Our Next Program - Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 10:00AM
Peoria Riverfront Museum
Crystal Bridges: The Experiment in the Ozarks
Alejo Benedetti, Assistant Curator, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
In 2011 Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened its doors in the heart of the Ozarks—hours away from the closest art museum and squarely in what many would call flyover country. In the years since, the museum has welcomed millions of visitors and presented a unique program of exhibitions and experiences. This lecture will explore a few landmark projects that helped refine the museum’s direction and will offer a peek into what is on the horizon.
Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits, Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol’s Dolly Parton, each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution. In addition to historical works, the Museum’s collection also showcases major works by modern and contemporary American artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, James Turrell, and Georgia O’Keeffe, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the full scope of American art. Crystal Bridges will continue to grow its collection through the efforts of its professional staff as well as through important gifts from private collectors.
Alejo Benedetti joined Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2015 as a curatorial assistant. Most recently, Benedetti organized the focus exhibition, Black Unity, which features 13 artworks made by eight African American artists within the past five decades. In this permanent collection show, the unique voices of these artists come together to tell a story that transcends color and creed and unites viewers under a shared American experience. In his time at the museum, he has also assisted Curator Chad Alligood with the development of the 1940s to Now portion of the collection while also assisting with the traveling version of State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now.
Benedetti is a Texas native who earned his bachelor of arts in Art History and a bachelor of fine arts in Studio Art from the University of Missouri, Columbia and his master’s degree in Art History from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. While completing his degree at TCU, he worked as a curatorial intern at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, assisting with the exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video. While in Fort Worth, he also served as an art critic for Glasstire: Journal of Visual Art in Texas. As a critic, he reviewed contemporary exhibitions occurring at museums and galleries across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Benedetti’s research has focused on Contemporary art in the United States over the past 50 years with a particular emphasis on art of the West Coast since the 1980s. In his graduate thesis, he examined the artwork of Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw and how their works blur the barriers between the traditional art world and the world of comics.