by Todd Camplin

After several years of waiting for the right moment to make the trip, I finally made the trek to Bentonville,
Arkansas and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Alice Walton's vision for a great art institution
in a small corner of the United States was ambitious and a complete success. Traveling by road from
Texas is not insurmountably long, because the terrain was very scenic. The city of Bentonville looks
similar to a new suburb of Dallas or Houston. The reason I have been saving up to make the trip is that
there were a few key art works I specifically wanted to see, but I found several unexpected surprises.
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For me, the most anticipated work was Asher Brown Durand’s oil painting “Kindred Spirits.” This
image has resurfaced in my life every time I come across transcendentalist literature. From book
covers, to images in text books, Asher Brown Durand captured the spirit of these writers in one
years before the first national parks, Brown Durand persues the idea of untouched natural
spaces. “Kindred Spirits,” makes the viewer feel connected and responsible to preserve it.
Hanging Heart (Gold/Magenta)
Artist: Jeff Koons , born 1954
Dimensions: 114 5/8 × 110 1/4 × 40 in. (291.1 × 280 × 101.6 cm)
Medium: High-chromium stainless steel with transparent color
coating and yellow brass
George Washington
Artist: Charles Willson Peale , 1741 - 1827
Dimensions: 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm) Framed: 57
3/4 x 48 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. (146.7 x 122.6 x 5.7 cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Because this is an American art museum in the middle of the country, I was expecting to see
the Riveter.” The American Scene painters were not overly represented. A work by Georgia
O'Keeffe was another expected encounter and I wasn’t disappointed.

but not surprising. I have read that Alice Walton was less passionate about the recent trends in
art. However, there were a few exceptions. I instantly fell in love with Josef Albers’ 1964 painting,
“Homage to the Square: Joy.” His simple, elegant colors of yellow and orange seem to almost
swallow me.  Mark Rothko’s 1960 “No.210/No. 211 (Orange) also made me pause. I was glad
the museum had placed a bench facing the painting. I just sat and absorbed the colors. In
their front room was a Jeff Koons heart hanging from an amazing ceiling. It looked like the inside
of a ship, turned upside down. From their restaurant, music was reverberating off the walls.

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Artist: Asher Brown Durand , 1796 - 1886
Depicted: Thomas Cole , 1801 - 1848
Dimensions: 44 x 36 in. (111.8 x 91.4 cm) Framed: 55 1/4 x 47 x 5 1/4
No. 210/No. 211 (Orange)
Artist: Mark Rothko , 1903 - 1970
Dimensions: 69 x 63 in.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Artist: Josef Albers , 1888 - 1976
Dimensions: 48 x 48 in.
Framed: 57 5/8 x 57 1/2 x 2 in.
Medium: Oil on board
Credit Line: Promised Gift