I'll go ahead and say it - it's colder than a witch's titty in a brass bra! I read where it's warmer in Siberia than it is in Tennessee. That means we need to find things to do inside, like blog about warmer times and controversy. Not long ago I ventured into Northwest Arkansas. While there I visited a little chic district called Bentonville where Walmart is headquartered. Yes, I just used "Walmart" and "chic" in the same sentence. I went there because an art collection from Nashville was making it's debut at Crystal Bridges Museum of America Art. Crystal Bridges is the brainchild of Alice Walton, Walmart heir and my favorite Walton. She's sassy, a little bit of trouble, and she has balls! Oh, and she's the third richest woman in the world who I've seen call the Hogs at a U of A football game. Opening this museum caused a big stink in the art world but Alice wasn't deterred. She doesn't much care what the ivory tower art world thinks and she continues to acquisition some of the most important America art for the museum, bless her.
I have so say, it's an awesome sight!
The collection I went to see is the Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz collection that has been housed at Fisk University in Nashville since 1949 when O'Keeffe donated it to the university in honor of her husband, Stieglitz. Most of us didn't know it was there until the university tried to sell it a few years ago and angered the O'Keeffe people.
I have a great admiration for Georgia O'Keeffe, so much so I named my daughter after her. Only two of her works hang in the exhibit.
Other artists works that are in the collection: Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Auguste-Pierre Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and Arthur Dove.
The work was apparently hung under the guidelines O'Keeffe set out and I guess pink walls were big in 1949.
The rest of the museum didn't disappoint. It's very well organized without any dead-ends you have to maneuver. It makes one big circle. The museum staff were super friendly (like everyone I met in Arkansas) and knowledgeable.
There's a little Tennessee wherever I go!
The Stieglitz Collection is scheduled to leave Crystal Bridges in February. I was told it was to go back to the Fisk but according to the university website it's not going to return until 2016.
Crystal Bridges isn't the only attraction in Bentonville. When you drive that far you have to have an equally artistic place to stay and that is the 21C Museum Hotel.
It's a crazy cool place. Part art museum, part boutique hotel, part civic center.
I didn't even have to miss my dogs.
These were swiped!
Green penguins turn up everywhere.
It houses a great restaurant, The Hive.
It was certainly not what I was expecting for Bentonville.
25 Minute Egg with kale, tasso, and pearl barley. The egg bursts and makes the dressing! I could eat this everyday.
I can't resist cookies for dessert.
They even gave me cotton candy to share with my dinner date.
He was the perfect dinner partner. Such a good listener!
The next morning I took a turn around the downtown square.
That took all of about 10 minutes.
No square is complete without a salute to the Confederate solder.
And a Walmart.
Not everyone was impressed with all the new goings on in Bentonville.
This young gentleman saw me with my camera and asked me what I was doing. When I told him I was a photographer and I was there to visit the museum and write about his town, he seemed perplexed. "What is going on here that would make you drive all the way from Nashville? I would rather be there than here. There's nothing here."
I was going to get all preachy and say, "Don't you realize what you have just a few blocks from where you're standing?" but I stopped. I could have seen the same artwork when it was just a few blocks from me in Nashville, but I didn't appreciate it when was there. I had to drive across an entire state to see it. We were both guilty of the same thing; not noticing the things right under our noses.
The Artists' Eye is at the Crystal Bridges Museum until February 3rd.
Check out the 21C Museum Hotel
And make reservations at The Hive.