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Crystal Bridges Announces 2014 Exhibitions: Masters of Modernism, Portraits from the Revolution and a Contemporary Art Exploration

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will offer a diverse group of temporary exhibitions for 2014. Highlights include a traveling exhibition of American and European masters of Modernism, the third installment in an ongoing series of exhibitions in collaboration with partners in the U.S. and abroad, and a ground-breaking exhibition of contemporary American art.

At First Sight: Collecting the American Watercolor

January 18 through April 21, 2014
Every art collector has a first love. For Crystal Bridges’ founder and board chairwoman Alice Walton, it was watercolor painting that initially drew her attention. At First Sight offers a glimpse into how her early interest in watercolor grew into a lifelong love of art.

Making watercolor paintings has brought Walton great joy over the years, and it also contributed to her deep appreciation for the work of professional artists. Her initial interest in collecting watercolors grew into a fascination with American art, which soon inspired her to collect works by American artists in many media. At First Sight: Collecting the American Watercolor offers the rare opportunity to view some of the paintings that sparked Walton’s earliest collecting interests, including works by Thomas Hart Benton, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Like all artworks on paper, these paintings and drawings are only on view for a short time, as their exposure to light must be limited. With this in mind, Crystal Bridges is honored to share with our guests this very personal collection of artwork on loan from Ms. Walton. Exhibited in the museum’s permanent collection galleries, there is no cost to view At First Sight.

Edward Hopper: Journey to Blackwell’s Island

January 18 through April 21, 2014
Recently added to Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection, Edward Hopper’s Blackwell’s Island offers a distant view of the architecture of what is now known as Roosevelt Island in New York. Glimpse into Hopper’s process in creating his quiet, powerful scenes by viewing the artist’s preliminary sketches (a series of four on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art), and comparing the finished painting to Hopper’s watercolors of other familiar landscapes. Exhibited in the museum’s permanent collection galleries, there is no cost to view these works.

Born of Fire: Ceramic Art in Regional Collections

February 1, 2014, through March 2, 2015
Clay is one of humanity’s oldest building materials. A ball of humble clay, fashioned by human hands and hardened by fire, can be transformed into something as workaday as a terra cotta flower pot or as exalted as a bone china cup made of porcelain so thin as to be translucent. Today’s clay artists are constantly innovating with new techniques and expressions, but the process of crafting vessels of clay remains essentially unchanged over millennia.

Born of Fire is a year-long exhibition that explores some of the many incarnations of ceramic fabrication: from traditional Native American vessels to highly decorated 17th-century Japanese porcelain meant for European trade, to delicate, stylized contemporary works that explore the limits of the medium. The works are on loan from three institutions in our region: the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock; the Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO; and the Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Born of Fire will be on display in Crystal Bridges’ Great Hall Corridor through March 2, 2015; there is no cost to view this exhibition.

The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism

March 15 through July 7, 2014
The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism features selections from the extraordinary private collection of William S. Paley, the late founder and guiding spirit of CBS. The exhibition features more than 60 works of art, including paintings, drawings and sculpture, some of the most striking by French modern masters. Highlights include works by Paul Gauguin, André Derain, Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, and Edgar Degas, most created between 1880 and 1940, at the height of French Modernism, as well as Pablo Picasso’s Boy Leading a Horse.

Paley was the charismatic entrepreneur who virtually invented CBS. He was also an unusually active trustee at the Museum of Modern Art, joining its board in 1937, when the museum was only eight years old, and rising through its ranks to become president and then chairman. Paley began buying art in the mid-1930s and he continued to do so into the early 1970s. Upon his death in 1990 at the age of 89, Paley willed his entire collection to the museum.

At Crystal Bridges, The Paley Collection complements the earlier exhibition of modern works shared with Fisk University, The Artists’ Eye: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, and presents a rare opportunity for guests to view these masters of European Modernism that inspired many American artists. This exhibition was organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Crystal Bridges will be the last venue to offer this special temporary exhibition before it returns to MoMA. Admission is $8 for adults. Admission to all temporary exhibitions is free for Crystal Bridges members and for youth ages 18 and under.

American Encounters: Anglo-American Portraiture in an Age of Revolution

May 17 through September 15, 2014
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Musée du Louvre, the High Museum of Art and the Terra Foundation for American Art have announced the third installation in their four-year collaboration focusing on the history of American art. American Encounters: Anglo-American Portraiture in an Era of Revolution provides a close look at five paintings that demonstrate how portraiture evolved in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as American and European painters were influenced by one another. The installation’s five works have never been displayed together previously.

Following its inaugural presentation at the Louvre (Feb. 1–April 28, 2014), the installation will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (May 17–Sept. 15, 2014), and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga. (Sept. 28, 2014–Jan. 18, 2015).

Three of the portraits in the exhibition depict George Washington, and the others show Hugh Percy, Second Duke of Northumberland; and Lieutenant Robert Hay of Spott—both of whom were soldiers who may have fought against Washington in the Revolutionary War. The relationship between these works indicates that Britain and the U.S. were as connected through art during the period of the Revolutionary War as they were through commerce and politics.

Exhibited in the museum’s permanent collection galleries, there is no cost to view American Encounters.

Selections from Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie

May 31 through September 1, 2014
Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie explores the renowned architect’s structures and the philosophy that shapes them. Featured in the exhibition are more than 100 objects, including drawings, sketches, videos, photographs and scale models, which will be on display at Crystal Bridges during the summer of 2014. The exhibition surveys Safdie’s career from his formative period in the 1960s and early 1970s to his more recent projects around the world, exploring his masterful use of light and geometry and his inspired architectural conversation with the history and landscape of each site.

Global Citizen examines Safdie’s architecture not only as visual art but as a medium for advancing social, political and cultural goals. Safdie’s designs exemplify “progressive contextualism”— a way of thinking globally about building. His works combine the social activism and advanced technologies of modernism with a profound respect for historical and regional context.

Organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now

September 13, 2014, through January 5, 2015
State of the Art is the culmination of a year-long process that began with a focus on some 10,000 American artists and included more than 1,200 hours of in-studio interviews and thousands of miles logged by the curators conducting the primary research. The result of this unprecedented journey is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that draws from every region of the United States and offers an unusually diverse and nuanced look at today’s American culture through the work of more than 100 contemporary artists.

The exhibition showcases contemporary work in a context that includes Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection in order to offer guests an experience connecting past to present. All art was contemporary at the time it was made. By nature, each artwork reflects the time and place in which it was created. Although today’s artists are creating works in new ways, about new subjects, and for a contemporary audience, the work is still a reflection of the world we live in, it still sparks discussion and debate, and it’s still an endless source of discovery. Because it’s contemporary, it’s also in a visual “language” that should be accessible to everyone—and it’s about issues that matter today.

This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to explore how today’s artists from across the country are connecting with the past, with us, and with today’s major issues. State of the Art will inspire conversation, broaden perspective, and facilitate dialogue on the issues most important to us—as a nation, as artists, and as a world.

Admission to State of the Art is sponsored by Walmart and Sam’s Club.