So it won’t be until November that I get to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s exhibit “State of the Art,” and by then it will have been reviewed by every publication in the free world. So I’m going to run the reviews other folks have written, starting with this one pointed out to me by my Fayetteville art maven friend: Glasstire’s “State of the Art at Crystal Bridges: Pure Pop for Now People.” Author Christina Rees writes that the massive show of works — selected by museum President Don Bacigalupi and curator Chad Alligood on their many-months-long pilgrimage through American art studios — is one of instantly accessible art, meant to be a “people pleaser.”
As the curators walked the press corps through the 19,000 square-feet devoted to the exhibition yesterday morning, my sense was that that no one needs to have taken a single art history class to “like” every piece in it—everything is instantly gettable. Even the nod to Donald Judd made out of box fans and straw hats by Detroit’s Hamilton Poe doesn’t need the Judd reference to charm what I imagine will be the thousands of school children and Branson-bound travelers who will tour the show.
Poe’s piece — the fans are turned on so the hats move — is hung close to where Judd’s “Specific Objects” stacked and lit boxes were installed, the maven tells me, in case the comparison with the late minimalist is instantly made.
Rees likes several pieces in particular — and I am with her every step of the way, especially John Salvest’s “Forever” installation and Vanessa L. German’s “protection” figures for children in dangerous neighborhoods. And about Jonathan Schipper’s “Slow Room” — by the time I’m at Crystal Bridges, the furniture should be one big pile of sticks. There’s video, though, so I won’t miss what the process looked like.