a crystal bridge too far

a trip to crystal bridges – 3 of 3
bentonville, arkansas

who buys books of suburban decay? no one. but everyone looks at photo galleries of dead malls. people stopped going to malls because everything’s online including those galleries of the photos of dead malls. people still go to walmart.

in the eighties the nearest wal-mart entered the area. it was dirtier than the target and had a lesser toy section; that’s what I remember anyway. in the nineties it relocated down the street to a new shopping center sprung out of what was an a school book depository. in the aughts when that lease was up, it moved to a newer development down the street that was whatever it was before. the first center dwindled. it’s now home to a cigarette shop, a rub n tug, and not much else. the nineties location is hanging on with a rotation of tenants at about 60% occupancy, though the quality of stores and customer traffic has dwindled significantly. America: newer boxes further away from the older boxes.

alice used her money from the boxes to buy art. and why wouldn’t she? she’s a walton. she can spend her money on whatever she wants and if alice walton wants to open a world class art museum she will, and she’ll make it with more love and wonder than any of the stores that bare her name

in the woods of bentonville, arkansas (home of walmart) stands crystal bridges museum of american art. a 217,000 square feet complex designed by moshe safdie. it opened on 11/november2011. buckminster fuller’s personal effects are in a room decorated with scribbles from his journals. a frank lloyd wright usonian house was moved here from new jersey. james turrell built a skyspace on a hill. the courtyard keeps a louise bourgeois maman on permanent desplay. the visitors sweet with a bit of well-even-i-could-paint-that-ers

other major art museums have old names on their donor wall. at crystal bridges, coca-cola is a major sponsor, think about that. on the tier below coke, you’ll find del-monte. the little informational stands along the wooded trails? sponsored by coleman. this may be our path and one day widespread commercial sponsorship of art will the thing. just imagine: “The Persistence of Memory, 1931. Brought to you by Timex and The Dali Corporation, a Unilever Company”

there’s so much criticism of walmart: predatory pricing, worker conditions, worker wages, union busting, censorship, dirty and poorly run stores, but the old mom and pop shops walmart ran out never opened art museums with james turrels… so yeah. 

listening to frida’s i know there’s something going on (1982)

one painting i noted was james henry beard’s “its very queer, isn’t it“. a smirking monkey in a chair holding a copy of darwin’s decent of man. the since appropriated “queer” in the title, leads the viewer to a perfect allusion of deeper meanings in today’s world only and in this particular setting no less.