By Mackie Healy, Art Market Views Contributor
Alice Walton is not only interested in dusty colonial portraiture and early American art. In June she snagged a suite of Jackson Pollock prints at Art Basel, revealing a penchant for postwar American art.
The latest acquisitions on the part of her Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art include Andy Warhol’s 1985 portrait of busty, big-haired crooner Dolly Parton (purchased at Sotheby’s in May for $914,500) and Roy Lichtenstein’s 1966 bursting gun-shot like sculpture, Standing Explosion (Red) (acquired at Christie’s in May for $722,500).
The under construction museum, located in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas (Wal-Mart’s headquarters, of course!) is slated to open at some point in the near future. Walton, a Wal-Mart heiress (worth an estimated $20 billion) is a devoted American art champion.
While Crystal Bridges has been relatively quiet over the past few years, the museum made a rare cameo in our email in-box yesterday, delivering not just the news of the museum’s newest acquisitions, but other tidbits.
Announcements ranged from the important acquisitions, to the appointment of a deputy director, a rendering of their museum store design, and even a plug for the museum’s food and beverage boss.
The 3,000 square-foot museum store, modeled on the form of a mushroom cap, will utilize local hardwoods, local craftsmen and is designed by local Arkansas architect Marlon Blackwell.
The larger museum structure was designed by internationally acclaimed Palestinian-born architect Moshe Safdie. Composed of a series of pavilions housing the galleries, classrooms and auditorium, the building is set on a ravine surrounded by a 100-acre park just outside downtown Bentonville.
Former Toledo Museum of Art COO, Rod Bigelow, joins the senior management staff at the museum, officially named deputy director of operations and administration. He has served as Toledo’s interim executive director since October 2009. (Crystal Bridges executive director Don Bacigalupi previously held the post.)
Food and Beverage honcho Case Dighero joins the team to oversee the museum’s wining and dining facilities.