A fellow librarian at Crystal Bridges tipped me off to check out the foreword in their brand new permanent collection catalogue which just arrived on my desk. I was already excited to get a peek at what was soon to be revealed down there in Bentonville, Arkansas, an unprecedented effort to collect the best works of American art and present them in a beautifully designed structure, harmonious with nature and clearly separate from the art worlds of the cosmopolitan coasts. News stories and New Yorker profiles have whetted my appetite for years now. The cover of the catalogue we received, which apparently is one of multiple designs, is a beautiful detail of Arthur Dove’s Moon and Sea II, (selected especially for us?). Flipping through to the foreword by Don Bacigalupi, director of Crystal Bridges, I see Duncan Phillips’s philosophy as a collector and museum director mirrored in the objectives of this brand new fellow institution:
The noted critic Robert Hughes once described the experience of visiting another museum founded by an extraordinary patron-collector, Duncan Phillips, as a “gift of intimacy and unhurried ease.” While we at Crystal Bridges welcome as many visitors as possible to this new museum nestled in the Ozark foothills, we want to ensure that the experience is like the gift that Hughes described: welcoming, special, and the opposite of rushed.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens November 11, 2011.