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Hursley’s ‘Warhol’ opens

Plus: More news from Bentonville.

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ALICE WITH FEMA TRAILERS: A photograph of post-Katrina New Orleans by Timothy Hursley, at the Arts Center.
  • ALICE WITH FEMA TRAILERS: A photograph of post-Katrina New Orleans by Timothy Hursley, at the Arts Center.

Architectural photographer Timothy Hursley got a magazine assignment in 1982 to shoot the new offices of Andy Warhol's Interview magazine at his studio, The Factory. Hursley shot the offices and more over four years at the old Con-Edison building in New York, including a shot of Warhol himself in the basement of the building.

Now, in conjunction with the Arkansas Arts Center's “Warhol: 15 Weeks of Fame,” an exhibit of Hursley's work, “Factories: Warhol, Sex and Disasters/Photographs by Tim Hursley,” opens Nov. 28 in the Strauss Gallery.

Hursley has made a name nationally and internationally with his work. His most recent assignment took him to Beijing for eight days to photograph the United States' new 500,000-square-foot embassy there. Among his own projects is a series of photographs of polygamists in Colorado City, Utah, shot in 2007; five of those help make up the “Sex” part of the “Factories” exhibit, along with dye transfer prints of shots Hursley made for his book, “Nevada Brothels: Candid Views of America's Legal Sex Industry.” The “Disasters” refers to photographs Hursley took in New Orleans after Katrina.

The show runs through Feb. 1.

 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art continues to roll out paintings from its collection. Curator Chris Crosman announced three at a talk he gave last week in Bentonville: John Mix Stanley's “The Buffalo Hunt” (1855), Robert Henri's “Jessica Penn in Black with White Plumes” (1908), and Fairfield Porter's “October Interior” (1963).

It helps to be in the right place at the right time — that is, next to Shannon Mitchell, the curator for the gallery at the University of Arkansas, at the 2005 event at which Alice Walton announced her plans to build the museum in Bentonville. Mitchell was studying the artist's renderings of the galleries-to-be and instantly remarked that a painting in the mock-up was a Fairfield Porter. Thanks to her expertise and our ears, the Times was able to report right away that the Porter was part of the collection. It sold at auction at Sotheby's in 2004 for $988,000 and is the most modern of the works announced in the collection.

Since plans for the museum were announced, the Times has tried to predict what paintings Walton may have bought for the museum by scouring auction records. So far, three predictions have proved correct — the Porter, a George deForest Brush and a Charles Bird King.

It would have been hard to surmise that Henri's “Jessica Penn” — a masterpiece portrait of a Ziegfeld Follies dancer in fancy dress and of elegant demeanor — was in Walton's collection, however. When it was auctioned at Christie's “Important American Paintings” sale in 2005, the art press buzzed with the information that the work sold to an anonymous buyer for $3.6 million, more than double the estimate and setting a record price for an Henri. But Christie's, which makes public the results of all its auctions back to 1998 on its website, omitted this particular transaction from its record of the 2005 auction.

Asked if Alice Walton had asked the auction house to pull the information, Eric Widing of Christie's said the omission was a technical error and had “no connection with Crystal Bridges.” Crystal Bridges curator Chris Crosman said that was his information as well. It's odd, though, said Lee Rosenbaum, an art writer whose work regularly appears in the Wall Street Journal. Uncorrected as well, so far, though Crosman said he believes the information can be found elsewhere on Christie's website.

The Stanley oil is perhaps the finest to be announced so far in Crystal Bridges' collection of mid-19th century Western scenes.

 

Hot Springs celebrates its 8th annual ArtBlast event for children on Saturday, Nov. 29, at the Civic Center. Activities will include making sculpture with aluminum foil with members of the Arkansas Sculptors Guild; potpourri making with flowers from Garvan Gardens; painting body silhouettes with shaving cream and food coloring with Mid-America Science Museum representatives, and an interactive documentary film experience at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute booth.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for ages 4-18.

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