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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Debuts Two New Summer Exhibitions: Nature’s Nation and Color Field

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art presents Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment on view May 25 to September 9, 2019 and Color Field on view June 1 to September 30, 2019.

Summer exhibitions tickets include Nature’s Nation and Color Field and are $16 between June 1 and September 9. Nature’s Nation tickets will be $12 from May 25-31, and Color Field tickets will be $12 from September 11-30. Both exhibitions are free for members, youth ages 18 and under, and veterans. Visit the Summer at Crystal Bridges page to see the complete list of summer offerings.

Nature’s Nation
May 25 to September 9, 2019

Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment is a new exhibition developed by Princeton University Art Museum that examines American artists’ impact on shaping environmental understanding. The exhibition was co-curated by Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding Curator of American Art at the Princeton University of Art Museum, and Alan C. Braddock, Ralph H. Wark Associate Professor of Art History & American Studies, William & Mary. Featuring 100 artworks from 70 eminent US collections, and including masterworks of American art, this exhibition traces 300 years of evolving ideas about the natural world and our place within it. The paintings, photographs, sculptures, video, and Indigenous art in this exhibition compel us to consider our relationship to the environment and the human impact on the planet.

“Artists can truly help us reimagine our understanding of nature. Artists have long been inspired by nature and have used their art as a platform to call for preservation and bring awareness to environmental conditions,” said Mindy Besaw, curator at Crystal Bridges. “This exhibition is timely. Given the current global environmental challenges facing our planet, artists prompt us to consider what comes next. We hope that visitors will walk away with a deeper understanding of their relationship with nature and a desire to be stewards of our world.”

The exhibition is organized into three sections, unfolds in chronological order, and reflects changing attitudes toward the environment:

  • Artworks in the first section, The Order of Things, start in the 1700s and span into the early 1800s. This section reflects our early understanding of nature, placing humans at the top of the pyramid of life. Special topics in this section will explore Extinction, Portraiture, and Landscapes.
  • In the second section, Visualizing Human Impact, artists address far-reaching environmental consequences of settlement, industry, war, and urbanization with artwork from the mid-nineteenth through early twentieth centuries. Special topics include Urban Environments and the Buffalo as a Disappearing Icon.
  • The third section, Nature’s Vital Forms, features artwork from the twentieth century to today. The artists featured here use bold colors and abstract shapes to underscore the human role in nature as an issue of urgent practical, ethical, and visual concern.

Artists featured in this exhibition include Albert Bierstadt, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Willson Peale, Thomas Moran, Dorothea Lange, John James Audubon, Ansel Adams, Alexis Rockman, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Valerie Hegarty, Walton Ford, Ana Mendieta, Postcommodity, and more. Several Indigenous artists who were featured in Crystal Bridges’ 2018 exhibition Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now are also featured in Nature’s Nation, including Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Kent Monkman, and Cannupa Hanska Luger.

Nature’s Nation was on view at Princeton University Art Museum from October 13, 2018-January 6, 2019. It then traveled to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA (from February 2-May 5, 2019) and will conclude its tour at Crystal Bridges.

Color Field
June 1 to September 30, 2019

Color Field is an outdoor sculpture exhibition developed by Crystal Bridges associate curator of contemporary art Allison Glenn, featuring artists that employ lush colors and enlarged forms against the backdrop of the museum’s North Forest and select locations in the museum. Artists featured in the exhibition include Claire Helen Ashley, Sarah Braman, Jeffie Brewer, Assaf Evron, Sam Falls, Spencer Finch, TYPOE, Odili Donald Odita, Amanda Ross-Ho, and Jessica Stockholder.

Color Field invites visitors to interact with several of the sculptures. Sam Falls’s Untitled (Wind Chimes) consists of large, colorful chimes that visitors can move to activate sound. Odili Donald Odita is debuting a new work created specifically for this exhibition, called Negative Space, which consists of an installation of 13 flags on 20-foot flag poles, installed over a path so that visitors can walk underneath them. The design of the flags includes colors of the American flag, juxtaposed with the complementary colors of green, orange, and black.

