Crystal Bridges debuts two exhibitions: Warhol's Nature and Jamie Wyeth

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Crystal Bridges debuts two exhibitions: Warhol's Nature and Jamie Wyeth
Jamie Wyeth, Kent House, 1972. Oil on canvas, 30 × 40 in. Brandywine River Museum of Art. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wyeth, 1985. Photography courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. © Jamie Wyeth.

BENTONVILLE, ARK.- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces Warhol’s Nature, on view through October 5, and the opening of Jamie Wyeth, on view July 25 through October 5, 2015. Admission is $8 for a combined ticket from July 25 – October 5 and as always, temporary exhibitions are free for museum members and youth ages 18 and under.

“Presenting these exhibitions concurrently provides viewers the chance to experience art by two contemporaries with distinct artistic styles and different worldviews. The exhibitions explore the life and career of Warhol and Wyeth, and uncover a fascinating and lesser-known friendship between the artists,” says Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges Executive Director.

In November, 1975, realist painter Jamie Wyeth asked Andy Warhol, whom he’d met some years earlier, if he could paint his portrait. “Well, you do one of me and I’ll do one of you,” the Pop icon replied; and in February, 1976, Wyeth arrived at Warhol’s New York studio known as The Factory for three months of intense collaboration. The portraits each made of the other—some 36 drawings, prints, and paintings— appeared in a joint exhibition at the Coe Kerr Gallery in June, 1976. The two artists became close friends, often spending weekends together at Wyeth’s family home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and remained close until Warhol’s death in 1987.

Warhol’s Nature: July 4 – October 5, 2015
Warhol’s Nature was organized by Crystal Bridges Curator Chad Alligood and drawn primarily from the extensive collections of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Visitors will have the opportunity to view 87 paintings, prints, photographs, and video, as well as documents and personal objects from Warhol’s personal collection. Through these objects, exhibited together for the first and only time, the artist’s complex relationship to nature emerges. Although well known for his responsiveness to popular culture and advertising, Warhol simultaneously explored the natural world, depicting landscapes, flora, and fauna in innovative and surprising ways.

“Warhol’s engagement with nature is an important area of study and largely overlooked. We’re excited to present the untold story, uncovering layers of Pop to reveal an artist deeply interested in cultivating and preserving the nature outside and the nature within us all,” says Crystal Bridges Curator, Chad Alligood.

Well-known artworks include Warhol’s Self-Portrait in his infamous fright wig overlaid with camouflage; the iconic and pivotal Flowers series of the 1960s; Silver Clouds, an interactive installation; and 10 images from the Endangered Species series. In addition to the works and archival elements, Warhol-inspired programs and resources are available to provide visitors a richer and more meaningful experience. A Spotify playlist offers an exhibition soundtrack with songs by the Velvet Underground and a mix of culturally relevant tunes spanning the 1960s and ‘70s. Listen HERE, (a free Spotify account is required). On Friday, August 14, the museum celebrates a full night of Andy Warhol with a free, pre-show conversation about the artist as a filmmaker and manager of The Velvet Underground, followed by a multi-media concert on Walker Landing, 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests, Between the events , visitors can enjoy a Warhol-themed tasting menu and live music in the museum restaurant, Eleven.

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” –Andy Warhol

For both Warhol’s Nature and Jamie Wyeth, a Selfie Booth will be available for visitors to fashion their image with the flash of Warhol or the mystery of Wyeth by recreating works in the exhibitions.

Jamie Wyeth: July 25 through October 5, 2015
Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the exhibition debuts the first major retrospective of this American artist, with 90 works on view. Jamie Wyeth examines six decades of the artist’s career and charts the evolution of his creative process from his earliest childhood drawings through recurring themes inspired by the people, places and objects that populate his world. The exhibition displays paintings, works on paper, illustrations and objects in a range of “combined mediums”—Wyeth’s preferred term for the distinctive technique he brings to many of his compositions.

Alligood says, “This body of work provides an intimate glimpse into the artist’s life and offers new insight into contemporary realism.” He adds, “Wyeth will be considered amongst the painters he emulated and admired, such as Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Edward Hopper, all of whom can be found in the Crystal Bridges collection.”

The third generation in a family of artists including his grandfather, Newell Convers “N.C.” Wyeth (1882–1945); his father, Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009); and his aunt, Carolyn Wyeth (1909–1994); Jamie Wyeth has blazed his own unique path. He was encouraged to pursue art at a young age, but never attended art school. Instead, he left school at the age of 11 and received instruction at home from his aunt, a surrealist painter, with critical guidance from his father. Later, Wyeth studied anatomy by sketching cadavers in a New York City morgue, and worked with Andy Warhol in The Factory. His strain of realism has consequently evolved in directions that are significantly different from that of his grandfather and father.

Wyeth’s Portrait of Shorty (1963), painted when he was 17, reflects the culmination of his early years as an apprentice within his own family circle, while his formative years during the 1960s and ’70s produced paintings such as his Portrait of John F. Kennedy (1967). While working in New York City, Wyeth exchanged portraits with Andy Warhol at his famed Factory in 1976, bringing all his tools and skills to bear on Warhol’s every pore, blemish, and strand of his carefully styled wig in Portrait of Andy Warhol (1976). In contrast to New York City and the Factory, the Brandywine River Valley inspired Wyeth to paint the barns, objects, and landscapes of the picturesque agrarian region where he was born. Works focusing on the area surrounding his childhood home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and, later, on the Wyeths’ farm in Wilmington, Delaware, include early landscapes produced when the artist was 13 years old, and a series of carriage scenes depicting his wife––who suffered an automobile accident at the age of 21 that left her paralyzed.

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