ArkansasGives: Support art in education

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Support

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On April 6, the Arkansas Arts Center is encouraging patrons to support art in education by donating to ArkansasGives, a one-day giving event hosted by the Arkansas Community Foundation. Any donations made in honor of the Arkansas Arts Center on April 6 will help us qualify for bonus dollars to support the statewide educational outreach of the Young Arkansas Artists exhibition.

For more than 50 years, the Arkansas Arts Center’s annual Young Arkansas Artists exhibition has celebrated and promoted the creative achievements of elementary and secondary students across the state of Arkansas. The exhibition not only provides students with the inspiration to express themselves through the visual arts, but is vital to the development of arts appreciation throughout the state. By providing an outlet for creative expression, the Arts Center reinforces the crucial role in art plays in the classroom.

The 56th Young Arkansas Artists, opening May 16, will feature selected artworks in a wide range of artistic mediums and techniques: from the outpouring of youthful expression to more sophisticated works from higher grade levels. The exhibition brings together artists from all over the state, providing them an opportunity to receive inspiration from their peers – and even compare techniques. After the exhibition closes at the Arts Center, selections from the exhibition travel the state, stopping in schools, hospitals and other venues around Arkansas. YAA on Tour showcases the talent of Arkansas’ youth and inspire young artists to achieve – and perhaps exceed – the talent of their peers in the pursuit of a lifelong relationship with the arts.

Put giving on your calendar for April 6, 2017. On that day, visit between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to make a donation in support of the Arkansas Arts Center. ArkansasGives requires all gifts to be made online to qualify, and the minimum gift is $25. The entire dollar amount of your donation will be provided to the Arkansas Arts Center, and those donations will help us qualify for bonus dollars. All participating nonprofits will receive a portion of a $250,000 bonus pool, but the more we raise relative to the other participating groups, the larger the share of bonus dollars we will receive. Your donation to ArkansasGives will enable us to expand our educational outreach, like Young Arkansas Artists to even more communities across our state, ensuring that learning, inspiration and creative expression in the arts flourish throughout Arkansas for people of all ages and backgrounds.


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Meet the Speaker: Bridgette Fedak, Lilly Pulitzer

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Events

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Meet Lilly Pulitzer designer Bridgette Fedak. As part of our Art of Fashion series, she is giving a lecture about her background and her role at Lilly Pulitzer on April 1. Following the lecture, enjoy a fashion show, Lilly Pulitzer Pop-Up Shop, sponsored by Dillard’s, Park Plaza Mall, and themed lunch specials at Canvas restaurant.

What’s your current role in fashion?

Bridgette Fedak

Currently my title is Senior Associate Fashion Designer of Women’s Woven Dresses, Embellishments and Sample Room Coordinator at Lilly Pulitzer. I design the woven dresses (the ones that typically don’t stretch), as well as the top applied embellishments that we use. In addition to this, I co-coordinate our in-house Sample Room – I keep the flow of work organized for them, monitor fabric inventory, assist in getting what my Sample Room team needs from the other various teams, etc.

How did you first become interested in fashion?

I first became interested in fashion when I lived abroad in Switzerland. I was in high school, and brands were a big deal no matter your age. Looking around, I saw kids carrying Louis Vuitton accessories, there were collisions in the hallway when two girls were wearing the same outfit from the same store, etc. Fashion became so obtainable. I quickly realized that fashion was the ultimate way to express yourself. I began paying more and more attention to it and paid less and less attention in classes such as physics.

What role does art play in your work in fashion?

It plays a huge role. We are always looking for exhibits we can go to as a little getaway from the office! Every time we have an inspiration shopping trip to New York, we look up what exhibitions are going on that we would like to add to the itinerary. Fashion often looks back to vintage as well. There are often wonderful fashion exhibitions popping up that recognize historical periods of dress, some by famous designers and some not. Some designers also turn to historical paintings and take more literal approaches to re-create those paintings in their designs. There is really no limit to what can inspire and develop a garment.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

EVERYWHERE! There is absolutely no limitation to where we can find inspiration! In the past, before working for Lilly, I remember taking a picture of the movement of water in a fountain, another picture of Spanish moss in a tree and turning those pictures into prints that I had printed on fabric and made into garments. For Lilly, we use anything from a picture found on Pinterest to pictures from our travels to many exotic places with beautiful colors, foliage and animals. We often shop markets all over the globe and even the local mall for inspiration. What makes designing different is that even when the work day is over, your job isn’t. Inspiration might be the sunset you see on your drive home. It might be writing the names of towns down on a scrap paper in the car on a personal road trip that can be used to name a dress later. It might even be the way a child is wearing her dress backwards! Our eyes are forever open.

