by Max Brantley
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens today in Bentonville and if you didn't have a timed ticket in advance, you won't be getting in today. I'm hoping for a report before long from Leslie Newell Peacock, who's seen the collection (spectacular, according to every art critic's piece I've read) and written quite a bit about it previously.
A ceremony is scheduled at 11 a.m. on the Bentonville square and the museum doors open at 12:30 p.m.
Sight unseen, it seems clear from press accounts that the scope is overwhelming. The depth of the Walton fortune and commitment augur well for growth and expansion. It will be a destination for art lovers from all over, even if the relatively small local population and more difficult accessibility mean it won't draw the hordes that throng the likes of the Metroplitan Museum in New York every day. I expect the usual Walton discussion will ensue here — about their politics, how they made and choose to spend their money and so forth. I have thoughts on those issues, regular readers well know. But I'm not of a mind to flyspeck this museum. Ars gratia artis.
PS — Yes, there's an Occupy Crystal Bridges event planned, with leafleting about Walmart practices. I hope Bentonville authorities respect their right to assemble and distribute information.
UPDATE: Here's Leslie Peacock's report.
UPDATE: Here's a Facebook gallery of pictures Brian Chilson got today. We'll add more today.