Nothing speaks to Americana more than Norman Rockwell. The temporary exhibition, American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, opens March 9 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and runs through May 27.
One of the most popular American artists of the past century, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was a keen observer of human nature and a gifted storyteller. This traveling exhibition features 50 original paintings and all 323 Saturday Evening Post covers that document Rockwell’s engagement in American life in all its glory and tragedy over five decades. The exhibition also includes materials from the Museum’s archives demonstrating how Rockwell worked: proceeding from preliminary sketches, photographs, color studies, and detailed drawings to the finished painting. Timed, reserved tickets are required to view this exhibition.
Tickets: $12 non-members ages 19 and up. Free for Members and guests ages 18 and under. Purchase tickets online or at Guest Services.
A host of activities and programs will be geared around this exhibit. Also, March brings a wide range of art classes and workshops for everyone from preschoolers to adults, as well as free, family-friendly activities throughout the week of Spring Break, March 16 – 24.
Here are just a few of the events we can look forward to:
Sunday, March 3, 1 to 4 pm
Fairy-Tale Ball | One District, One Book Celebration
In partnership with the Bentonville Public School District and Bentonville Public Library, Crystal Bridges hosts the culminating celebration of One District, One Book: a city-wide reading project for students in elementary and middle school. Michael Buckley, author of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, this year’s focus book, will be here to give presentations at 2 and 3:30 p.m. In addition, a host of activities will be offered throughout the Museum, including music and dancing, performances by the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra and the String Coalition, activities with Trike Theatre and Project Play, a Fairy-Tale scavenger hunt in the galleries, art-making activities and more. All activities are free. No registration required. To learn more about One District, One Book, visit readtothem.org.
Monday, March 4, 1 to 2 pm
The Great Reveal | Artist as Illustrator—featuring an 1874 rare book by Thomas Moran
Join librarian Jason Dean on a rare book journey to discover the artist as illustrator, starting with Yellowstone National Park, and the mountain regions of portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah, printed in 1876 and featuring 15 chromolithographic plates illustrated by Thomas Moran. These are some of the best examples of American chromolithography, showcasing Moran’s watercolors and sketches on a government-sponsored assignment to illustrate the Yellowstone National Park region. Crystal Bridges is one of only approximately 20 libraries worldwide that hold a copy of this rare and beautiful book. Dean will also bring out other rare books of artists as illustrators including the 1948 printing of the Boy Scouts of America handbook, with cover illustration by Norman Rockwell; a reprint of the 1874 edition of The Courtin’, illustrated by Winslow Homer; and Crooked Trails, an 1898 collection of short stories by Frederic Remington, illustrated with 49 of Remington’s drawings. For more information, click here. Free with online reservations.
Friday, March 8, 6:30 to 8 pm
Film | Norman Rockwell’s World: An American Dream
25-minute film followed by an audience discussion.
This Academy Award-winning short film is a rare look into the life and work of American artist Norman Rockwell. With commentary by Rockwell himself, the film offers a detailed study of this national legend through photographs, his paintings, his covers from the Saturday Evening Post, archival film footage, and reenactments from the artist’s life. This portrait of Rockwell captures his creative vision and the essence of his work, which portrayed the hopes and dreams of the American people. Free for Members | $10 for non-members. Purchase tickets online or at Guest Services.
Saturday, March 9, 5 to 5:45 pm
Norman Rockwell Chronicles America:
A Conversation with Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of Norman Rockwell Museum
Hear from Director of the Norman Rockwell Museum Laurie Moffatt in a conversation on “Norman Rockwell Chronicles America.” Moffatt will review with the audience a selection of key images by Rockwell, and lead a group discussion that continues her dialogue on the great American artist. This is a special opportunity for those who were unable to obtain tickets to Moffat’s opening exhibition lecture “Rockwell Reflections.” Please note that this event requires a ticket, and is separate from the lecture event. The talk is located in the Great Hall, doors open at 4:45 p.m. for early seating.
Tickets: $10 for non-members, and free for Members. Purchase tickets online or at Guest Services.
Saturday, March 16, 3:30 to 4:15 pm
Art Talk | Conversations about Rosie the Riveter
Speakers: Director of Education Niki Stewart and University of Arkansas Assistant Professor of Political Science Angie Maxwell
Location: Early Twentieth-Century Art Gallery
In honor of Women’s History Month, Director of Education and Exhibitions Niki Stewart and Assistant Professor of Political Science Angie Maxwell will lead a conversation about the changing role of women in the work force during the 1940s, and their challenges in performing tough job tasks during World War II. Free. No registration required.
March 16 through 24, 11 am to 6 pm
Spring Break Special
Drop in during Spring Break to enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities, including live performances, art making, improv and puppetry with Trike Theatre, collecting and creating Nature Circles with Project Play, gallery hunts, and more. Free. No registration required.
Thursday, March 28, 1 to 1:45 pm
Art Talk | Views on American Chronicles
Speaker: Curator of American Art Kevin Murphy
Location: Temporary Exhibition Gallery
*Admission to the exhibition American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell will be free for this special exhibition talk; please check in at the exhibition’s main doors for admittance.
The scenes of American life painted by Norman Rockwell may present a rosy and picture-perfect ideal; yet dig deeper with Curator of American Art Kevin Murphy to discover darker truths underlying American society between the 1940s and 1970s, and how Rockwell’s iconic illustrations may have more than one interpretation.
Free. No registration required. Click here for more information.
For full details on the lectures, films, art classes and more accompanying this exhibition, visit http://crystalbridges.org/Exhibitions/rockwell
A full listing of March programs is below. Information and registration are also available on the calendar of events on Crystal Bridges’ website: http://calendar.crystalbridges.org/.