Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Announces New Developments for its State of the Art Exhibition

State of the Art II debuts in 2020 and State of the Art documentary airs nationally on PBS

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces the next chapter in the development of its State of the Art exhibition, including State of the Art II debuting in early 2020 at both Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, and a documentary film on the initial exhibition airing nationally on PBS this month.

State of the Art II in 2020

State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now was an exhibition based on a journey in which Crystal Bridges museum curators visited over 1,000 artists across the country, ultimately selecting 102 artists whose work had not yet been recognized on a national level to feature at the museum. The exhibition was on view at Crystal Bridges from September 14, 2014 to January 19, 2015. During that time, more than 175,000 visitors experienced this groundbreaking exhibition. After its opening at Crystal Bridges, the exhibition then traveled to the Minneapolis Institute of Art; Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN; The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; and the Frist Center of the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN.

Now, Crystal Bridges announces that State of the Art II will debut in early 2020 at Crystal Bridges as well as at the Momentary, its satellite contemporary arts venue under development in downtown Bentonville. State of the Art II will be the Momentary’s inaugural show.

Lauren Haynes, curator, contemporary art at Crystal Bridges and curator of visual arts at the Momentary, is developing the exhibition, along with Crystal Bridges curatorial team members Alejo Benedetti, assistant curator contemporary art, and Allison Glenn, associate curator of contemporary art.

Haynes, who joined Crystal Bridges in 2016, has developed numerous exhibitions for the museum, including the traveling exhibition The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, and served as the institutional curator for the US debut of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power. Prior to joining Crystal Bridges, Haynes spent nearly a decade at The Studio Museum in Harlem, during which time she curated dozens of exhibitions for the museum and contemporary art institutions in New York. Haynes is a recipient of a 2016 Gold Rush Award from Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and a 2018 Center for Curatorial Leadership fellow. She recently curated the Focus section at the 2019 Armory Show.

Benedetti curated the Men of Steel, Women of Wonder exhibition currently on view at Crystal Bridges.  Glenn is curating the recently announced Color Field exhibition, which will debut in June in Crystal Bridges’ North Forest.

Similar to the first journey, Haynes, Benedetti, and Glenn have been visiting contemporary artists around the country and determining a selection of artists and artworks to feature at the two venues. “The State of the Art concept involves seeing what’s happening in studios across the country, discovering artists that are exploring topics through unique perspectives and voices,” said Haynes. “Our travels have reinforced that artists all over the US are creating eye-opening, thought-provoking, and fascinating work in all sorts of places, both urban and rural. We’re eager to share the results of these journeys with our visitors.”

The Documentary

As State of the Art II has been developing, a documentary film about the original State of the Art has progressed as well. Creation of the film began while the exhibition was on view at Crystal Bridges, with acclaimed filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud documenting the show and then exploring the work of some of its featured artists over the next several years. Ultimately, the Renauds captured the personal stories of seven diverse artists featured in State of the Art, traveling from the woods of North Carolina to the deserts of Nevada, the backstreets of Pittsburgh to the foothills of Arkansas, and beyond.

The seven artists featured in the film include Carl Joe Williams (New Orleans), Justin Favela (Las Vegas), Linda Lopez (Fayetteville, Ark.), Peter Glenn Oakley (Banner Elk, NC), Susie J. Lee (Seattle), Teri Greeves (Santa Fe), and Vanessa German (Pittsburgh). “State of the Art tells a story of diverse artists driven to create — with work that is intensely personal, firmly rooted in community, and inseparable from the lives they live,” says Craig Renaud. “Their work offers a window into not only what concerns Americans, but also what lifts them up.”

The one-hour documentary will premiere nationally on PBS on Friday, April 26 at 9:00 p.m. EST. / 8 p.m. CST. The film was funded in part by the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Inc. and produced by the Arkansas Educational Television Network. Additional film resources, including a trailer, photos, bios and more, are available at

Preview Screening in Little Rock
Saturday, April 13, 8 p.m.
Two weeks prior to the PBS premiere, AETN will host a preview party in Little Rock at the Ron Robinson Theater on Saturday, April 13. The event will include a panel discussion with Haynes, filmmaker Craig Renaud, and others.

For more information, visit the AETN website.

Watch Party at Crystal Bridges
Friday, April 26, 7 to 9 p.m.In celebration of the premiere, Crystal Bridges will host a watch party in its Great Hall on Friday, April 26 beginning at 7:00 p.m. All visitors are welcome and the event is free. Drinks and a cash bar will be available.

For more information and to register, visit the Watch Party » State of the Art Documentary on PBS event page.

Prior to the 8:00 p.m. live viewing of the film, Haynes will host a panel discussion, featuring State of the Art curator Chad Alligood and State of the Art artists Linda Lopez and Carl Joe Williams (both of whom are featured in the documentary). The panel will delve into what it’s like to create art and exhibitions today.

Vanessa German

Vanessa German Speaking at Crystal Bridges
Wednesday, April 24, 7 to 8 p.m.

State of the Art artist Vanessa German, who is also featured in the PBS documentary, will visit Crystal Bridges for a lecture on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. as part of the museum’s 2019 Distinguished Speaker Series.

German was the recipient of the 2018 Don Tyson Prize, a $200,000 biennial award for outstanding achievement in American art. As a citizen artist, she is a vigorous advocate for children, creating safe spaces for artmaking amid violence. In recent years, she launched the Art House where she hosts neighborhood children, women and families to create beauty through art and build self-esteem. German is based in the historic neighborhood of Homewood, in Pittsburgh.

