Seen this? High-tech pranksters have used the good name of Crystal Bridges, the Alice Walton-backed museum in Bentonville, to draw attention to a union protest of Walmart employment practices in a Black Friday event that has drawn a court effort by the retailer to shut it down.
At the link crystalbridgesfoundation.org, you’ll find a news release (partially shown above), which is clearly a putup job ( I’m reasonably sure the website is a creation of pranksters with no connection to Crystal Bridges, though it picks up standard features and links from the real Crystal Bridges website and likely will be targeted soon for infringing on that trade dress):
The website was created Nov. 19 and registered by a web hosting company, according to a quick search. Said Museum spokeswoman Dianne Carroll:
It is indeed erroneous—and we appreciate our thorough reporters who vet something like this before reporting.
We have been alerted about the information; the website “crystalbridgesfoundation.org” and all related content have not been generated by Crystal Bridges, and all information contained in the press release is false. Crystal Bridges will be open Friday, Nov. 23, from 11 am to 9 pm., and we welcome all to come explore the Museum galleries, grounds and additional offerings. The official Crystal Bridges web site, with accurate information, is CrystalBridges.org
We’re also investigating next steps.
Following is the news release ginned up by the satire site. In case it should disappear, it’s shown in full. It reflects a bit of Onion-worthy sophistication and fine art knowledge in the course of injecting the needle:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to Close on Black Friday; Statement from Alice Walton, Chair of The Board of Directors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BENTONVILLE, AR- The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will close on Friday, November 23, out of respect for the Walmart workers engaging in Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. Alice Walton, Chair of the Board of Directors, also asks all Americans to stay home with their family rather than shop on Thanksgiving, so that Walmart workers do not have to report to work in the middle their Thanksgiving meals on this national holiday. The Museum will reopen on Saturday, November 24.
As Ms. Walton explained, “Since Black Friday is the unofficial start of the Christmas season, and this is the season of giving, I and the staff of Crystal Bridges have decided to stand with the workers of Walmart, the source of my family’s fortune, in their Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. I recognize this may come as a surprise to both Walmart workers and the American public. I have always assumed these hard-working men and women were being treated well, paid well, and being compensated with proper health benefits and vacation time. On this holiday, I give thanks for the fortune I inherited and for all the workers who earned it for me. They deserve to share its benefits. I was shocked to the point of disbelief when I first learned of the working conditions these decent Americans endure at the company that bears our family’s name. As a Walton, I cannot stomach the thought of our employees working for poverty wages, without sufficient healthcare, on a permanent part-time basis, or under threat of harassment, retaliation, or termination for organizing in their workplace. The workers of Walmart deserve better.”
“However, Walmart’s hostile battle against its own workers and their attempts to organize their workplace, improve working conditions, and earn a living wage, is not the only reason to stay home on Thanksgiving and on Black Friday. In the race to profit from cash-strapped deal-seekers desperate to save a buck, Walmart is now asking its employees to report to work in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday in order to open stores that evening. This poor treatment of workers and crass commercialization of the holiday stamps ‘Black Friday’ with a whole new meaning: the black mark of shame.”
“Let us all stand in solidarity with these decent working Americans. Let us respect their struggle and their strike and not shop at Walmart on Black Friday, let alone on Thanksgiving day. In fact, let us not shop anywhere this holiday. I wish the entire nation a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.”
“Truth Crushed to Earth Will Rise Again,”
New Temporary Exhibition Honoring Labor
In honor of the 1.3 million workers of Walmart and especially all those who earn the minimum wage, the Museum also announces a special temporary exhibition on labor in American art. Drawn from the collection, the exhibition centers on Winslow Homer’s The Return of the Gleaner (1867). Gleaners were the poor, most often women, who were permitted to pick through a farmer’s field after it had been harvested, in search of leftover grain. Homer’s painting ennobles this stooped, back-breaking labor and his stirring tribute to the survival of the American spirit is echoed in other works by George Wesley Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Ralston Crawford, Francis Criss, Eastman Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, and Everett Shin. The exhibition, titled “Truth Crushed to Earth Will Rise Again,” will be on view November 24, 2012 – January 28, 2013.