Crystal Bridges Part I

 Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is the visionary behind the creation of this Museum, which opened in 2011.  This is a fabulous site, an unexpected treat, and impossible to cover in one day.  We arrived at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art just as they opened.  The weather was threatening and then it rained most of the day. 

 Visitors are greeted by this incredible 'tree' as they approach the Museum.  Sculpted by Roxy Paine, it is one of a series of hand sculpted stainless steel trees.  Paine is quoted, "I'm interested in taking entities that are organic and outside of the industrial realm, feeding them into an industrial system and seeing what results from that force-feeding."  My feeling was a simple "WOW"!

Visitors are greeted by this incredible 'tree' as they approach the Museum.  Sculpted by Roxy Paine, it is one of a series of hand sculpted stainless steel trees.  Paine is quoted, "I'm interested in taking entities that are organic and outside of the industrial realm, feeding them into an industrial system and seeing what results from that force-feeding."  My feeling was a simple "WOW"!

 Putting Tom in the photograph gives you a sense of scale.  We photographed the sculpture from many angles and in diverse light.  What fun!

Putting Tom in the photograph gives you a sense of scale.  We photographed the sculpture from many angles and in diverse light.  What fun!

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 One enters at the ground level, not even aware that the grounds of the Museum are below, in what might best be described as a hollow.  From the ground floor and out of the elevator window the view sets the visitor to realize that this is not going to be an ordinary museum experience.

One enters at the ground level, not even aware that the grounds of the Museum are below, in what might best be described as a hollow.  From the ground floor and out of the elevator window the view sets the visitor to realize that this is not going to be an ordinary museum experience.

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 The whole site is oriented to a guest's comfort.  Admission is free.  Parking was easy and there is a shuttle from parking to Museum.  There is even underground parking.

The whole site is oriented to a guest's comfort.  Admission is free.  Parking was easy and there is a shuttle from parking to Museum.  There is even underground parking.

 Before the rain started, we had an opportunity to appreciate the cohesiveness of the architecture and the site.  Water is an important element of Arkansas topography in this area.  

Before the rain started, we had an opportunity to appreciate the cohesiveness of the architecture and the site.  Water is an important element of Arkansas topography in this area.  

The vision for the design of the whole site was to give the illusion that the Museum was part of the landscape.  The roofs of the building rise to the a level with the ravine's edge, their lines extending the shape of the slope behind them.  The curved forms of the bridges mimic the rolling shapes of the Ozark hills.  A great deal of glass is used to provide natural light and give the guest some great views of the grounds.

 From a corner of the upstairs parking lot.

From a corner of the upstairs parking lot.

 The elevator tower.

The elevator tower.

 There are two 'bridges' that span water.  They each connect various galleries on both sides of the water that flows through the whole side.  This particular bridge was also a large restaurant.

There are two 'bridges' that span water.  They each connect various galleries on both sides of the water that flows through the whole side.  This particular bridge was also a large restaurant.

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Moshe Safdie was the architect for the whole site.  He is recognized for humanizing large scale projects by creating open spaces, gardens and views for everyone and integrating the project seamlessly into the fabric of the surrounding site.  He has received numerous awards and made significant contributions to education.  He is strongly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural philosophy and embraced E. Fay Jone's view of integration of outside and inside spaces (you can see Frey's architecture at Thorncrown shown in the Eureka Springs post) .

 The Museum is located in Bentonville, AK, not Venice as this image might suggest!

The Museum is located in Bentonville, AK, not Venice as this image might suggest!

 And rain, rain, rain it did.  All day!!  The weather changed our plans from a one day visit to a two day visit.

And rain, rain, rain it did.  All day!!  The weather changed our plans from a one day visit to a two day visit.

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 School children visiting the Museum filled the open spaces in a brief respite from rain.

School children visiting the Museum filled the open spaces in a brief respite from rain.

 This sculpture can be seen from the street as you approach Crystal Bridges.  This is ' Buckyball' , a light installation based on concepts of geometry, mathematical relationships and optical perception.  The shape is called a 'geodesic sphere' or Buckyball in reference to American architect Buckminster Fuller and his futuristic dome designs.  This sculpture was designed by Leo Villareal who, using a monumental scale, also explored the mathematical concept of self-similarity through the use of two identical nested spheres.  We were there during the day so we missed out on the light show that 180 LED tubes containing thousands of pixels provide at night.  The optical effects that are generated trigger neurological processes within the brain, such as our natural impulse to identify patterns and gather meaning from our external environment.  The zero gravity benches you see invite viewers to recline while enjoying this unique and complex art experience.  (Information from posted display at the site.)

This sculpture can be seen from the street as you approach Crystal Bridges.  This is 'Buckyball', a light installation based on concepts of geometry, mathematical relationships and optical perception.  The shape is called a 'geodesic sphere' or Buckyball in reference to American architect Buckminster Fuller and his futuristic dome designs.  This sculpture was designed by Leo Villareal who, using a monumental scale, also explored the mathematical concept of self-similarity through the use of two identical nested spheres.  We were there during the day so we missed out on the light show that 180 LED tubes containing thousands of pixels provide at night.  The optical effects that are generated trigger neurological processes within the brain, such as our natural impulse to identify patterns and gather meaning from our external environment.  The zero gravity benches you see invite viewers to recline while enjoying this unique and complex art experience.  (Information from posted display at the site.)

 The three of us really worked this opportunity.  It is much harder to line up the two spheres than you might imagine.  Pointing your camera towards the sky makes in very easy to blow out the image.  After a while I just wanted to recline in the recliners.  But, they were wet from all the rain!!!

The three of us really worked this opportunity.  It is much harder to line up the two spheres than you might imagine.  Pointing your camera towards the sky makes in very easy to blow out the image.  After a while I just wanted to recline in the recliners.  But, they were wet from all the rain!!!

 Only fitting to see this tree again.  It was the view we enjoyed both coming and going.

Only fitting to see this tree again.  It was the view we enjoyed both coming and going.

Up next, the inside of the Museum with a very small representation of American art and sculpture.