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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Unveils 2018 Exhibitions to include U.S. Debut of Soul of a Nation; O'Keeffe alongside Today’s Artists; and Contemporary Art through a Native North American Lens


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces its temporary exhibition schedule for 2018, which includes the U.S. debut of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, as well as Crystal Bridges-organized exhibitions, Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, and Native North America.

“Our 2018 exhibitions complement the story of American art shared through our permanent collection,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Executive Director & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.  “You can explore how American culture was shaped through Black artists of the 1960s through the -80s; the legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe alongside contemporary artists, and how we think about contemporary American art through the lens of Native artists. Crystal Bridges developed the latter two exhibitions to create an engaging experience for a wide-ranging audience, while furthering our collection-based research, and expanding Crystal Bridges’ role as a creator and collaborator in the field of American art.”


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

February 3 through April 23, 2018

During the rise of the Black Power movement, many Black artists were asking fundamental questions about their role: Should a work of art communicate a direct political message? Could it be abstract? What audience should be addressed? Is there a ‘Black art’ or a ‘Black aesthetic’?

Soul of a Nation—organized by the Tate Modern, London, and debuting in the U.S. at Crystal Bridges—is a look at how American culture was reshaped through the work of Black artists during the tumultuous 1960s, ‘70s, and early ‘80s. The exhibition features more than 150 artworks, beginning with works by the Spiral group, a New York-based collective who opened up questions regarding the role of artists in the Civil Rights movement. From there, the exhibition traces the impact of the growing Black Power movement on Black artists, and explores the many ways these artists worked to protest discrimination, rally people to their cause, and celebrate Black culture.

This landmark exhibition features artworks by more than 60 Black artists, including Romare Bearden, Melvin Edwards, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Charles White, Alvin Loving, Alma Thomas, and Lorraine O’Grady. The works encompass a wide range of styles and media, including painting, photography, fashion, sculpture, and mixed media work, as well as street art in the form of murals and posters by artists of the AfriCOBRA collective, the iconic graphic art created by Emory Douglas for The Black Panther newspaper, and Black feminist art. Soul of a Nation opens a window into the heart of the Black Power movement in all of its beauty, pride, power, and aspiration.

Crystal Bridges is one of only two American venues to host this important and eye-opening exhibition. Following its debut at Crystal Bridges, the exhibition travels to the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

This exhibition is organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, and Brooklyn Museum, New York. Curated at Crystal Bridges by Lauren Haynes, Curator, Contemporary Art; and Mark Godfrey, Senior Curator, International Art, and Zoe Whitley, Curator, International Art Tate Modern.


Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art (working title)

May 26 through September 3, 2018

Building on Crystal Bridges’ collection of significant works by Georgia O’Keeffe—including Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 and Radiator Building—Night, New York—the museum has brought together a selection of O’Keeffe’s most important works as the centerpiece of this unique exhibition. Alongside these iconic artworks by the mother of American Modernism, the exhibition features artworks by a select group of emerging contemporary artists that evoke, investigate, and expand upon O’Keeffe’s artistic legacy. This exhibition demonstrates the continuing power of O’Keeffe’s work as a touchstone for contemporary art.

This exhibition introduces viewers to a new generation of American artists, including Sharona Eliassaf, Monica Kim Garza, Loie Hollowell, Molly Larkey, and Matthew Ronay, and provides a fresh look at O’Keeffe through the lens of contemporary art. Several of O’Keeffe’s most-loved and important artworks feature themes prominent in the work of this group of emerging artists, including flowers, feminine forms, city and desert landscapes, and the delicate interplay between abstraction and realism.

Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and was curated by Lauren Haynes, Curator Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges; and Chad Alligood, Chief Curator of American Art, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

After its presentation at Crystal Bridges, the exhibition will travel to additional venues, to be announced at a later date. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalog including essays by exhibition curators and leading scholars.


Native North America (working title)

October 6, 2018, through January 7, 2019

For generations, Native North American artists have largely exhibited their work outside the mainstream of contemporary art. A new exhibition, organized by Crystal Bridges, aims to dissolve those boundaries and invite new dialogue on contemporary American art.Native North America is the first exhibition to chart the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the United States and Canada from the 1960s to the present. The exhibition presents some 75 works of art by important Native artists—such as Kay WalkingStick, Carl Beam, Fritz Scholder, Andrea Carlson, and Kent Monkman—and features works in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, photography, video, sculpture, sound, installation, and performance art.

Native North America offers Indigenous perspectives on land and history and takes on the politics surrounding the way Native peoples have been represented, challenging historical assumptions and biases about Indigenous art. Ultimately, Native North America is a call to action that radically expands the definition of American art and sets the tone for future consideration of the subject.

Native North America is organized by Crystal Bridges, and co-curated by independent curator Candice Hopkins (Tlingit, citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation), Manuela Well-Off-Man, Chief Curator of the Institute of American Indian Art’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and Crystal Bridges Curator of American Art, Mindy Besaw.

After its presentation at Crystal Bridges, the exhibition will travel to additional venues, to be announced at a later date. The exhibition will be accompanied by a multi-author catalog that will offer a comprehensive consideration of contemporary Native North American art and feature new essays by art historians, cultural critics, and artists, as well as excerpts from key texts from the last 50 years of scholarship and criticism.

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