Skip to main content

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Announces the 2021 Exhibition Lineup and Updates for the 2020 Schedule

*Edited on 8/27/20 to reflect exhibition schedule changes

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces the 2021 temporary exhibition schedule which includes the Crystal Bridges-organized exhibitions Crafting America and In American Waters, along with Diego Rivera’s America Crystal Bridges: The First Decade. The museum also announces updates to the 2020 schedule including Ansel Adams: In Our Time, and a focus exhibition, Companion Species.

The museum is open to the public with new safety measures. Timed ticket reservations are available and walk-ups welcome as space allows. Learn more HERE.

“We are excited to tell diverse, inclusive stories about American art through these ambitious exhibitions,” said Austen Barron Bailly, chief curator, Crystal Bridges. “The through line with these exhibitions is how artists explore the idea of America. Whether we’re marveling at the skill and individuality of craft through the work of Ruth Asawa, Jeffrey Gibson, and many other talented artists, looking at history through the eyes of renowned artists such as Diego Rivera, or questioning what it means to be ‘in American waters’ through paintings by William Trost Richards, Georgia O’Keeffe or Amy Sherald among many others, we are offering fresh perspectives and expanding ideas about American art.”

2021 Exhibition Lineup

Crafting America

February 6 through May 31, 2021

High res images are available to download here.

Crafting America, a new exhibition developed by Crystal Bridges, celebrates the skill and individuality of craft within the broad context of American art. From jewelry to furniture to sculptures and even a custom electric guitar designed for Prince, this exhibition is dazzling and full of surprises.

Featuring over 100 works in ceramics, fiber, wood, metal, glass, and more unexpected materials, Crafting America presents a diverse and inclusive story of American craft from the 1940s to today, highlighting the work of artists such as Ruth Asawa, Peter Voulkos, Jeffrey Gibson, Sonya Clark, and more. Craft has long been a realm accessible to the broadest range of individuals, providing an opportunity to explore personal creativity, innovation, and technical skill. This exhibition foregrounds varied backgrounds and perspectives in craft, from the vital contributions of Indigenous artists to the new skills and points of view brought by immigrants to the United States.

Developed by Jen Padgett, associate curator at Crystal Bridges, and Glenn Adamson, guest curator and scholar of craft, design history, and contemporary art, Crafting America asserts craft’s integral role in expanding the story of American art. The exhibition is accompanied by a major multi-author illustrated publication published by Crystal Bridges and the University of Arkansas Press.

Diego Rivera’s America

June 19 through September 27, 2021 March – July 2023

Due to COVID-19-related challenges, several changes have been made to the exhibition line-up including moving the Diego Rivera show to 2023.

Crystal Bridges: The First Decade (working title)

July 10 through September 27, 2021

On November 11, 2011, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened its doors for the first time. Over the course of a decade, the museum has greeted over five million visitors from all over the world to enjoy world-class art, architecture, and nature. 2021 marks a decade since Crystal Bridges opened, and the museum is recognizing this milestone with a new exhibition celebrating its collection and community. Crystal Bridges: The First Decade will highlight the museum’s art collection and engage artists and the Northwest Arkansas community in unexpected ways while the exhibition is on view.

The exhibition features 10 distinct experiences inviting visitors to see 40+ works of art from the Crystal Bridges collection, spanning the nineteenth century to the present, and explore these works through a range of engaging, creative approaches. “Step into” Maxfield Parrish’s The Lantern Bearers with an immersive tableau vivant. See self-portraits by local students presented side-by-side with artist self-portraits from the collection. Watch an artist create a new artwork in the galleries.  Experience nature indoors in an immersive installation merging art and nature. Revisit artworks from past exhibitions organized by Crystal Bridges, juxtaposed to tell new stories, and so much more. In a spectacular celebration of art brought to life from voices both within and beyond the museum, Crystal Bridges: The First Decade will revel in Crystal Bridges’ first 10 years and set the precedent for the decade to come.

Crystal Bridges: The First Decade is curated by Mindy Besaw, curator, American art and director of fellowships and research, and Lauren Haynes, director of artist initiatives and curator, contemporary art at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary.

In American Waters (working title)

November 6, 2021 through January 31, 2022

High res images are available to download here.

For over 200 years, artists have been inspired to capture the beauty, violence, poetry, and transformative power of the sea in American life. Oceans play a key role in American society no matter where we live, and still today, the sea continues to inspire painters to capture its mystery and power.

