Deep in the heart of Walmart country, in a little town called Bentonville, Arkansas, is the 2-year-old Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art dedicated to celebrating the “American spirit.” Home to works from Colonial times to the present and funded by Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart fortune, the Moshe Safdie-designed museum has already become a well-touted national institution.
And so when its assistant curator, Chad Alligood, came through Las Vegas last month to consider works by artists living or showing here for its State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibit (opening September 14 at the museum), the art community was buzzing.
Alligood and Crystal Bridges President Don Bacigalupi are in charge of whittling down a list of 10,000 potential artists to 1,000 to finally about 100 through studio and gallery visits throughout the country.
Artists were contacted through lists provided by art professionals in various communities. Several Las Vegas artists were contacted, including Philip Denker, Wendy Kveck and Erin Stellmon.
“It’s a big deal,” says Trifecta owner Marty Walsh. “They’re looking for work that taps into a sense of place, visually or politically. If we’re lucky enough to have an artist from Nevada represented, it would be awesome.”