Innovative Crystal Bridges Exhibit Highlights Superman, Wonder Woman

The region’s world-class art museum pulled together a new exhibition that’s certain to inspire creative conversations in Northwest Arkansas.

Called Men of Steel, Women of Wonder, the exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville focuses on Superman and Wonder Woman. It continues through April 22.

“We are excited to debut of Men of Steel, Women of Wonder, which continues our commitment to organize fresh and innovative exhibitions that inspire creative conversations,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer of Crystal Bridges. “Through the lens of Superman and Wonder Woman, these artists invite us to explore these characters and reflect on our own shared humanity.”

The cost to see the exhibition is $12, but it’s free for members and youth ages 18 and under. Tickets may be purchased at this link.

The exhibition features approximately 70 artworks, including paintings, photography, video, sculptures, performance art, and more, created by over 50 U.S. and international artists,  including Renée Cox, Mel Ramos, Laurie Anderson, Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Dara Birnbaum, Roger Shimomura, Jacky Tsai, Enrique Chogoya, Michael Ray Charles, Raymond Pettibon, Pope.L, Norman Rockwell, and more.

Men of Steel, Women of Wonder is organized by Crystal Bridges and curated by Crystal Bridges’ assistant curator Alejo Benedetti. It is the first major exhibition to analyze art-world responses to Superman and Wonder Woman.

After the debut at Crystal Bridges, the exhibition will travel to the San Antonio Museum of Art in San Antonio, Texas, and The Addison Gallery of American Art: Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. A full-color catalog, published with the University of Arkansas Press, will accompany the exhibition and is available for purchase in the Museum Store.

“This is a dream show for me,” Benedetti said. “These are characters I’ve loved for years, seen through the ever-watchful eyes of artists. Superman and Wonder Woman may be superheroes, but the issues they tackle are innately human -- and whether heralded or critiqued, these characters are as relevant as ever. It’s a project our team has worked on for years and one we’re thrilled to finally share with the public.”

The exhibition is organized thematically with four large sections. The exhibition opens with a section called “The Heroes We Know,” which features familiar depictions of Superman and Wonder Woman―meant to reaffirm that these characters are known to all visitors. 

The second section, “Origin Stories,” places the characters into the cultural contexts from which they emerged (Great Depression, World War II). The third section, “Glimpsing Humanity,” considers Superman and Wonder Woman as American gods, much like Zeus and Hera of Greek mythology. Artists frame these heroes as all-powerful symbols to respect (or fear), yet also explore their vulnerabilities and the ways the characters are humanized by them. 

The exhibition concludes with “Defender of Innocents,” where artists explore the ethical and moral values these characters represent. Artists use these two icons to explore feminism, racial discrimination, gender and sexuality, immigration concerns, ideas of national identity and the United States’ ethical responsibilities in global politics.

Exhibition Programs

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Crystal Bridges is offering a full roster of programs inspired by the show with many classes that feature Men of Steel, Women of Wonder artists as the instructors.

Pictured at the top: Fahamu Pecou, Nunna My Heroes: After Barkley Hendricks’ ‘Icon for My Man Superman,’ 1969, 2011. Acrylic, gold leaf, and oil stick on canvas. Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; Gift of Marjorie and Michael Levine.

Allegiant Air Route Gives Nashville Access to Northwest Arkansas

Allegiant Air continues its steady expansion of its offerings at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, announcing today that it will provide an inexpensive way for people in Nashville to travel to the Natural State.

With the seasonal service starting June 6, the flights from Nashville to Northwest Arkansas are good news for Tennessee travelers interested in visiting Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the Walmart AMP in Rogers, foodies, outdoor enthusiasts and those who want to discover the region’s mountain bike trails.

It’s also possible — maybe — that Northwest Arkansas travelers will use the new Allegiant route to zip over to Nashville, commonly referred to as the Music City and recognized for its music scene and nightlife.

“We’re very excited to announce a brand new route from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant vice president of planning and revenue. “We’re sure area travelers will take advantage of our friendly, nonstop, ultra-low-cost service to enjoy all that Music City has to offer.”

Many of the twice-a-week flights to Nashville are available for $49 each way at the Allegiant Air website. The website shows the flights will be available through mid-August.

Allegiant continues to add service at XNA, and it’s diversifying its offerings nationwide. The Nashville flights from XNA will join Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando/Sanford and Destin as destinations that can be reached via XNA.

The airline’s success at XNA was demonstrated by the XNA-to-Destin service launched in June 2018. That service started out as twice-a-week flights but performed so well that Allegiant will expand to almost daily service during a 13-week period this summer.

Its twice-a-week flights to Las Vegas will be expanded to three trips a week during the summer months this year.

“In 2018, Northwest Arkansas saw an 8.68 percent increase in passenger traffic totaling 788,261 passenger boardings,” said Kelly Johnson, XNA’s airport director and chief operating officer. “This new route will be a fantastic addition to the low-cost service already provided by Allegiant. We can’t say enough to express our appreciation of the partnership we have with Allegiant and this new service expresses their commitment to our region.”

Economist: Northwest Arkansas Should Add 5K Jobs in 2019

Economist: Northwest Arkansas Should Add 5K Jobs in 2019

A University of Arkansas economist predicted Northwest Arkansas’ job growth would remain solid throughout 2019.

The prediction made by Mervin Jebaraj that the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area will add 5,000 jobs this year came during the Business Forecast 2019 Luncheon in Rogers. Jebaraj is director of the university’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

Surging Water Sales Lead Northwest Arkansas' Stats

Surging Water Sales Lead Northwest Arkansas' Stats

From record-breaking water sales to the highest number of passengers to board flights at the regional airport in a single year, Northwest Arkansas remained a statistical superstar in 2018.

Indeed, Northwest Arkansas’ growth can be evaluated in all sorts of ways to better understand how the region is changing, and January ends up being the perfect time to figure out how last year’s stats compare to previous years.

Milken: Northwest Arkansas Remains Among Nation's Best-Performing Cities

Northwest Arkansas remains among the nation’s top metropolitan areas, according to a new report released today by The Milken Institute.

The Best-Performing Cities report, which has been published annually since 1999, places Northwest Arkansas at No. 27 among the nation’s 200 large metropolitan areas.Metrics that are the basis for the report include growth in jobs, wages and salaries, and technology output. The ranking is important because it helps policymakers, investors, and companies understand which of the nation’s metropolitan economies are thriving.