In February I got an email out of the blue requesting a studio visit for Don Bacigalupi, the President of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. After a few hours of online research and a several emails with other friends in the art world, I was able to piece together what was going on: Bacigalupi was interested in assessing my work for an upcoming exhibit as part of a nationwide survey of contemporary art practice. (The scope of the tour has been featured in national media often–for example here, here, and here.) A couple of days later (most of which was spent cleaning up my studio and organizing the work I was in the middle of), Don was at my door, digital camera and voice recorders in hand. Admittedly, to my delight, our scheduled 30-minute visit turned into an hour and a half. Though I also admit my intentions were along the lines of “I’m just going to keep talking until he walks out of the studio.”
Then, he left. I couldn’t judge how it had gone. He seemed interested in my work, but then again, I figured the kind of person who devised an exhibition that required visiting a thousand studios must be the kind of person who likes that kind of thing.
Two months later, I found out that I was in. It was the exact message I had been wishing so eagerly for. The museum initially requested two works–large-scale woodcuts. They were also interested in a facet of the socially-engaged public art I have been creating in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity-Omaha, using condemned homes as a way to collect the narratives and anecdotes of a community, as well as a way to display and exhibit those stories in their original contexts. As we spoke more about this facet of my practice, the 7.5-foot-long five-panel painting from the front porch of my first Habitat collaboration was added to the exhibit as well.
State of the Art features 102 artists from across the country selected by Crystal Bridges president Don Bacigalupi and assistant curator Chad Alligood after an ambitious 100,000-mile odyssey to meet a thousand of the most compelling contemporary artists in the United States. The 200+ works in the exhibition include photography, video, ceramics, action/interaction, glass, fiber, installation, paper, painting, and sculpture. After all of the work is full installed, the State of the Art gallery will total over 19,000 square feet extending into the permanent collection galleries as well as outdoor community areas.
There is no charge to view the exhibition, so I encourage you to make plans to visit the State of the Art exhibit at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas between September 13-January 19.
This is my first museum show, and I’m truly honored to be included in this exhibit. I can’t wait for the opening and I hope to see you there.