So you’ve got a museum, it’s in Arkansas, it’s got a name that people widely agree sounds like a meth rehab facility and it’s funded with Wal Mart’s filthy lucre. Crystal Bridges, like many of us from The Natural State, has a lot to overcome.
That’s part of a funny, but perceptive, piece by Kelly Klaasmeyer, formerly of Conway and now writing for Texas art publication glasstire, on Crystal Bridges Museum. (Thanks to Fayetteville art maven Shannon Dillard Mitchell for pointing this article out!)
The piece is about how others see us and the snobbery that has been transferred to the museum by its connection with Alice Walton’s Walmart dollars. Here’s one of the greatest observations about the Walmart factor I’ve read to date:
But I also understand that a portion of the disdain Wal Mart engenders isn’t just because brings in cheap crap from China, it’s because it brings in cheap, TACKY crap from China. Let me offer an anecdotal example. When Target moved into the hipster yuppiedom of the Houston Heights, it was essentially greeted with Cries of Hosanna. When Wal Mart announced its plans to move in as well, you would have thought an open pit nuclear waste dump had been proposed. Target brings in crap from China too, albeit better designed. And Target has had its own controversial practices, although nowhere near the level of the Wal Mart leviathan. But no one can tell me that beneath the outrage, there isn’t some hiss of socioeconomic prejudice: poor people shop at Wal Mart — poor, fat, tacky people (you’ve seen the website, right?). And all that art that Alice Walton was snatching up for her Arkansas museum would be pearls before the Wal Mart shopper swine.