The Usonian House at Crystal Bridges

Homes

I love homes, old ones…the one’s people design with intent and artistic panache. Pamela and I first learned an original Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home was coming to Crystal Bridges on a trip to visit the museum over a year ago, it was a brilliant surprise! Wright, a native of Chicago (Oak Park is a complete Joy) didn’t often visit my part of the country. There are a few notable exceptions like Price Tower in Oklahoma (Wright’s only skyscraper), but the best work is not close…until now! There are obvious restrictions, but you can schedule (you need an appointment before hand complete with time of entry) a tour of the Bachman-Wilson House, either guided or self-guided. The symmetry and detail here are completely thought out and elegantly executed. The engineering feet to completely deconstruct a home and build it a new is also quite impressive. I say it all the time, but Crystal Bridges is a Gem of the Ozarks!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 4 June, 2017
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 500
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s
  • Title: The Usonian House at Crystal Bridges

William J Clinton Presidential Library

Presidential

Pamela is always been into government. Before we started dating, I had never voted (what was I THINKING!). We took a short trip recently that was coupled with our viewing of the Chihuly exhibit at Crystal Bridges. This is the main public exhibit of some of the documents, a fraction of the total library. It’s a beautiful space complete with a replica of the White House Cabinet Room and The Oval Office. There are also multiple multi-media displays recanting the accomplishments and difficulties of Bill Clinton’s two terms. If you like history (and/or the Clinton’s) it’s totally worth a trip!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 June, 2017
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 1250
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: William J Clinton Presidential Library

Chihuly in the Woods

Something New

Crystal Bridges is an amazing space. It’s not because they have my favorite art. It’s not because of the founders. It is honestly about what appears, at least to me, to be part of their core philosophy around art and nature. The degree to which these two are inextricably tied, how one complements…feeds the other. Both elements speak strongly to me personally. I find the best of humanity though art. I find the best of myself in nature. I think that is what I liked so much about this Chihuly show. The jaring nature of glass in the wild. These delicate creations interwoven among the trees and rocks and fallen leaves.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 3 June, 2017
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s

Red Glass Chihuly Bowls

Chihuly Bowls

This is perhaps a more familiar form explored by Dale Chihuly and on display at the Crystal Bridges of American Art. You should go visit the display and the museum if you haven’t been in a while (of have not been at all). The have some wonderful pieces and one of the few museums in the world where you get to listen to people regularly exclaim, “Well I do that”!

(not something you regularly hear in the Chihuly show)

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 3 June, 2017
  • Focal length: 18mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: Red Glass Chihuly Bowls

Glass Alien Chihuly Outdoors

The Lunchbox Has Landed

One of the great artistic resources living in the Ozarks is The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It is arguably one of the finest American Art Museums in the world, and I am flabbergasted how often I run across people who don’t even know of its existence. Pamela and I recently made a trip down to Arkansas to visit the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock and on the way home we stopped in to see the Usonain house newly relocated to the grounds. We just so happened to coordinate our visit with a fun Dale Chihuly Outdoor display (another of our favorites). This is the first of a few I will be posting over the next few weeks. It reminded me of some sort of alien form (or if you are into Magic…Emrakul).

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 3 June, 2017
  • Focal length: 22mm
  • ISO: 500
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

In the Garden of St Elizabeth’s

Church Garden

This beautiful little scene was waiting quietly for us one hot May afternoon. It was a welcome respite from the blazing sun and a serene spot to sit and contemplate. When you find spots that seem like a gift, this can be a great time to stop, and smell the proverbial roses, metaphorically or in this case the real thing!

Photo Technical Info

Pea Ridge Cannon

History Lessons

We almost didn’t stop, but the sign on the Pea Ridge National Military Park said it was National Park’s weekend and admission was free. I turned around three times before we finally firmly decided to stop. We would have been better off with more time and a more dedicated understanding of the history of the battle fought here, but despite our military ignorance, we found a number of really cool places at the park. The Elkhorn Tavern and the Civil War era cannons scattered around the park were wonderful. It goes to show, even if you don’t have the proper time to dedicate to a place, a quick stop will tell you if you should come back for a more through tour!

Photo Technical Info

Crystal Bridges on the Trail

Out Back

One of the fantastic parts of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville Arkansas is the hiking trails around the buildings. Perhaps the greatest treasure of Arkansas is in fact the outdoors. It is also fitting that one of the nations premiere American Art museums should devote such a grand “space” to nature itself. You can’t help but feel like perhaps the greatest exhibit is outside the confines of the walls of Crystal Bridges and rather out in the open air of the Natural State. One early morning Pamela and I hit the trails and took some photos. You can also see my last color shot of the Crystal Bridges Museum here.

Mother and Child

Madonna

No not THAT Madonna, think a little older. While visiting a wonderful hidden chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I found this status nestled in a cozy little corner of the church. I think perhaps she (but especially the baby) wanted to have her picture taken. I was only happy to obliged…who am I to say no to a lady.

Somewhere in the Ozark Mountains

Heritage

I often prefer the big city, the ancient structure, the regal palace…its easy. Places like Sequoia National Forest or the Eiffel Tower are hard not to love. The most celebrated treasures of the world should be adored, but there are things closer to home, things we see every day which we too often ignore in our hustle and bustle world. The wonders of our own backyards should never be forgotten. I thought of this on a drive home from Eureka Springs Arkansas when I took this photo at a random scenic overlook. The treasure of others sparkle so brightly while we often ignore the glory and beauty of what we ourselves possess. Be thankful for your blessings. Be thankful to be where you are today…tomorrow it maybe gone.

HDR Photography
Somewhere in the Ozark Mountains by W. Brian Duncan