Crystal Bridges announces four additions to permanent collection

Amy Sherald
Precious jewels by the sea, 2019, Oil on canvas, 120 x 108 x 2 ½ in.© AmySherald. Image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Photo: Joseph Hyde

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced the acquisitions of four new works – all by contemporary female artists – to be part of the museum’s permanent collection.

The acquisitions include a work by Amy Sherald titled Precious jewels by the sea (2019), Companion Species (Speech Bubble) (2019) by Marie Watt, Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire) (1980-83/2009) by Lorraine O’Grady, and She Gives (Quiet Strength V) (2019) by Dyani White Hawk.

“These acquisitions demonstrate Crystal Bridges’ commitment to developing an inclusive American art collection—and exhibition program,” said Austen Barron Bailly, chief curator, Crystal Bridges. “We made great strides in 2019 by organizing and presenting exhibitions that featured artists from a wide range of backgrounds, including female artists of color such as Amy Sherald; Men of Steel, Women of Wonder; and Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Now. Looking ahead to a new decade, we are excited to continue to highlight the contributions of underrepresented artists to American art history, many of whom are introduced to Crystal Bridges audiences through our exhibitions.”

Sherald is best known as the portraitist that was chosen by first lady Michelle Obama in 2019 to paint her portrait for the National Portrait Gallery. She has previously hosted solos shows featuring her work at Crystal Bridges, and at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

Precious jewels by the sea is more than 10 feet high and nine feet wide, and depicts a group of teenagers at the beach. The work will be on view sometime in early 2020.

Marie Watt, Companion Species (Speech Bubble), 2019. Reclaimed wool blankets, embroidery floss, and thread. 136 5/8 in. × 198 1/2 in.

Image courtesy of Crystal Bridges

Artist Marie Watt, a member of the Seneca Nation, is best known for her Blanket Stories, works that “interweave Indigehous knowledge, intercultural exchange, and personal biographies.” Her works are part of the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, Seattle Art Museum, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Companion Species (Speech Bubble) (2019) was made of embroidered reclaimed blankets and thread by participants at various Crystal Bridges events, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Art Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, and the Cherokee Arts Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in the fall of 2018. The work is more than 11 feet high, and 16 feet long, and is scheduled to be on view in the fall of 2020.

Lorraine O’Grady
Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire), 1980-1983/2009. Silver gelatin fiber print in 14 parts. Framed: each 15 1/8 in. × 15 1/8 in. × 1 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Image courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York

Lorraine O’Grady is a visual artist who “addresses feminist concerns and cultural perspectives,” and works in a variety of mediums including performance, photo installation, moving media, and photomontage. Her works are on display at he Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Tate Modern, London, UK; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.

Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire) (1980-83/2009), is a series of photographs documenting O’Grady’s first public artwork, a performance art piece in which she wore a gown and cape made of 180 pairs of white gloves, gave away 36 white flowers, beat herself with a white cat-o-nine-tails, and shouted poems that criticized the mindsets of the white and the black art worlds. The work is set to be on view sometime this year.

Dyani White Hawk, She Gives (Quiet Strength V), 2019. Acrylic on canvas. 60 X 48 in.

Image courtesy Bockley Gallery

Dyani White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota artist, an Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow, and a recipient of the 2019 United States Artists Fellowship in Visual Art, among other awards. Her artwork appears at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Denver Art Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

She is best known for her intricate paintings that embed or mimc aspects of her Lakota heritage. She Gives (Quiet Strength V) is set to be on view sometime this spring.