The Momentary announces opening date, initial lineup of exhibitions

Rendering of The Momentary / Courtesy, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The new contemporary art space and performance venue planned at the site of the former Kraft Foods factory in downtown Bentonville released its opening date, along with information on the first two exhibits planned at the new facility.

Crystal Bridges officials this week announced that its satellite museum, to be called the Momentary, will officially open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

In addition to the opening date news, museum officials released information on the first two exhibits planned at the Momentary for 2020, including State of the Art II (the follow up to the highly successful original State of the Art examining some of the best contemporary art in the country at Crystal Bridges a few years ago) opening along with the museum on Feb. 22, followed by an exhibit featuring work by artist Nick Cave titled Until beginning that summer.

Part of State of the Art II will also be on display at Crystal Bridges, where several other exhibits announced Monday will take place. Those include a survey of the work of artist Hank Willis Thomas called All Things Being Equal, a show featuring Ansel Adams photography called In Our Time, and an examination of the craft movement simply called Craft.

“We are excited to begin this new decade exploring art at Crystal Bridges and the soon-to-be opened Momentary,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges executive director & chief diversity and inclusion officer. “Whether the artists are familiar to our visitors or completely unknown, these exhibitions look at history, our natural landscape, art movements, and current culture through a broad set of objects and perspectives.”

The Momentary was announced in 2016 and given its name in the fall of 2017. and will be a satellite of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Courtesy, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The Momentary, however, will focus on “visual, performance, and culinary discovery” with an emphasis on contemporary art. Once complete, the facility will also include studio space for resident artists, restaurant space, green space for concerts and events, and a rooftop bar.

“While Crystal Bridges provides that deep historical context in a museum setting, The Momentary will have a much more experimental feel,” Bigelow said last year. “It encourages visitors to interact and get engaged in different ways, to have those conversations about the art making project process, all toward the goal of extending the story of American art through today, in our moment.”

Officials last year announced a $2 million gift from Walmart, Inc. will provide free general admission for visitors to the museum initially, and will also help to pay for exhibitions, artist programs, festivals, and other amenities.

The museum is planning to celebrate pre-opening with an outdoor concert event on its grounds on Oct. 5. The event will include live music, a look into 2020 programming, and more.

More information about the exhibits coming to Crystal Bridges and The Momentary are available below.

Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal…

When: February 8 – April 20, 2020
Where: Crystal Bridges
More info: Who controls the frame, controls the narrative. Combining familiar images from sports and advertising with histories of art and politics, conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas examines popular culture, and how art can raise awareness in the ongoing struggle for social justice and civil rights. Featuring 70 artworks including photographs, sculptures, and mixed media, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… is the first comprehensive survey of this acclaimed and award-winning artist’s career.

At the same time that the Momentary, a satellite contemporary art space of Crystal Bridges, is making its grand opening, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… provides another opportunity to see an exhibition that underscores the importance of contemporary art in approaching complex topics and thinking critically about the world around us.

Created by the Portland Art Museum, this exhibition includes Thomas’ well known Branded series of artworks. His global public art project In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth) was featured in downtown Bentonville in 2016. Thomas’s work is in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, among others. He has been an instructor in the MFA program at Yale University and the Maryland Institute College of Art and is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship award winner.

This exhibition is organized by the Portland Art Museum, Oregon.

State of the Art II

When: February 22 – May 24, 2020
Where: Crystal Bridges and the Momentary
More info: Crystal Bridges begins the new decade with the opening of the Momentary, a new space for contemporary visual and performing arts, and the debut of State of the Art II at both locations. This new exhibition continues the journey launched in State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now (2014), for which Crystal Bridges curators traveled across America to discover artists working around the country. The resulting exhibition featured 102 artists, debuted at Crystal Bridges, traveled to five additional museums, and became the subject of a PBS documentary.

State of the Art II features a new curatorial team, bringing fresh perspectives. Lauren Haynes, curator, contemporary art at Crystal Bridges and curator of visual arts at the Momentary, is developing the exhibition along with Alejo Benedetti, assistant curator, contemporary art, and Allison Glenn, associate curator, contemporary art, both from Crystal Bridges.