In addition to the North Forest, Color Field artworks will be found in other locations around the museum. Assaf Evron’s Untitled (Backdrop for the Neubauer Collegium) will greet museum visitors in the main lobby courtyard. Claire Helen Ashley’s large, inflatable sculptures that invite viewers to gently touch them will be located in the Contemporary Art Gallery Courtyard and a corresponding corridor.

The exhibition’s title is a reference to color field painting, a mid-twentieth century form of abstraction that relies heavily on color and surfaces devoid of representation. There are several examples of this painting style that can be found in Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection including artworks by Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Mark Rothko, Alma Thomas, James Turrell, Donald Judd, and more.

Color Field embraces the intersection of art, architecture, and nature, inviting visitors to engage with outdoor sculpture in a new and exciting ways,” said Allison Glenn, Crystal Bridges associate curator of contemporary art. “This exhibition will also connect with works in our permanent collection, allowing visitors to dynamically learn about color field painting and color theory across the museum campus.”

The museum also offers exhibition elements, resources, and activities designed to provide access to engaging art experiences.

Nature’s Nation:

  • Artwork in Main Lobby: One of the artworks from Nature’s Nation will greet museum visitors in the main lobby. This artwork is a bright-yellow weather balloon titled N13: 3120’50.88″N; 10929’47.62″W, from Repellent Fence, an installation by the artist collective Postcommodity. The artists installed 24 of these across the United States-Mexico border in 2015 to comment on political boundaries and their environmental effects within the same terrain.
  • Material Focus Interpretives: Interactive panels, which include items that engage the senses, can be found in the exhibition. These panels focus on marble, silver, and turpentine, and examine the environmental impact of an artist’s choice of medium.
  • Family Guide: is available to use in the exhibition through pick-up and drop-off locations in the first and last sections. The guide offers discussion prompts and further examination of key themes and artworks that are suitable for families.
  • Ecology of an Exhibition: is a website, initially created by Princeton (the exhibition’s organizing institution), that allows visitors to see the environmental effects of staging a large exhibition. It has been updated to reflect information about Crystal Bridges. The website will be displayed on a touch screen in the gallery.
  • Reflection Area: a graphically-designed wall that offers visitors ways to take action on behalf of nature and the environment, featuring expertise from local people and organizations. Visitors are prompted to read the wall, find an issue that inspires them, and write a pledge on a chalk board on an adjacent wall. They can take a photo of this pledge and post it to social media with the hashtag #CBNaturesNation.
  • Catalog: A full-color catalog published by Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press accompanies the exhibition and offers the first broad ecocritical review of American art and examines the environmental contexts of practice from the colonial period to the present day. The catalog is also the 2019 Winner of the PROSE award by the Association of American Publishers in the Art Exhibitions category and the recipient of an Award of Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators.

Color Field:

  • Soundscapes: Arkansas-based composer Amos Cochran has created two companion soundscapes for Color Field. The works are meant to be listened to while walking through the exhibition and offer an additional layer of engagement with the artworks. Color Field Inside / Out is intended to start in the museum, while Color Field Outside / In starts in the North Forest. They are the same sounds presented in opposite order. Visitors can access the soundscapes by going to or downloading the museum apps, CB Outdoors and CB Museum, on their personal devices.
  • Color Blind Glasses: Just in time for the opening of Color Field, Crystal Bridges received 60 pairs of Color Blind glasses and is providing them in an effort to increase museum accessibility for our guests who are colorblind. The glasses were made by EnChroma and were given to Crystal Bridges thanks to support from Neff and Scarlett Basore. Glasses will be available for check-out at the front desk beginning June 1.


