever / Siempre Selena is supported by Tony Waller.