The Momentary Announces Artist-in-Residence Program and 2019 Spring Artists

Artist In Residence

The Momentary, a multidisciplinary arts space planned to open in early 2020 as a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, announces that it will launch an Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program this spring. This expands on a visiting artist program established at Crystal Bridges and provides artists with studio and creative spaces throughout the community while construction of the Momentary is underway.

The Momentary
In 2016, Crystal Bridges announced plans to transform a 63,000 square-foot Kraft Foods plant into a space for visual, performing, and culinary arts, as well as an AIR program. The Momentary will encourage a confluence of community and culture where artists and visitors work, live, and play. The new venue will provide access to art experiences in a modern and relaxed, social space, with a focus on contemporary art in an international context.

The Momentary will include galleries, studios, theater and concert spaces, café, bar, indoor and outdoor common areas, as well as three dedicated studio spaces for artists in residence. Studio spaces will include traditional, multi-media, and 3D/sculpture as well as shared spaces for collaboration and community engagement.

“One of the goals of the Momentary is to bring multiple contemporary art spaces together for cultivation of new ideas based on current topics,” said Lieven Bertels, director of the Momentary. “With the Artists-in-Residence program at the Momentary, we envision studio and social spaces that provide artistic independence for artists alongside an integrated art experience to create a holistic mix of art and leisure activities.”

Crystal Bridges Pilot Program
Crystal Bridges began piloting the AIR program in 2017 with the goal of fully launching with the opening of the Momentary in 2020. Past visiting artists include Leonardo Drew and Nina Chanel Abney, who were both invited to create on-site installations at Crystal Bridges in 2017. Abney’s Untitled (2017) is a large-scale mural of bright colors and shapes from spray paint that can be found in the stairwell of the Contemporary Art Gallery. Drew’s Number 184T (2017) is a collection of materials such as wood, iron, paper, and more which he alters by burning, premature aging, painting, and rusting to create one-of-a-kind sculptures. The installation was acquired by Crystal Bridges in 2019.  Jana Benitez visited in the summer of 2018. Her work was inspired by Kerry James Marshall’s Our Town painting in the Crystal Bridges collection in which she explored notions of community through portraits of residents of Northwest Arkansas and depictions of the landscape of downtown Bentonville.

In early 2019, two New Orleans-based artists were in residency. Ana Hernandez, painter and sculptor, explored Arkansas and the land acquired during the Louisiana Purchase, researching policy and development of the South to chart intersections between the landscape, environment, and her larger painting practice. Mariana Sheppard further developed her portrait series based on the relationship between mothers and daughters.

“This program focuses on the artists themselves,” said Lauren Haynes, curator of visuals arts at the Momentary and curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges. “During their stay, the artists create a work, process an idea, or develop a project while in dialogue with the organizations and people of our area. Their work expands on our vision of bringing contemporary art to our community.”

About the Spring 2019 Artists-in-Residence
The Momentary announces the spring Artist-in-Residence line-up which includes four multi-disciplined artists from around the country as part of the 2019 program: Ebony G. Patterson, visual artist; Will Rawls, choreographer, performer, writer; and Flutronix (Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hall), flutists and musical artists.

“We are so excited to host these talented, diverse, contemporary artists this spring and help them pursue their projects,” continued Haynes. “Bringing these and similar artists to Bentonville fosters a collegial environment where locals and artists can learn from each other and focus on larger projects and themes.”

The AIR program supports national and international artists working in all disciplines for six weeks up to six months. Artists are provided a dedicated work space and invited to pursue artistic projects in the fields of their choice. In addition, artists may participate in programs, talks, community activities, as well as collaborations with other artists.

AIR program artists are selected by invitation, similar to how artists are identified for Crystal Bridges’ exhibitions. Haynes and her team look specifically at three attributes: the artists ability to think critically about topics that are important to the study of American art, the connection to art, nature, and architecture, and the relationship with the Momentary’s mission to connect today’s contemporary art to our everyday lives.

Each artist will arrive to Northwest Arkansas at different times and explore projects that expand on their work. Some artists are developing projects specific to the region.

Ebony Patterson

Ebony G. Patterson (April 1-June 5, 2019) is a visual and mixed media artist who lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica and Lexington, KY. The project she is planning to pursue during her residency is called …for those who are denied., which addresses public, grassroots memorials for otherwise unacknowledged victims of violence, and the denial of innocence experienced by these victims, in particular those who are black or brown. The work explores ideas around visibility, dystopias, and notions of innocence using something all familiar to us: toys. Patterson will work with the Crystal Bridges horticultural team to make her vision come to life.

Will Rawls Photo by Luis Rodriguez

Will Rawls (April 16-May 31, 2019) is a New York-based choreographer, performance artist, curator, and writer. His work focuses on relationship and transitions between dance and language in order to consider the poetics of blackness, abstraction and opacity. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Robert Rauschenberg Residency and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant. During his residency, Rawls will work on projects involving screen-printing and the material, kinetic nature of cursors (the blinking figure on a computer screen where the next character will appear). Rawls will also continue work on ongoing performance projects during his residency.


Flutronix (May 4-10, 2019) is Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull, two distinguished flutists and composers known for their “unique blend of classical music, hip-hop, electronic programming and soulful vocals reminiscent of neo-R&B stars like Erykah Badu” (The Wall Street Journal). Founded in Brooklyn, NY, the urban art pop duo have spent over a decade evolving as influential creators and socially conscious change makers. During their time in Northwest Arkansas, Flutronix will use their residency to compose a new segment of music to be featured in their upcoming project, Discourse, a series of culminating musical events customized with stories from each partner city mixed with more universal narratives. The pair will also meet with community leaders for potential collaborations.

More information and season announcements on the Momentary will be coming soon. Social media handles and links for the Momentary include:

For information about the Momentary, visit the Momentary website here. For eNewsletter updates, sign up for theMomentary interest.