Forbes Magazine has a pretty good piece this month on Alice Walton
. It calls her "America's Richest Art Collector," which, as Culturegrrl Lee Rosenbaum
points out, is incorrect — there are richer Americans and they do collect art. Interestingly, Clare O'Connor's piece calls Walton's museum — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art — her "shot at redemption."
There are a few new (to me) bits of information here, including a story about Walton giving a tour to a young man who tells her he's as "fine as a hair on a frog" when she asks, and her desire to get a carrier like Southwest or Jet Blue to stop at XNA and bring new folks to the museum. I also didn't know she was married twice, not once, before.
O'Connor also got Walton to muse on some of the collection. Here's she is on Warhol's "Hammer and Sickle" at the museum:
She stops again at Andy Warhol’s 1977 “Hammer and Sickle,” a blood-red painted screen print of the Communist symbol she picked up for $3.4 million at Sotheby’s as part of a recent 20th-century art buying spree, partly to quiet critics who’ve called her collection unbalanced.
“I started thinking, How do you talk about those 30 years of friction between the Soviet Union and the United States, the McCarthy era, the bomb shelters, the school drills we all got so used to?” she says. “That one painting is the door."
There's old stuff too — the DWIs, the criticism from New York over her acquisition of "Kindred Spirits," etc. Rosenbaum has published a gripe
about how she is represented in the reporting.
O'Connor declares that the exhibition of the works Walton acquired a half-interest in from Fisk University in Memphis — which features a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe and goes on exhibit in November
— "Walton’s greatest victory yet over naysayers." Frankly, I think that victory occurred Nov. 11, 2011.