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Arkansas Arts Center, Heifer International, Clinton Presidential Center, And Chihuly

Monday, August 01, 2016

The Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock -- it's a smaller museum with several enjoyable pieces. This Judy Onofrio: Just Pretending 1995 is placed prominently at the entrance

Judy Onofrio, Just Pretending 1995, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

Judy Onofrio, Just Pretending 1995, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock
Her more recent works seem to take on a neutral palette with anatomical forms.

Bisa Butler, Basin Street Blues 2013. acquired by the museum in the last couple of years and is the museum's first denim quilt.
Bisa Butler, Basin Street Blues, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock
The quilt is made up of denim and indigo-dyed cloth from Ghana and is an "homage to (the artist's) favorite jazz musician, Louis Armstrong". 

Also on display on this visit were works by Pissarro, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne...
Gallery, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

Here, Diego Rivera's Dos Mujeres (Two Women) 1914
Diego Rivera, Dos Mujeres (Two Women) 1914, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

Particularly compelling is this piece by Gerry Williams, Rendering Lorraine
Gerry Williams, Rendering Lorraine, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

especially when viewed from behind, where the children are in view
Gerry Williams, Rendering Lorraine, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

Gerry Williams was the son of missionaries who ran a school in India. His father worked to improve sanitation there and built a septic tank, which was so novel that Gandhi made a point to see. Gandhi asked his father to build one for his house, which he did. Gerry says:
“I never met Gandhi myself because we were in school when he came. But I have been deeply influenced by Gandhi over the years. The idea of handicraft and low agricultural economies, living in mud-brick homes, growing things, making things for use by other people.

“[Gandhi] also influenced me in my ethics and moral life. I became a pacifist and spent time in jail as a conscientious objector. He allowed me to say 'what am I going to do with my life that will be ethical and politically responsible?' Being a potter is what I came to believe the answer to that question was.”


Civil Rights photography by Will Counts of the Little Rock Nine
Will Counts Photography, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

Will Counts Photography, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

This is the 5th Grade Gibbs Magnet School Project, Blancaflor (White Flower) which is based on a folk tale from Oaxaca, Mexico
5th Grade Gibbs Magnet School Project, Blancaflor (White Flower) based on a folk tale from Oaxaca, Mexico, at Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

5th Grade Gibbs Magnet School Project, Blancaflor (White Flower) based on a folk tale from Oaxaca, Mexico, at Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

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A bit later, Av went to work while I visited Heifer International Village -- Heifer's mission is to help end hunger and poverty, and you may have seen their catalogs in which people may purchase livestock to be gifted to families in developing countries. Heifer's work is more multi-faceted, but this area is the one in which I'm more familiar, as Av and I try to make certain that each Passover we purchase some animal(s) from the catalog for another family in honor of our seder guests. 

Heifer International Village, Little Rock AR

Inside the building, visitors are encouraged to view their displays, and it's especially good for children. There's also a gift shop which sells handmade goods from around the world.

Heifer International Village, Little Rock AR

One of the questions I was sure to ask was something that came up when I was reading reviews of the facility before my visit -- there was some disagreement online as to whether the gifts are actually 100%. That is, if I purchase a goat, is someone in some other country actually getting a goat? I asked directly and was answered that yes, absolutely, purchase a goat, someone gets a goat. It's not that I've purchased 70% of a goat and 30% goes to administrative costs. They said it's just that easy. A purchase of a goat equals someone getting a goat.

Heifer International Village, Little Rock AR

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Heifer is behind the Clinton Presidential Center
Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock AR

Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock AR

Letter from Willie Morris (with mention of a Razorback game)
Letter to Bill Clinton from Willie Morris

Letter from Mister Rogers
Letter to Bill Clinton from Mister Rogers

Letter from Queen Noor to Hillary Clinton
Letter to Hillary Clinton from Queen Noor

Replica Oval Office
Oval Office

Makings of a formal White House dinner
White House China

White House China

Dale Chihuly Crystal Tree of Light
Dale Chihuly Crystal Tree of Light

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The Globe and Mail even had to compare Chihuly's work to a current political figure, speaking of the current Chihuly exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto:

It’s a sensational show – albeit in the pejorative sense of sensational. Meaning: Full of Teletubby colours and flash and bigness and strange shapes drawn from some Baudelairean fever dream or the remnants of an explosion on the set of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Meaning: Almost always relentlessly immodest, forever straining to elicit a slack-jawed “Wow” from the spectator. Meaning: Visually noisy, superficial, bereft of genuine nuance and subtlety, provocative but not thought-provoking.

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