Crystal Bridges is proud to feature several acclaimed, contemporary, female art legends in its collection, such as Kara Walker, Maya Lin, Yayoi Kusama, and more. Through their work, these women continue to challenge societal norms, pose thought-provoking questions, and make us see the world in a new light.
Keep scrolling to read about some of the living female art legends found in the Crystal Bridges collection.
Yayoi Kusama is, without question, one of the most famous female artists living today. The 90-year-old Japanese artist forged a career for herself in art from an early age, going against strict conservative societal norms. In the 1960s, with the encouragement of Georgia O’Keeffe, Kusama moved to New York City and began making a name for herself. Learn more about Yayoi Kusama here.
Since the 1960s, Kusama has been creating Infinity Mirror Rooms that provoke a sense of boundlessness and transcendence through extreme repetition. You can see her Infinity Mirrored Room–My Heart is Dancing into the Universe (2018) at Crystal Bridges! And starting tomorrow, October 2, the room will be open to the public for viewing. Click here to reserve tickets and learn more.
Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, artist Marina Abramovic has pioneered performance as a visual art form and has included crystal in many of her artworks. Active for over four decades, “her work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind.” Abramovic was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale.
While her crystal structure Standing Structure for Human Use (2018) can be found in the North Forest any time, she will also be featured in the upcoming exhibition, Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today and will be at Crystal Bridges for a Distinguished Speaker talk on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Get your tickets here.
Kara Walker is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, and filmmaker who explores race, gender, and identity in her work. In 1997, she was one of the youngest recipients of a MacArthur fellowship (28 years old), and in 2017, she was listed among Time Magazine‘s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World. Her work can be found in collections at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, MoCA in Los Angeles, and the Tate, where she is now opening a new exhibition.
Walker’s work in the Crystal Bridges collection, A Warm Summer Evening in 1863 (2008), is a reproduced etching from an 1863 issue of the newspaper Harper’s Weekly that documents the burning of a “colored orphan asylum.”
Vanessa German, born in 1976 in Wisconsin, is an acclaimed artist, sculptor, poet, performer, and activist living in Homewood, Pittsburgh. Covered in paint and plaster, she used to make her artwork on her front porch, and as the local Homewood children passed by, curious about what she was doing, they would ask if they could help her. German, instead, gave them the tools to be creative and encouraged them to make their own art. She founded Love on the Front Porch and ARThouse, an art initiative that advocates for the children to have a safe space to explore their artistic abilities away from neighborhood violence.
German made her Crystal Bridges debut in the 2014-2015 exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, after which several of her sculptures were acquired by Crystal Bridges, including Souvenir of Our Trip (2013).
Maya Lin is an American designer, architect, and artist who works in sculpture and land art. While still enrolled at Yale University at age 21, she achieved national recognition at the age of 21 when her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. won a national competition. It is considered one of the most influential memorials of the post-World War II period.
Lin’s sculpture, Silver Upper White River (2015), in Crystal Bridges’ Modern Art gallery, represents the upper portion of the White River, a major waterway which runs 722 miles through Arkansas and Missouri. The four lakes represented in the sculpture, from left to right, are Beaver Lake, located about 20 miles east of the museum and which serves as the source for drinking water in much of Northwest Arkansas, as well as Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo, and Bull Shoals. Lin’s choice of silver as the medium is due to the fact that when Europeans arrived originally in the Americas, there were so many fish in the streams that the reflections off their backs gave rise to the term “running silver.”
Nancy Rubins is an American sculptor and installation artist whose work primarily consists of found objects delicately bound into large-scale formations. Her sculptures include objects such as televisions, camping and construction trailers, hot water heaters, mattresses, airplane parts, rowboats, canoes, surfboards, and more.
Monochrome II (2010-2018), found in the North Forest, is a crowd-favorite artwork composed of recycled aluminum canoes and small boats, branching off a central column, creating an illusion that the canoes are frozen in time and space. Watch the video above to see Rubins on-site at Crystal Bridges during the sculpture’s installation.
See the work of these women and other female art legends at Crystal Bridges. Plan your trip today!