Following a nationwide search to find the “most compelling art being created today,” representatives from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art selected 102 artists for its State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibit opening September 13 in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Among them is Justin Favela, who was one of several Las Vegas artists Crystal Bridges assistant curator, Chad Alligood, met with in January. Known for his piñata-inspired works that tap into social and cultural conversations, Favela will be exhibiting “Lowrider Pinata,” a souped-up version of his life-size 1964 Chevy Impala, created for a Route 66-themed exhibit last June at the Springs Preserve.
The sculpture, he says, touches on the history of Route 66, Chicano culture and the ostentatious display associated with Las Vegas (at the time he was working for the Liberace Foundation).
Alligood and Crystal Bridges President Don Bacigalupi met with nearly 1,000 artists across the country to make their decisions for the exhibit, designed to offer a glimpse of art currently being made in America in various media—paper, canvas, sculpture, video and installation.
“Presenting the exhibition at Crystal Bridges provides us an opportunity to see contemporary art in the broader historical context of the five centuries of American art in our collection, as well as connect us to what’s happening in American art at this moment,” Bacigalupi said in a prepared statement. “By examining a wide range of works by artists from across the country, we can gain insight into our nation as a whole: our collective passions, challenges, and concerns.”
Favela, whose “Untitled (Big Bird)” was recently featured in Trifecta Gallery’s Comedians and Magicians exhibit, curated by Andreana Donahue, is the only Nevada artist selected for the Crystal Bridges exhibit.
“It’s really exciting, but at the same time I’m nervous,” Favela says. “It’s kind of a challenge because I have to make a decision about my identity as an artist and take my art career seriously.
"This is definitely motivating. I’m in a museum show. That’s insane. I never thought I’d say that.”