This Art of Fashion Lecture is sold out. Ticket reservations are not required for the Lilly Pulitzer pop-up shop open from 12 – 2 p.m. or lunch at Canvas restaurant from 11–2 p.m. on April 1.

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Community Conversation with Studio Gang

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Building

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AAC Executive Director Todd Herman and Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang answer questions from community members at Tuesday’s event.

At the first of many community conversations regarding the future of the Arkansas Arts Center, Studio Gang founder and principal Jeanne Gang shared insights on her firm’s philosophy regarding architecture and approach to design, focusing on the ways architecture can help people connect with each other and their environment.

Gang highlighted three of the firm’s previous projects – the Nature Boardwalk in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. and University of Chicago Residential Commons. While none of these projects are identical to the Arkansas Arts Center project in form or function, Gang noted that in each of these projects, the firm focused on connecting communities and environments, elements shared with the AAC project.

“This place is a strong community anchor, and it’s set in this park setting, which I think is really an important part of the project,” Gang said. “And it’s about bringing community together.”

The Nature Boardwalk in the Lincoln Park Zoo began as a project to create “an outdoor classroom” – place where students could come to learn about nature.

“Usually at the beginning of a project, we’ll step outside, zoom out a little bit to see what is the real issue that’s impacting that organization,” Gang said. “And here, even though they wanted the pavilion, which they got, there was also this other issue was the pond itself that was part of the site.”

The firm built a stationary, yet interactive, pavilion that allowed visitors and students to engage with the pond. They also set out to solve some ecological issues in the park, proposing a rehabilitation of the pond, along with landscaping and a boardwalk circling the space. The pavilion and boardwalk have since become a major attraction, drawing yoga classes, weddings and tourists to the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. Photo by Steve Hall (c) Hedrich Blessing.

The Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. is home to a highly-regarded theatre company. Studio Gang was tasked with building a new theatre that would give the company the performance space needed, while also providing space for the audience to continue to connect even after the performances ended. The lobby space in the theatre is open and serves as gathering space before and after performances and for student groups. Since its opening, it has even become a place where students gather to study after school.

“In the one year that it’s been open, it’s been an anchor – they’ve sold out all their shows,” Gang said. “It’s allowing this theatre company to be who they really were meant to be. It really embodies their personality and it’s about contributing to this liveliness of the town.”

At the University of Chicago, Studio Gang was challenged to create an 800-bed residence hall and dining facility that connected the cloistered, Gothic-style campus with the city in the distance, while also helping students connect with each other. Using the idea of portals found in other campus architecture, Studio Gang created indoor and outdoor spaces that activated the plazas. They also created different gathering spaces that allowed for students to engage on different levels of community.

Community members in the audience were also invited to ask questions of the architecture team, along with Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman. Questions ranged from how to address issues of sustainability, especially in terms of green roofs and the ecology of the park to community outreach to the future of the historic Pike Fletcher Terry House to how to engage with all communities and constituencies across Little Rock and the state of Arkansas.

“Communities, we think both geographically and communities of different, diverse backgrounds, and so we want to approach all of those and get input from as many different community stakeholders as we can and community groups to understand what they’re looking for in an Arts Center and how we can serve the largest community that we possibly can. That’s really why we’re here and why we do what we do: We want to bring art to as many people as we can,” Herman said.

The Arkansas Arts Center announced in December the selection of Studio Gang as design architect for its upcoming building project. Studio Gang is an award-winning architecture and urbanism practice based out of Chicago and New York. Last week, the Arkansas Arts Center announced Polk Stanley Wilcox as associate architect for the project. Polk Stanley Wilcox has previously worked on a number of local projects, including the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International Headquarters, the Arkansas Studies Institute and the recently opened Robinson Center expansion and renovation.

For more information about the history of the Arkansas Arts Center and this project, visit our website. As this project progresses, community members and Arkansas Arts Center patrons will continue to have opportunities to ask questions and provide input.

“We’re planning on having a number of outreach sessions to help us understand that community, but also to hear what people have to say,” Gang said. “What could that Arts Center mean to different communities and what’s preventing them from coming here?”

