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November 23, 2012

Crystal Bridges a delightful link to American art

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Extensive use of glass walls, brushed stainless steel, hardwood or tile floors and bare concrete was used throughout. Curved wooden ribs interspersed with glass panels comprise the pavilion ceilings.

My partiality for American art is in works made after 1900. Crystal Bridges provided one goose-bump inducing thrill after another. “Dolly Parton” by Andy Warhol is there in all her platinum blond and lavender mascara glory.

An unmistakable Louise Nevelson assemblage with its black wood maze of geometric shapes is as big as a Buick’s roof.

Thomas Hart Benton’s steel mill canvas could be a descent into Hades and I would swear that painting used to be at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art.

Norman Rockwell’s inspiring and comforting Rosie the Riveter is a great big picture deserving of the wall all to itself. The image was originally a 1943 Saturday Evening Post magazine cover.

Seeing it up close revealed a detail I’d never noticed before, Rosie’s left penny loafer is planted symbolically on a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. These are just a few of my favorites from among the over 400 drawings, sculptures and paintings from the permanent collection. Periodic temporary exhibits are always on display, too.

The attractive museum restaurant is called Eleven and overlooks the lakes on both sides of its broad expanse. Everything on the menu was under ten clams.

The Museum Store is a gift shop similar to those found in any major art museum with cleverly designed inexpensive knick knacks and more pricey genuine art.

It was a beastly hot 100-plus degree day when we visited so the outdoor sculpture trails were left for a return excursion. And there will be another trip back to one of the globe’s premier art museums.

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