State of the Art draws record attendance at Crystal Bridges

Danial Nord’s sculpture might be one of the most impactful works in the State of the Art exhibit. Made entirely of old television parts, the work depicts a giant Mickey Mouse figure laying on the floor in a dark room, illuminated only by slivers of light that occasionally escape from the structure. An audio loop made from fragments of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song blasts from the inside of the figure, adding to the unsettling nature of the work.

Danial Nord: state of the art / Photo: Gene Ogamistate

It’s official. State of the Art has become the most viewed exhibition in the three-year history of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, officials announced this week.

The free exhibit, which runs through Jan. 19, has attracted more than 127,000 visitors since opening in mid-September.

Museum curators logged more than 100,000 miles crisscrossing the country to visit nearly 1,000 potential artists for the collection. The idea was to provide exposure for some emerging artists that haven’t been discovered on a national scale.

Jonathan Schipper’s “Slow Room” / Photo: Dustin Bartholomew

State of the Art occupies 19,000 square feet of museum space, in addition to installations on the museum grounds and in downtown Bentonville.

The exhibit captured the national spotlight with media coverage that included a CBS Evening News story, and a Huffington Post list of the 15 best art exhibitions of 2014.

“State of the Art is exceptional in terms of the curatorial approach and also represents the largest exhibition since we opened the museum in 2011,” said Rod Bigelow, museum executive director. “It’s been rewarding to see the way guests are connecting and sharing the stories and ideas from the exhibition.”

“As a new museum in the middle of the country, we have a unique vantage point in which to tell the American story. State of the Art is an important part of that narrative, providing a broad look at contemporary art within the context of our five centuries of American art, and inspiring conversations about issues that affect us all.”

» Have a look at some of our favorite works from State of the Art