“What an Arts Center can do, and what museums often do – they are places where people can gather,” Herman said. “Artists often tackle and approach what can be difficult subject matter for what can be social issues and others. And museums often function as this place where people can come together and think about the more difficult issues facing society today in a safe and respectful place. And we want to create that kind of hub where people want to come and be and think in a broader scope.”

Watch Tuesday’s Community Conversation in full below.

Jeanne Gang also gave a TED Talk in October 2016 about how people engage with the spaces around them, and in turn with each other. Watch that talk here.

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Arkansas Arts Center announces associate architect

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: BuildingLeave a Comment

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The Arkansas Arts Center announced the selection of Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects as associate architect for its upcoming building project. Polk Stanley Wilcox will work in partnership with Studio Gang Architects on a reimagined Arkansas Arts Center. Studio Gang was selected as design architect for the expansion and renovation in December.

Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects is a programming, architectural, planning and interior design firm with offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville. They have experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including healthcare, nonprofit, cultural, education, corporate and worship. Polk Stanley Wilcox also focuses on sustainability and creating buildings that operate on minimal energy usage.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Arkansas Arts Center and Studio Gang on this transformative project,” Polk Stanley Wilcox Principal David Porter said. “AAC has cast an exciting vision to rethink not only how the Center upgrades the interior and exterior spaces, but how the AAC connects to and enriches the broad arts and cultural tapestry of Little Rock. Studio Gang is a uniquely talented firm to lead the design effort. PSW is honored to bring our extensive experience from years of important projects in downtown Little Rock to come alongside them and the AAC to help create this next critical milestone for the city, state and region.”

Polk Stanley Wilcox has previously worked on a number of local projects, including the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International Headquarters, the Arkansas Studies Institute and the recently opened Robinson Center expansion and renovation.

“We look forward to working with the team at Polk Stanley Wilcox,” said Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang. “We hope to build on their strong history of collaborations in the area and believe that their knowledge of Little Rock will be a huge asset as we expand the impact of the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, and in the region.”

Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects was selected from among three finalists to work in partnership with Studio Gang. Ten local firms responded to the RFQ issued last month. Allison and Partners and Cromwell Architects were also finalists.

The three finalist firms presented to the selection committee on February 16. The selection committee for the associate architect included AAC Executive Director Todd Herman, three representatives from Studio Gang, and international museum consultant Deborah Frieden, and AAC Board member Sara Hendricks Batcheller.

“Each of the finalists are strong, well-respected firms,” Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman said. “Ultimately, Polk, Stanley, Wilcox was the best complement to Studio Gang in terms of experience and strengths. Their work at Robinson auditorium – similar in both scope and complexity – will be an asset as we move through the project. We are very pleased to have PSW on board for this important project that will create wonderful new spaces for the people of Little Rock and Arkansas to enjoy the arts. Having our architectural team in place is a major milestone. We are very excited to move the project forward.”

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Now on View: Sculptures from “The Tag Project”

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: MuseumLeave a Comment

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The installations mark the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942.

Wendy Maruyama, American (La Junta, Colorado, 1952 – ), Rohwer (The Tag Project) and Jerome (The Tag Project), 2011, tea- and coffee-stained cut paper, ink, string, thread, and metal, 144 inches x 24 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Gift of the artist.

The Arkansas Arts Center recently acquired Rohwer and Jerome, two sculptures from The Tag Project by Wendy Maruyama. The two large installations are now on view at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Rohwer and Jerome are two of 10 pieces originally created as part of The Tag Project, each piece representing one of the 10 Japanese American Relocations Centers where people of Japanese ancestry were held during World War II. Rohwer and Jerome were two such camps, both located in southeast Arkansas. These sculptures represent the 16,000 people held at Rohwer and Jerome between October 1942 and November 1945, 64 percent of whom were American citizens.

“The Tag Project was started in New York, while I was an artist-in-residence at SUNY-Purchase. I was inspired by the thousands of folded origami cranes I saw 12 years before at the Hiroshima Peace memorial…All Japanese Americans from the West Coast were rounded up in 1942 and each was issued a tag and an ID number designating their destination: one of several internment camps, all in desolate deserted areas of the United States…I was taken by the physical weight of these tags when they were completed and hung, despite appearing to be light and airy. This struck me as being very relevant to the way the internment was perceived by the general American public. To this day it shocks me to still run into fellow Americans who had no clue that this had happened,” Maruyama said.

