Pop art and glass aficionados should plan trips to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art this spring to see exhibitions by the two artists most closely identified with those genres: Roy Lichtenstein and Dale Chihuly.
But first, see Crystal Bridges' "Border Cantos: Sight & Sound Explorations from the Mexican-American Border," an exhibition that ties closely to the immigration issue that President Trump has brought to a fearful boil. "Border Cantos" combines Richard Misrach's large photographs of the Mexico-United States border with artifacts turned into musical instruments by sculptor-composer Guillermo Galindo. Misrach, working along the border for many years, captures scenes of vast desert bisected by the border fence, people peering through the fence, an altar hung from the fence. Galindo, working with border detritus — boots, tires, shotgun shells picked up by Misrach — has crafted sound-making sculpture. Northwest Arkansas art appraiser and consultant Shannon Mitchell describes the show as "the most powerful thing I've seen," the photographs "haunting" and the instruments, some relating to daVinci machines, "poignant."
The museum offers special guided tours of the exhibition, along with films "The Borders Trilogy" by Alex Rivera (March 13) and "800 Mile Wall" by John Carlos Frey (March 17), a concert by La Elegancia (March 16) and a lecture by Luis Urrea, author of "The Devil's Highway" (March 31). The exhibition runs through April 24. Find more at crystalbridges.org.
Also on view starting Friday, March 3, is "Roy Lichtenstein in Focus," five large early works by the artist famed for his comic-book imagery. The works come from both the collection of Crystal Bridges and loans from other museums. The Lichtenstein exhibition runs through July.
Master glass craftsman Dale Chihuly, as co-founder of the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, has spawned a whole generation of blown-glass artists who admire his ability to make glass forms that recall natural forms in startling colors along with subtle, milky vessels and seaform shapes. "Chihuly: In the Gallery" will pair his slumped glass baskets with the artist's own collection of Northwest Coast Native American baskets that inspired them; in the "Persian Room," glassworks hung from above will swath the gallery in color. "Chihuly: In the Gallery" runs through Aug. 14.
Outdoors, Chihuly glass sculptures will be installed along curving paved paths in the north forest of the museum grounds. "Chihuly: In the Forest" runs through Nov. 13.
Ansel Adams photographs, lyrical modernist landscapes by Herman Maril and the annual Mid-Southern Watercolorists juried show continue at the Arkansas Arts Center through April 16.
The Adams show features his early photographs of the Western landscape, capping an American school of art celebrating the monumental West in its pristine form. "Ansel Adams: Early Works" is accompanied by an exhibit of 25 black- and-white photographs from a bequest to the Arts Center by Little Rock photographer William E. Davis.
Enhancing the viewer experience with the Maril show: Arts Center curator of drawings Ann Prentice Wagner, who has studied the Baltimore artist for eight years and who likens his work to that of Matisse, Cezanne and Braque, has authored the catalog for "Herman Maril: The Strong Forms of Our Experience." The exhibition, organized by the University of Maryland Art Gallery in College Park in conjunction with the Arts Center, features both oils and works on paper.