Haynes, Benedetti, and Glenn visited contemporary artists around the country, determining a brand new selection of artists and artworks to feature at the two venues. Discover a collection of talented artists working today, exploring themes of nature, globalism, technology, and more.

State of the Art II Curators (left to right) Allison Glenn, Lauren Haynes, and Alejo Benedetti at the Momentary

Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Ansel Adams: In Our Time

Where: May 23 – September 7, 2020
Where: Crystal Bridges
More info: This summer, take a trip across the American West through the lens of iconic American photographer Ansel Adams, together with more than 20 contemporary photographers.

For more than 50 years, Ansel Adams captured the breathtaking beauty of the country’s natural landscape in stunning black-and-white photographs. Ansel Adams: In Our Time, a new exhibition developed by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, displays Adams’s work alongside contemporary artists whose modern-day environmental concerns point directly to Adams’s legacy.

Visit national parks, the American Southwest, and desert and wilderness spaces through 180 photographs as you move back and forth in time with Ansel Adams and his contemporary successors including Mark Klett, Trevor Paglen, Catherine Opie, Abelardo Morell, Victoria Sambunaris, and Binh Danh, exploring similar themes in a changing American landscape.

This exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere

When: July 4 – October 11, 2020
Where: Crystal Bridges
More info: Patriot, silversmith, and entrepreneur Paul Revere is often known through his legendary “midnight ride” during the American Revolution. Developed by American Antiquarian Society, Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere is a groundbreaking exhibition that illuminates Revere’s life, transforming our understanding of the innovative businessman through an in-depth exploration of his accomplishments as a silversmith and printmaker.

Opening at Crystal Bridges on the nation’s 244th birthday, journey back in time through this collection of Revere’s original engravings of famous events such as the Boston Massacre, glimmering silver tea services, commonplace objects such as thimbles and wedding rings, and important public commissions such as a bronze courthouse bell. The exhibition also includes surprising objects, such as a bottle of tea from the Boston Tea Party, all of which reveal interesting parts of the artisan’s career.

Over 80 objects highlight Revere’s life as an entrepreneur, artisan, and political figure during a time of social, economic, and political turmoil.

Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere was organized by American Antiquarian Society.

Nick Cave: Until

When: July 18, 2020 – January 3, 2021
Where: The Momentary
More info: For Until, Nick Cave creates his largest and most ambitious project yet, taking us deep into the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits. The exhibition, just like these previous works, question gender, race, and violence—in particular, gun violence—in America.

To do this, Cave began with the question, “Is there racism in heaven?” His response is an immersive space made up of thousands of wind spinners with images of guns, bullets, and targets along with a cloudscape encrusted in ceramic birds, beaded flowers, and cast-iron lawn jockeys. Until is an exhibition as well as a platform for engagement; during its time at the Momentary, the installation will come to life with a lineup of performances about community, identity, and more.

Above all else, Nick Cave: Until invites us to take a moment of contemplation about where we are today and what the future may look like.

Nick Cave: Until was organized by MASS MoCA and co-produced by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art of Bentonville, Arkansas, and CarriageWorks of Sydney, Australia, with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Jack Shainman Gallery, and the Robert Lehman Foundation.

Nick Cave: Until / Photo: Courtesy MASS MoCA

Craft (working title)

When: October 10, 2020 – February 1, 2021
Where: Crystal Bridges
More info: Craft, a new exhibition developed by Crystal Bridges, celebrates the skill and individuality of craft within the broad context of American art.

Featuring over 90 works in ceramics, fiber, wood, metal, glass, and more unexpected materials, Craft presents an inclusive story of American craft from the 1940s to today, featuring artists such as Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks, and Faith Ringgold. From the vital contributions of Indigenous artists to the new skills and points of view brought by immigrants to the United States, this exhibition highlights personal creativity, innovation, and the technical skill that animates a broad range of objects.

Developed by Crystal Bridges Assistant Curator Jen Padgett and guest curator Glenn Adamson, scholar of craft, design history, and contemporary art, Craft presents a fresh perspective on the importance of craft in American art.

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit