American Made, Playing Hookie (Part Two)

On Tuesday, I started telling you about the day I spent in Bentonville, Arkansas, playing hookie to see the “American Made” exhibit at Crystal Bridges. I showed you quilts and several other objects I enjoyed seeing. If you need to get caught up, go ahead and hop back to read about that. I’ll wait for you right here.

You’ve now seen some of the pieces I enjoyed in “American Made,” but I really enjoyed walking through all of the galleries. Today I am sharing a few things from the museum’s permanent collection (including the quilt made by Faith Ringgold for Maya Angelou), and my search for good coffee. Of course I was looking for coffee!

Every time I go to any museum, I find it interesting to see what particularly draws me that day. Sometimes it is the same pieces I’ve seen other days, we all have our favorites, right? But other times it’ll be something entirely different. This last time I visited, I especially enjoyed having time to take in “Anne Page,” but there were several other things too:

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Anne Page, Dennis Miller Bunker, 1887. This painting is always striking but I got to spend quite a bit of time with her this last time I visited.

 

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Closeup of Anne Page

There is also a plaster head entitled “Annie Page, by Augustus St. Gaudens in the museum’s collection. You can see a photo of it here.

There was a piece that is new to the museum’s collections too, a graphite, pen, and ink drawing by Charles White. I was fortunate to spend several minutes taking it in. I find it very touching.

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Mary, Don’t You Weep, Charles White, 1956. A new acquisiton for the museum.

 

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Such emotion

 

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I find it so interesting to get up close to work like this and try to understand what the artist did.

Another piece I hadn’t seen before was Dorothea Tanning’s work, “The Truth About Comets.” I was not familiar with her name at all, but there is some interesting stuff here. Although it is not listed on her site, Ms. Tanning died in 2012.

American Made
The Truth About Comets, Dorothea Tanning, 1945 (first time on view!)

The painting below fascinated me. It is so very precise and depicts a lonely winter landscape. I heard several people saying they found it sad, but I don’t necessarily agree.

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Daylight at Russell’s Corners, George Copeland Ault, 1944

 

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Sorry, I didn’t get a photo of the whole thing because I was focusing on Audubon’s technique here. The colors glowed. You can see a photo of the whole thing here

 

Since my phone battery then died, as phone batteries do, you will have to take my word for it that I finally got to see Faith Ringgold’s quilt, “Maya’s Quilt of Life,” made for Maya Angelou. It was commissioned by Oprah Winfrey and hung in Angelou’s home from 1989 until her death in 2014. The museum purchased it last summer for $461,000. The photo below is courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

American Made
Maya’s Quilt of Life, by Faith Ringgold, 1989. Acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics, 73×73 inches. Photo courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

While the items I’m showing you today are not part of “American Made,” they are no less American-made art. Crystal Bridges houses 500 years of art that celebrates the American spirit. It is a much-needed museum in this part of the world.

It was wonderful to get to wander with no constraints on my time and nobody to keep up with. It’s not that I’m antisocial, mind you, but sometimes it’s good just to be able to stop and look without distractions. There were quite a few people there, but I only came across one or two who were loud. That’s pretty good, don’t you think?

Since it’s been so hot out, I did not take time to walk any of the trails around the museum, that’s for another day. Crystal Bridges sits on 120 acres and boasts eight trails, from short and easy (1/4 mile, moderate slope) to short and moderate (1-1/2 miles, moderate slope). Yes, all short and easy but lovely just the same. But since the heat index was over 100 degrees F, I was definitely grateful for the air conditioning inside.

When I left the museum, I headed for downtown Bentonville, around the old town square. This is a fun part of town with lots of shops and restaurants. It’s also the home of The WalMart Museum and the five-and-dime store Sam Walton opened in 1951 which was, of course, the beginning of the WalMart empire. Speaking of American-made! While I don’t believe today’s WalMart is really much like what it started out as, I do believe that Sam Walton represented the American success story.

But I digress. I was in search of coffee. Yes, as always. I went to Onyx Coffee Lab #3, and from the moment I walked in the door, I knew it wasn’t a typical coffee shop. The decor is tough to describe, it’s sort of an edgy-retro vibe, with coffee as the obvious focus. This article by Zac Cadwalader gives a good feel for what it’s like. I just wanted coffee, iced, in a hurry. What I ended up with was a Nitro cold brew. “Nitro,” really? Yes, really. And cold, but no ice.

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Perfection.

Hot weather, great art, air-conditioning, and iced coffee. It made for a perfect day! Want to come along the next time I play hookie?

  • Wendy Tuma

    Sounds like a fun day, all in all. Was the nitro iced worth it, taste-wise? Just curious. Looks like a fun shop to stop at.

    • Lori East

      It was a good day. And yes, it was delicious!

  • Chloe

    Great photos: I LOVE the painting of Anne Page…. haunting. And “Daylight at Russell’s Corners” sad? Not a bit: just an incredibly striking composition and perfect atmosphere of snow hanging heavy in the sky: another masterpiece. Thank you for a great day out! xo

    • Lori East

      Oh, Chloe, I wish you could see Anne Page for real. Haunting is a great word…and she is commanding in her presence! Russell’s Corners was an intriguing painting. It was fun to listen to people’s reactions to it, but for me it was one of those that I would like to walk into and just hang around for a bit, if that makes sense?

      Thanks for coming along on my little adventure. Wish you could have been there for real!!

      • Chloe

        My dad is Canadian and there is a framed landscape very similar to this one hanging in my parents’ house: it always made me think of Canada and it had that same sense of waiting for snowy weather to arrive. I love how just with colour and structure such a peculiarly particular feeling can be so sharply evoked… Oh, we would have had such a great time! One day 🙂 xo

        • Lori East

          I so love that exact feeling, as if the air is pregnant with snow! I especially loved it when I lived in New England and we were expecting BIG storms, nor’easters and such, and predictions were for huge snowfalls. We do get that same sense here, but never actual FEET of snow. I might be an odd duck, but I LOVE winter.

          • Chloe

            Yes! I agree: but like you say, it has to be interesting winter, with real weather (and us living in an actual house too, with big log fires!).. growing up in English grey drizzle makes me crave drama too!

  • Ever read Leap by Terry Tempest Williams? She spent a year looking at, studying, conversing with Hieronymus Bosch’s medieval masterpiece The Garden of Delights. I’m like you, even when I visit museums with someone, I like to split up and reconvene, then split up again and so on. The landscape? I’m with you and Chloe – I don’t find it sad, I find it storied. I need to visit museums more often.

    • Lori East

      Thanks for the tip. I’ll look for Leap, haven’t read it yet, but it sounds fascinating!