The New York Times announces the Walton family is opening a new museum for Contemporary in Bentonville as an extension of the Crystal Bridges museum. Acknowledging that the converted factory is now a cliché for museum projects, the Times gets to the point with this observation that highlights the importance of Contemporary art as an anchor for community and economic growth:
Tom Walton, who is also developing a culinary center in downtown Bentonville, said the Kraft plant, which closed in 2012, helped shape the museum’s thinking about the need for a place where it could do things it might not be able to on the site of its permanent collection. He said that he thought of the industrial space as a “kind of living room for the community,” where art, music, performance and food would be on offer in unexpected ways. The site is being developed in consultation with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and will be reshaped by Wheeler Kearns Architects of Chicago to maintain its industrial feel.
Another impetus for the new space, officials said, was the museum’s unusual 2014 exhibition, “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now,” in which two curators traveled extensively through the United States, visiting the studios and homes of thousands of little-known and emerging artists and eventually choosing the work of 102 as a kind of contemporary-art snapshot. Chad Alligood, one of the exhibition’s curators, said that it had provided Crystal Bridges with “a fantastic baseline” for experimenting. But it had also presented the museum with a problem: where to show much of the contemporary art it was seeing and sometimes acquiring.
Crystal Bridges Museum to Open New Space for Contemporary Art (The New York Times)