'Rosie the Riveter'
Richard Estes of Tulsa, Oklahoma, takes a long look at Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter” in the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Richard and I are high school and college classmates though we wound up graduating from different institutions in both cases. I was equally fascinated with the Normal Rockwell. My family was among the millions of Americans who eagerly anticipated the next Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas
Historically, we Arkies have been viewed down the nose of many pseudo-sophisticates as persons who have only been walking erect for the last four generations. Though some vestiges of that unfortunate and foolish notion linger, our sprinkling of six home-grown Fortune 500 companies has gone a long way to stamp out the last embers of that blaze of misinformation. Included in that list of six is the top of the food chain, Wal-Mart, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, which has taken on the appearance, in some sections of town, of a Dallas or an Atlanta.
This time my friend is phone photographing the Andy Warhol. We were attending an annual “get-together” of members of the class of 1956 from Fort Smith Senior High School, now known as “Northside High School,” at Crystal Bridges on October 24, 2014.
It is through the largess of Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, that Bentonville sports a planet-class art museum, The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Comments from visitors, including yours truly, include, “wow!” “you gotta see it,” “awesome,” and the likes.
It's a Secret.
This woman is about to poke her head through the hole to see the artwork inside. After she descended I told her that she would appear in this article and she was OK with it. I followed her visit to “the hole.” I was not disappointed. I will not reveal the contents lest I spoil the surprise for readers who will also do the head-poking in the exhibit.
On the famous and immediately recognizable scale, I saw original Audubons, an Andy Warhol, and pleasantly, the Norman Rockwell you see above. The museum is full to the brim of similar pleasant surprises. The current feature exhibit, “State of the Art: Discovering American Art,” ranges from pin-point realty to far-out abstract that even challenges my somewhat demented little pea-brain. I recommend it heartily. You’ll see something you like, and a lot of subtle, sometimes not-so-tongue-in-cheek works of art.
This piece gets my vote as “most unexpected.” It consists of a dozen evenly spaced box fans (they look like they came from Wal-Mart) attached to the wall. All of the fans are “on” and each one has a straw hat rotating on top of the fan grill. The lighting adds to the mystique. To this observer, the designer either was well grounded in physics or had a good friend so-imbued. How in the tunket they figured out that balancing act stymies my mental processes. I lingered at this one.
An Eclectic Collection
Here’s Richard again. This time we were leaving one of the museum wings holding an eclectic collection of paintings, mobiles, sculpture, and some objects d’ art that defy description — all of which I thoroughly enjoyed — some more than others.
Like a Buick '56
This “tree” sits squarely in the “front yard” of the museum. It has a “lean” to it, which means that it is not only a work of art but an example of some good engineering. My friends all wondered what the tree construction material happens to be. Nothing was decided, but it shines like a chrome bumper on a ’56 Buick. And that’s shiny.
If you get a chance, do yourself a favor and visit Crystal Bridges. Or do it deliberately. You will not be disappointed.
But wait, there's more —
I took the roads less traveled
as I motored to Bentonville.
Going and coming, I found barns,
abandoned homes, a neat vista or two,
all of which I faithfully recorded.
Find these images and commentary
at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind. Click,go, and enjoy.