Crystal Bridges Announces Director-Level Appointments, Sam Gilliam Acquisition and New Exhibits on View Including 'Nick Cave: Until'

  • October 08, 2020 18:02

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Gabriella Sanchez is the newest artist participating in Crystal Bridges' artist-designed flag series, with her "WE REAP WHAT WE SEW" show here.
Sandy Edwards

Crystal Bridges has announced the appointments of Sandy Edwards as senior director, and Jill Wagar as deputy director, effective immediately.  

Sandy Edwards’ career exemplifies her deep commitment during her 46-year career to improving quality of life through arts and education. Edwards, who has served as deputy director, is appointed senior director. Stepping into her new role, Edwards will be refining her focus and pursuing significant initiatives to transform the institution into the future. 

Jill Wagar

Jill Wagar, who has been serving as chief strategy officer, has dedicated 25 years to working in nonprofit leadership in the arts, higher education, and healthcare. With this promotion to deputy director, Wagar will assume more institutional leadership, guide the next strategic plan, maintain oversight of development, membership, database operations, audience research teams, and continue her ongoing fundraising efforts. 

The Momentary, a Crystal Bridges satellite, launched a rotating series of artist-designed flags in June 2020 that will be raised on the original flag pole of the cheese factory in which the Momentary now occupies. California-based artist Gabriella Sanchez is the newest artist participating in this project. WE REAP WHAT WE SEW, Sanchez’s dual-sided flag, honors the complex and painful history of Mexican Americans in the United States by layering found fabric alongside historic photographs and text. The flag is on view now through early January 2021.

Crystal Bridges has also announced the acquisition of Mazda (1970), an early 11’ x 7.5’ drape painting by the renowned artist Sam Gilliam. Overlaid with bright yellow acrylic paint on top of muted purples, pinks, and blues, Mazda presents a variety of surface textures in addition to the light and shadow play resulting from the work’s many folds. For more than 60 years, Gilliam has pushed the limits of traditional painting. He has lived and worked in Washington DC throughout much of his life and was associated with an artists’ group called the Washington Color School alongside artists such as Alma Thomas, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Gene Davis. In the 1960s, he received international acclaim for his drape paintings. His mixed media work, Black and Golden Door (1996), was a gift to the Crystal Bridges collection in 2016, and Gilliam was featured in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, which was on view at Crystal Bridges in 2018. 

Sam Gilliam (b. 1933, Tupelo, Mississippi), Mazda, 1970, acrylic on canvas, installed: 135 × 90 in. (342.9 × 228.6 cm), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2020.12.

Mazda is now on view in the Contemporary Art Gallery. 

The long-anticipated exhibition Nick Cave: Until is now open at the Momentary. The exhibition is free for all to view, and on view through January 3, 2021. 

This is the largest and most ambitious project yet from the renowned Chicago-based artist. This immersive exhibition is a visual feast for the eyes, spanning over 24,000 square feet of gallery space at the Momentary and bursting with colorful wind spinners, wallpapers, found objects, beads, and a crystal cloud beckoning visitors to climb its ladders and discover a private garden. 

But below its surface, Until is a response to the question: Is there racism in heaven? Through visual art and mixed media, Nick Cave addresses gender, race, and gun violence in America, and asks viewers to think about where we are today and what the future may look like.

Watch Nick Cave's walkthrough of the exhibition at the Momentary on YouTube HERE.

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