For The Tag Project, Maruyama and her team methodically recreated the identification tags given to nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans using the rosters of internees housed in the archives of the War Relocation Authority. They began by stamping each tag to replicate the appearance of the original tags. They then handwrote the name of a Japanese American internee, their unique identifying number, and the name of the camp to which they were ordered to report. The team bent and folded the tags, later placing them in a bath of coffee or tea to artificially age their appearance. Once fabricated, the artist then tied the tags with red cord to a steel armature, and the whole grouping hangs from the ceiling. Each sculpture is nearly 11 feet tall and weighs more than 50 pounds. In Maruyama’s words, “each group hovers or levitates on its own. They all look like large, looming ghost-like figures and they slowly rotate or move with the slightest breeze.” Perhaps also evocative of a grove of trees or a group of people, the sculptures rustle or murmur as they rotate, returning a voice to a once voiceless populace.

“I decided to donate Rowher and Jerome to the Arkansas Arts Center because I know the institution will give this work the needed visibility with respect to the two incarceration camps in Arkansas. I find it curious that two camps were located so far from the others, and in the South, no less.  Executive Order 9066 has become a part of Arkansas history, and connected to a much larger story especially during these trying times now,” Maruyama said.

Sunday, February 19 marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor caused public panic about an invasion by the Japanese army. With the stated goal of protecting against espionage and sabotage, Executive Order 9066 allowed for military exclusion zones and the forced relocation and internment of nearly 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry by their own government between 1942 and 1946.

Rohwer and Jerome were both exhibited at the Arkansas Arts Center in 2013 as part of The Tag Project/Executive Order 9066, an exhibition organized by the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. The exhibition explored the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II through photographs and objects alongside all 10 pieces from The Tag Project.

Installation view of The Tag Project/Executive Order 9066 at the Arkansas Arts Center in 2013.

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies also has an exhibition related to the Rohwer and Jerome on view currently. The American Dream Deferred: Japanese American Incarceration in WWII Arkansas is comprised of paintings, drawings, and other works of art produced by individuals held at Rohwer and Jerome during World War II. It will be on display from January 13 through June 24, 2017, in the Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center’s Concordia Hall gallery located at 401 President Clinton Ave.

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From the Director: Arts Center Announces Design Architect

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Museum1 Comment

Photograph by Angela Jimenez Photography for Cooper-Hewitt

Studio Gang Architects. Photograph by Angela Jiminez. Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Dear Patrons,

It is with great pride that I write to you today to announce the selection of Studio Gang as design architect for our upcoming building project.

Studio Gang is recognized internationally for a design process that foregrounds the relationships between individuals, communities and environments. The firm has extensive knowledge in museum, theatre and artist studio spaces, with projects ranging from the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. to the Aqua Tower in Chicago to the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an award-winning architecture and urbanism practice based out of Chicago and New York. A recipient of the 2013 National Design Award, Jeanne Gang was also named the 2016 Architect of the Year by the Architectural Review and the firm was awarded the 2016 Architizer A+ award for Firm of the Year.

Our selection committee felt Studio Gang was the best fit for the project, due to the firm’s elegant and smart approach to architecture, their understanding of the issues posed by the AAC’s current facility, their vision for the center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas and their commitment to sustainability and strength as urban planners. You can read more about Studio Gang here. An RFQ for a local architect to collaborate on the project will be issued later this month.

We had a number of highly qualified firms respond to our RFQ, and narrowing this impressive group down to the five finalists was extremely difficult. All five finalists were incredibly talented with international reputations and credentials, and we would have been well served by any one of them. You can read more about the selection process here.

This project is about more than just addressing the physical issues of our current building. It requires rethinking how the AAC fits into the downtown fabric. How can we best serve the community, and how do the AAC and MacArthur Park connect to other social and cultural nodes in downtown Little Rock? We want to do more than build, we want to transform the cultural experience.

As always, we are grateful to our members, who have supported and sustained the Arts Center as it has evolved over time. The Arts Center is a symbol of the importance that this community – and state – places on culture, arts education and quality of life, and we are on an exciting path to transform once again!

Todd Herman
Executive Director
Arkansas Arts Center

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Museum Shop Holiday Gift Guide

Author: Maria DavisonFiled under: Museum ShopLeave a Comment

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The holiday season is here, and the Arkansas Arts Center Museum Shop has a perfectly unique gift for everyone on your list. From hand-blown glass ornaments to limited edition art catalogs, the Museum Shop is your go-to for shopping this season. Here’s a look at a few of the great items you will find at the Museum Shop.