In American Waters is a new exhibition organized by Crystal Bridges and Peabody Essex Museum in which the marine painting is revealed to be so much more than ship portraits. Visitors will be transported across time and water on the wave of a diverse range of modern and historical artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Amy Sherald, Kay WalkingStick, Norman Rockwell, Hale Woodruff, Paul Cadmus, Thomas Hart Benton, Winslow Homer, Jacob Lawrence, Valerie Hegarty, Stuart Davis, and many more. In this exhibition, visitors will also discover the sea as an expansive way to reflect on American culture and environment, learn how coastal and maritime symbols moved inland across the United States, and question what it means to be “in American waters.”

In American Waters is co-created by Austen Bailly, chief curator, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Daniel Finamore, The Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The exhibition will debut at Peabody Essex Museum on May 29, 2021 and is accompanied by a major multi-author illustrated publication published by Crystal Bridges and the University of Arkansas Press.

New 2020 Exhibition Schedule

Ansel Adams: In Our Time will open at Crystal Bridges on Saturday, September 19. It will be on view through January 3, 2021.

High-res images are available to download here.

In this exhibition, visitors will discover more than 100 of Adams’s most iconic works like never before, displayed alongside nineteenth-century photographers and 24 of his contemporary successors including Mark Klett, Trevor Paglen, Catherine Opie, Will Wilson, Abelardo Morell, Victoria Sambunaris, and Binh Danh, whose modern-day environmental concerns point directly to Adams’s legacy.

Focus Exhibition: Companion Species

November 21, 2020 through May 31, 2021

High-res image is available to download here.

Companion Species is a new focus exhibition and collaborative project that takes inspiration from the recent Crystal Bridges acquisition, Companion Species: Speech Bubble by Marie Watt (Seneca). In the spirit of Watt, who embraces community and connectedness at the heart of her artwork, the exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Museum of Native American History (MONAH) in Bentonville, and will be presented across the two museum sites.

In the spirit of interconnections and cross-cultural exchange, artwork by Native and non-Native artists from across time and media will be shown in dialogue with Watt’s Companion Species. Art by Louise Bourgeois, Kristen Cliffel, Laurel Roth Hope, Joseph Stella, William Holbrook Beard, and recent acquisitions by artists Harry Fonseca, Ma Pe Wi, Woody Crumbo, and new acquisitions from the Bruce Hartman collection will be featured with artworks from MONAH. Artworks will also be featured at MONAH in conversation with their collection. Together, the art tells stories and celebrates the web of relationships between humans, animals, and nature. After its run at Crystal Bridges, this focus exhibition will travel to other museums with support from Art Bridges.

2021 exhibitions and visual arts projects at the Momentary, our new satellite contemporary art space, will be announced at a later date. Get a glimpse at the Momentary’s 2020 visual arts schedule here.

For a complete list of current exhibitions, visit here. For news updates, follow Crystal Bridges on the Blog, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Crafting America is sponsored by Windgate Charitable Foundation and Morris Foundation, Inc. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Diego Rivera’s America is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

In American Waters is co-organized by Crystal Bridges and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.

Ansel Adams: In Our Time is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Sponsored at Crystal Bridges by The Coca-Cola Company, Stout Executive Search, ConAgra Brands, Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc., Harrison and Rhonda French Family, Micky and Marybeth Mayfield, Donna and Mack McLarty, Mark McLarty, Catherine and Stephan Roche, Lamar and Shari Steiger, Mark and Diane Simmons, Rebecca Hurst and Jim Smith | Smith Hurst, PLC, Jim and Susan von Gremp, Galen, Debi, and Alice Havner, Jeremy L. Goldstein, and Dewitt and Cindy Smith.

Companion Species is sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art and Micky and Marybeth Mayfield.

About Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Since opening in 2011, the museum has welcomed 4.9 million visitors, with no cost for admission. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from colonial to current day and is enhanced by temporary exhibitions. The museum is nestled on 120 acres of Ozark landscape and was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A rare Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house was preserved and relocated to the museum grounds in 2015. Crystal Bridges offers public programs including lectures, performances, classes, and teacher development opportunities. Some 265,000 school children have participated in the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost to the schools. Additional museum amenities include a restaurant, gift store, library, and 5 miles of art and walking trails. In February 2020, the museum opened a satellite contemporary art space in downtown Bentonville called the Momentary (507 SE E Street). For more information, visit The museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.