By Caleb Talley
Through Sept. 3, visitors to Bentonville’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will have the one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience a collection of works by renowned artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986).
This unique exhibition, titled The Beyond, features more than 30 paintings by O’Keeffe, a modernist pioneer whose work continues to inspire artists and viewers alike. Along with O’Keeffe’s art, the exhibit – which was developed by Crystal Bridges – will also feature the work of 20 contemporary artists who have either been inspired by her legacy or explore similar themes.
“The Beyond brings together sculptures, murals, photographs, paintings and more by Georgia O’Keeffe and 20 contemporary artists working in similar themes,” says Beth Bobbitt, Crystal Bridges public relations director. “Building on works from the museum’s collection and borrowing from public and private collections, the exhibition features 36 O’Keeffe works spanning her career.”
The exhibition takes its name from a 1972 O’Keeffe painting of an almost abstract horizon at twilight, which is featured in the collection. The Beyond was one of the last works she was able to complete on her own as her eyesight failed.
“Visitors will see many of their favorite O’Keeffe works and perhaps, walk away with a new favorite contemporary artist,” Bobbitt adds.
The artists whose works will be featured alongside O’Keeffe’s are a testament to the legacy of a woman known as a touchstone of modern art.
“I think we’re only beginning to understand O’Keeffe’s legacy and by having her work in conversation with this particular group of contemporary artists, we’re hoping to add another layer to the ongoing conversation around her and her work,” says Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges.
“O’Keeffe is an important artist and key to the Crystal Bridges collection. So, it was exciting to think about bringing her work together with 20 contemporary artists who are innovating in their own ways, similar to how O’Keeffe was an innovator.”
The contemporary artists featured in the exhibition include Detroit native Louise Jones, who is painting an O’Keeffe-inspired mural at Crystal Bridges. “Louise Jones’ mural is a site-specific work created on the occasion of the exhibition,” says Haynes. “She worked with Cody George, horticulturist from the Crystal Bridges team, to identify local flowers to include in the work.”
Also featured in this exhibition are Mark Lewis, Negar Ahkami, Milano Chow, Cynthia Daignault, Sharona Eliassaf, Monica Kim Garza, Loie Hollowell, Pearl C. Hsiung, Kim Keever, Molly Larkey, Caroline Larsen, Wardell Milan, Jennifer Packer, Dylan Gebbia-Richards, Andy Robert, Matthew Ronay, Tschabalala Self, Anna Valdez and Britny Wainwright.
“Chad [Alligood] and I picked each and every artist and artwork for different reasons, so in a way, they’re all my favorite,” says Haynes. “I hope visitors come away with a deeper appreciation of both Georgia O’Keeffe and contemporary art. I hope they discover a new artist and a new way of thinking about contemporary art.”
The showing opened in May, but August will be the last full month in which visitors can admire O’Keeffe’s work before the exhibition moves to the North Carolina Museum of Art. While admission to Crystal Bridges is always free, tickets to The Beyond for non-members and anyone over the age of 18 are $10.