Shop one-of-a-kind ceramics, both functional and decorative, by local artists Adrian Quintanar, Julia Baugh and Jane Haskins.


Ceramics by Adrian Quintanar


Holiday trees look stunning with beautiful glass ornaments by Riley Art Glass Studio. Unique and colorful works by Arkansas artists James Hayes will brighten any decor.

Glass ornament by Riley Art Glass Studio

Glass ornament by Riley Art Glass Studio


Limited edition catalogs are the perfect gift for the art enthusiast in your life. Featuring work in the Arkansas Arts Center’s Collection and special exhibitions, included pieces by Thom Hall and Herman Maril.

Thom Hall Catalog

Thom Hall Catalog


Make a statement with stunning jewelry pieces. Shop necklaces, bracelets and earrings by local artists like Sarah Smith, Burke Johnston, and Melissa Orsini.

Necklace by Sarah Smith

Necklace by Sarah Smith


Fun and fanciful toys for kids both big and small are waiting for you at the Museum Shop.

Toys at the Museum Shop

Toys at the Museum Shop


Heber Spring’s own Lambrecht Gourmet Toffee makes the perfect gift for friends and family! Available in a variety of flavors.

Lambrecht Gourmet Toffee

Museum School

For those who prefer an experience to a thing, give the gift of a Museum School class. The Museum School offers more than 300 classes every year, in everything from painting to woodworking. View class schedules here.

Museum School class

Museum School class

Gift Memberships

Memberships are the gift that keep giving all year long. Arkansas Arts Center memberships have a range of benefits, including invitations to lectures, exhibition previews and other events, discounts on Museum School Classes, the Museum Shop and Canvas restaurant, and a subscription to Works magazine. See memberships here.

Season Tickets

Children’s Theatre season tickets make the perfect gift for the whole family. Ticket packages offer your family the ultimate flexibility to meet busy schedules and provide maximum savings. Get season tickets here.

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5 highlights from the AAC Collection on view now

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Collection, Museum

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While the Arkansas Arts Center is home to more than 12,000 works of art, we are particularly noted for our collection of drawings – drawing being loosely defined as a unique work of art on paper in any medium, including pencil, charcoal, ink, pastel, watercolor, silverpoint, acrylic, oil and collage. The drawings in our collection were created by a variety of artists, from Old Masters to contemporary artists, and they tackle a diverse subjects, spanning hundreds of years of artistic production. But they all have one thing in common: works on paper are extremely susceptible to light damage and can’t remain on display indefinitely.

“Works on paper fade quickly in the light,” Curator of Drawings Ann Prentice Wagner said. “We want to grant access to these lovely works, but also to preserve them for future generations.”

So every six months, the exhibitions team reinstalls a different set of works from the collection in the galleries. The rapid reinstall schedule allows visitors to see, over time, a much larger selection of works from our collection. We’re also able to feature new acquisitions and highlight themes that complement our special exhibitions. We just completed the most recent reinstall of the AAC Collection, and with help from Wagner and Chief Curator Brian Lang, we’ve picked five favorites that you can see now.

The Circumnavigation of the Rose

For years, there was great consternation that no woman artist had ever been granted a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Finally, in 1953, Irene Rice Pereira and Loren MacIver shared the honor of having the first two one-woman exhibitions at the Whitney. This painting, recently conserved and re-framed by local conservator Norton Arts, is a beautiful example of the very abstract, conceptual work Pereira was producing at the time she was granted that exhibition. The title, The Circumnavigation of the Rose, refers to the compass rose and has to do with the artist’s spiritual journey through life. She explored these ideas both in her paintings and in her unpublished autobiography “Eastward Journey,” which was written in 1953.

Irene Rice Pereira (American, 1902-1971), The Circumnavigation of the Rose, circa 1955, oil on canvas, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Gift of Wanda Rock. 1981.038.001

Irene Rice Pereira, American (Boston, Massachusetts, 1902-1971, Marbella, Spain), The Circumnavigation of the Rose, circa 1950s, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Gift of Wanda Rock. 1981.038.001

Trompe L’Oeil Table

Wendell Castle’s 1978 Trompe L’Oeil Table is an exciting new acquisition into the Arkansas Arts Center Collection. Throughout his more than fifty-year career, Castle has sought an ongoing connection between furniture and sculpture, which he often views as interchangeable. In the process, his work has challenged public perceptions toward furniture as a metaphor of everyday life and the paradoxical relationship of form vs. function. Whether carved, laminated, manufactured, fabricated, or assembled, his designs reveal an incisive command of form and content, combined with a highly sophisticated and diverse use of materials and processes. Departing from the very fluid lines of his early organic pieces, by the mid-1970s and lasting into the early 1980s, Castle began to further push the “furniture as sculpture” dialogue by producing a number of trompe l’oeil (“fool the eye”) forms, such as Trompe L’oeil Table.

