Crystal Bridges & Beyond: Major Art Exhibitions On Display Now

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art brings together world-class art, nature and architecture for all visitors to enjoy this season. Nearby, 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Bentonville is hosting a new contemporary exhibit in its art galleries, as well as guided site tours twice a week.
Crystal Bridges is featuring two new bold exhibitions during winter 2019-20, in addition to its permanent collection of American art masterworks: 

North Forest Lights features installations of light, sound and special effects that come to life on the museum’s grounds in its magical North Forest, while Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today explores the connections between crystal and art throughout the world, spanning history and geography.

North Forest Lights

Thru February 16, 2020 | Venture outdoors to the museum’s trails to experience the North Forest Lights – a nighttime, multimedia experience unlike anything Crystal Bridges has done before! Created exclusively for Crystal Bridges by Montreal-based multimedia and entertainment studio Moment Factory, five distinct installations bring the forest to life with light, sound and sensory effects for a captivating, unforgettable adventure.

  • The Bridge – Visitors are enveloped in fog as lasers and lights give the illusion of water and mist flowing through the forest.
  • The Hearth – Guests are drawn to gather and commune around a digital fire pit, where a sculpture made of tree limbs and twigs appears to float as it is consumed by flames. Hymnal and gospel rhythms and melodies conjure a transcendent communion in the woods.
  • Whispering Tree – Engage in a private dialogue with a massive tree as lighting effects respond to the conversation, for all to see.
  • Forest Orchestra – Like an orchestra tuning itself into harmony with its surroundings, a variety of music styles such as ragtime, bluegrass and folk are enhanced by a light show.
  • Crystal Grove – Pixels of light appear through the trees in jewel-like fragments.


Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today 

Thru January 6 | Featuring specimens from ancient Egypt, Rome, China and beyond, this unique exhibition examines crystal in the world of art, as a natural element, as a relic in pop culture, and its ties to Arkansas.

With more than 70 works and objects, Crystals in Art features works of all sizes, from small crystal sculptures to large-scale installations. Featured artists include Andy Warhol, Marina Abramović, Ai Weiwei, Alexis Arnold, Olafur Eliasson and Cindy Sherman. The exhibition addresses themes in the history of crystals, such as science and religion, art and medicine, and aesthetic beauty and transformation. Showing the exhibition in Arkansas is significant as the state is the only location in North America where large-scale mining of quartz crystals takes place.

Contemporary Art at 21c Museum Hotel 

Thru September 2020 | The new exhibition at this boutique hotel in downtown Bentonville features work by Peruvian artist, activist and former diplomat at the United Nations, Jota Castro.

Refuge reveals the feeling of human connection through depictions of needing, seeking, and creating shelter. Works vary from paintings and photography to model trains and boats.


Guided Tours at 21c | Twice-weekly tours at 21c explain site-specific artwork throughout the museum (think green penguins), as well as the works and installations on display in the art galleries.

While you there, dine at 21c’s award-winning restaurant, The Hive, and explore the historic downtown square with its holiday lights, galleries, shops and dining options.


** Photo credits: TOP: North Forest Lights. MIDDLE: Crystals in Art, Ai Weiwei, Chandelier, 2015; Alexis Arnold, Smithsonian Nature Guide: Rocks and Minerals, 2019; Anthony James, Portal Icosahedron, 2019. BOTTOM: Refuge, Mohau Modisakeng (South African), Passage 7, 2017.


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