Skip to main content

The Light Fantastic

Exhibition
Early American Gallery
FREE
No Ticket Required
image titled “total eclipse of the sun” has a solid black circle at center with rings and rays of lights flaring out from behind it
Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, Total Eclipse of the Sun, Armstrong & Company (lithographer), 1882, chromolithograph, 27 1/2 × 37 3/4 in., plate: 21 × 28 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2006.48.3.

Light is essential to art, even in its absence. The scientific, mysterious, and material qualities of it have inspired artists for centuries. Light shapes how artists and viewers alike understand color, form, and composition.

In The Light Fantastic, the works of 27 artists from the nineteenth century to today are displayed alongside one another as a meditation on light, featured in painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography. Look closely at photographs by Carrie Mae Weems and Gregory Crewdson alongside abstract, poetic interpretations of light by Jen Stark, Dale Chihuly, and Agnes Pelton. Discover how local community members use light in their own work, and consider how the lighting of the gallery affects perceptions of the exhibition. 

In this free, focus exhibition at Crystal Bridges, enjoy the power of art and get ready to trip The Light Fantastic.

Light Caution symbol

Some artworks in this exhibition contain flashing light effects. Signage will indicate where these artworks are located. Viewing discretion is advised for visitors with photosensitive epilepsy or sensitivity to visual light stimulation.

Dale Chihuly/James Carpenter, Neon sculpture, 1969-1971, hand-blown colored glass, neon, argon, and electrical components, 13 x 36 x 21 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2012.21.
black-and-white photograph of a black woman standing behind a kitchen table underneath a lamp suspended from the ceiling
Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (Woman standing), from the series The Kitchen Table, 1990, printed 2015, gelatin silver print, 28 1/4 × 28 1/4 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2015.24.3.
image titled “total eclipse of the sun” has a solid black circle at center with rings and rays of lights flaring out from behind it
Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, Total Eclipse of the Sun, Armstrong & Company (lithographer), 1882, chromolithograph, 27 1/2 × 37 3/4 in., plate: 21 × 28 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2006.48.3.