Wendell Castle, Trompe L’Oeil Table, 1978, stack-laminated and carved Walnut, 40 x 41 x 23 in., Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, Tabriz Fund and with a gift from John and Robyn Horn. 2016.015.

Wendell Castle, American (Emporia, Kansas, 1932 – ), Trompe L’Oeil Table, 1978, walnut, stack-laminated and carved, 40 x 41 x 23 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, Tabriz Fund and with a gift from John and Robyn Horn. 2016.015.

Untitled, From the Yes, Yes Series

Louis Watts’ Untitled, From the Yes, Yes Series was created using archival book-binding tape, thread and charcoal on paper. This drawing, which is by an outstanding local contemporary artist was original shown in the 2014 Delta Exhibition. It fits beautifully with the history of the grid in contemporary art that is also illustrated in this gallery by Louise Nevelson’s Tide Garden IV and Irene Rice Pereira’s The Circumnavigation of the Rose. The combination of precision, balance, and sheer beauty allows this drawing to break free of the cold grid to become vibrantly expressive.

Louis Watts, American (Little Rock, Arkansas, 1984 -) Untitled, from the Yes, Yes Series, 2014, archival book-binding tape, thread, and charcoal on paper, 50 x 38 ½ in. Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, Tabriz Fund. 2015.029.

Dos Mujeres

Diego Rivera’s 1914 Dos Mujeres, a longtime favorite in the Arkansas Arts Center Collection, recently returned from a loan to the Columbus Museum of Art. Rivera painted Dos Mujeres in 1914 when he was living in Paris and exploring Cubism. Here, the artist shows people and objects from a variety of viewpoints, as the viewer glimpses them moving through space and time. The rooftops of the workshops and warehouses outside the window seem to invade the room. We see the woman in the blue dress at multiple moments – her blue dress appears to fragment across the painting’s surface as she gathers her long skirt and walks toward a friend seated opposite her. The seated woman’s face appears both in profile, looking towards her friend, and looking out at the viewer. Has she turned her head or have we stepped into the room with her?

Diego Rivera (Mexican, Guanajuanto, Mexico, 1886 – 1957, Mexico City, Mexico), Dos Mujeres (Two Women), 1914, oil on canvas, 77 ¾ x 63 ½ in., Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Gift of Abby Rockefeller Mauzé. 1955.010.

Diego Rivera, Mexican (Guanajuanto, Mexico, 1886 – 1957, Mexico City, Mexico), Dos Mujeres (Two Women), 1914, oil on canvas, 77 ¾ x 63 ½ in., Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Gift of Abby Rockefeller Mauzé. 1955.010.

Shiva’s Night Sword

Artist William Harper has long had a penchant for the use of discarded objects in his work. The ultimate elevation of these objects to preciousness in his art is referenced in a series of works, including Shiva’s Night Sword, that he began working on following his return from a trip to India and Nepal in 1989. While this object isn’t technically a sword, its title alludes to the axe (parashu) – known as the most lethal close combat weapons of the epics – which is held in the hand of Shiva and often depicted in images and sculptures of the Hindu god. The purchase of this piece is made possible with funds donated in honor of Glass Fantasies artist Thom Hall, who had learned the cloisonné enamel technique from William Harper during a visiting artist workshop in the AAC Museum School in 1976.

William Harper, American (Bucyrus, Ohio, 1944 - ), Shiva’s Night Sword (Brooch), 1989, gold cloisonné enamel on fine silver, fine gold with 24 karat and 14 karat gold, and amethyst, 4 ½ x 2 ¼ x ¾ inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, Thom Hall Acquisition Fund. 2016.022

William Harper, American (Bucyrus, Ohio, 1944 – ), Shiva’s Night Sword (Brooch), 1989, gold cloisonné enamel on fine silver and fine gold, 24 karat gold, 14 karat gold, and amethyst, 4 3/8 x 2 ¼ x 5/8 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, Thom Hall Acquisition Fund. 2016.022

What’s your favorite work in the AAC collection? Let us know in the comments.

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