Exhibition Programs

The opening week includes the Nature’s Nation member preview on Friday, May 24. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Crystal Bridges is offering a full roster of programs inspired by both shows, including several Spotlight Talks and panel discussions with artists from both shows. The exhibition programs for Nature’s Nation include:

  • Member Preview » Nature’s Nation, Friday, May 24, 11 am to 9 pm
  • Opening Exhibition Lecture » Nature’s Nation, with artist Walton Ford and co-curators of the exhibition, Karl Kusserow and Alan C. Braddock,Friday, May 24, 7 to 8 pm
  • Aniwisvsgo’I » A Dance Performance by Maura Garcia, Sunday June 2 & Sunday June 9, 2-4 pm
  • Summer Camp » Art and Nature (Ages 6-7, Ages 8-10), June 10-14, 9 am to 12 pm
  • Adult Workshop » Moon Pod Sculpture Workshop with Craig Colorusso, Wednesday, June 12, 6 to 8:30 pm
  • Adult Workshop » Native Plants Watercolor Workshop with Leana Fischer, Wednesday, June 19, 6 to 8:30 pm
  • Summer Camp » In Our Nature (Ages 6-7, Ages 8-10), June 17-21, 9:30 am to 3 pm
  • Summer Campout » Friday, June 21 to Saturday, June 22, 6:30 pm to 10 am
  • Adult Workshop » Plein Air at Hobbs State Park, Sunday, June 23, 10 am to 3 pm
  • Adult Workshop » Bundle Dye Workshop with Hillfolk Textile Studio & Shop, Wednesday, June 26, 6 to 8:30 pm
  • Adult Workshop » Encaustic, Botanicals, & Inks with Stephanie Green, Sunday, July 14, 1-5 pm
  • Preschool Playdate » Nature’s Nation, Thursday, August 8, 11:30 am to 2 pm
  • Adult Workshop » Butterfly Painting with Tram Colwin, Sunday, August 11, 1 to 5 pm
  • Afterschool Art Class » Earth Art (Ages 5-12), Thursday, August 15, 22, 29, 4 to 5:30 pm
  • Homeschool Friday Fun » Nature’s Nation (Ages 5-12), Friday, August 16, 23, 30, 2-3:30pm
  • Spotlight Talk » Valerie Hegarty, artist, Friday, August 16, 7 to 8 pm
  • Spotlight Talk » Mierle Laderman Ukeles, artist, Wednesday, August 28, 7 to 8 pm

The exhibition programs for Color Field include:

  • Panel Discussion » Color Field, Friday, May 31, 7 to 8 pm
  • Color Field Film Series » The Wizard of Oz, Thursday, September 5, 8 to 10 pm
  • Meditation and Mindfulness » Untitled (Windchimes), Sam Falls, Monday, September 9, 1 – 2 pm
  • Afterschool Art Class » Colorific! (Ages 5-12), Thursday, September 12, 19, 26, 4 to 5:30 pm
  • Color Field Film Series » Fantasia, Thursday, September 12, 8 to 10 pm
  • Homeschool Friday Fun » Colorific! (Ages 5-12), Friday, September 13, 20, 27, 2 to 3:30 pm
  • Art by the Glass » Meditation Art with Matt Miller, Friday, September 13, 6 to 8 pm
  • Autumnal Equinox: A Color Field Performance Program » Saturday, September 21, 6:30 to 8:30 pm and Sunday, September 22, 2:30 to 4:30 pm
  • Art Night Out » Friday, September 27, 6:30 to 10 pm

Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment has been organized by the Princeton University Art Museum. Leadership support has been provided by Shelly and Tony Malkin; Annette Merle-Smith; Henry Luce Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Arts. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Nature’s Nation is sponsored by Coca-Cola, Cox Communications, NWA Democrat-Gazette, Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc., The Harrison and Rhonda French Family, Jim and Susan von Gremp, Galen, Debi, and Alice Havner, Highland, Adam D. Stolpen, and James and Emily Bost.

Color Field is sponsored by Airway’s Freight, Avis Bailey, and Charles and Shannon Holley.

To learn more about Nature’s Nation and Color Field, visit the Crystal Bridges website. For news updates, follow Crystal Bridges on the Blog,Facebook or Twitter #CBNaturesNation #CBColorField.