Crystal Bridges announces artists for 2017 Distinguished Speaker Series

Courtesy photos

Some of the most interesting people in the world are coming to share their ideas in northwest Arkansas in 2017.

That’s thanks to the folks at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, who just announced the lineup for their Distinguished Speaker Series for 2017.

The series, intended to “inspire new ways of thinking about art, architecture, and nature” will feature artists Marina Abramović, Lynda Benglis, and Carrie Mae Weems, as well as musician Jason Moran, fashionistas Lisa Perry and Yvonne Force Villareal, and Chef’s Table creators David Gelb and Brian McGinn.

The series will kick off with a lecture by artist Marina Abramović on March 24. Abramović is considered to be a pioneer in the world of performance art. Her career has spanned five decades and her work explores the relationship between artist and audience, pushing the limits and boundaries of the physical and mental. She is also the founder of the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), and the author of a memoir titled Walk Through Walls.

Perry and Force Villareal will speak on April 20. Perry is a fashion designer, lover of vintage, and avid collector with an impressive collection of Pop Art, and Force Villareal is co-founder of the Art Production Fund, an organization that commissions ambitious public art projects.

David Gelb and Brian McGinn, creators of the popular Netflix series Chef’s Table, will speak at 7 p.m. on July 14. The two will share stories about the show, and discuss how exploring the personal lives of some of the world’s greatest chefs has helped them uncover the passion and creative inspiration behind their delicious food.

Jazz musician Jason Moran will speak in the fall on Sept. 21. Moran is known as a risk taker and innovator in his field, and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010. His music is frequently inspired by visual artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Egon Schiele, and Robert Rauschenberg. Moran will punctuate his lecture with short performances of his music.

Benglis, who will speak on Nov. 3, has a piece titled Eat Meaton display as part of Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection. Her work has been described as existing “in an indefinable space between painting and sculpture,” and “exploring metaphorical and biomorphic shapes as well as the materiality of the surface.”

Artist Carrie Mae Weems, who will give a lecture on Dec. 8, is considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists today. Crystal Bridges recently acquired Weems’ photograph series The Kitchen Table, which was on view in the 2016 temporary exhibition Black Unity. Her work is known for its ability to investigate family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power.

All of the lectures begin at 7 p.m. in Crystal Bridges’ Great Hall, and will last about an hour.

Tickets are $10 for the public, and $8 for Crystal Bridges members. To purchase, you can register online, or call 479-657-2335