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Mrs. Walton’s Magnificent $2 Billion Museum, Where You Can See the Decline of American Art First-Hand

Written by Gary North on September 21, 2012

I toured the Crystal Bridges Museum of Bentonville, Arkansas. It is a magnificent structure. Sam Walton’s widow and family members put up about $2 billion to build it and fill it with American paintings. It costs $20 million a year to run. It is free to tour.

Nowhere can we see better the great paintings of American artists in the past, and then see the utter ugliness of modern American painting. In two hours, it becomes clear to everyone except very rich people, such as Mrs. Walton, who thinks it is all great.

To compare the Western landscapes of Thomas Moran with a pile of melted metal on the floor conveys information about the lack of taste of rich modern art collectors. They cannot tell great art from anti-art: exercises in self-conscious revolution against common sense and good taste.

Here, we see the war of modern painters and artists against the best qualities of the common man. These artists have contempt for beauty, for reliability, for coherence. And they sell their ethical rebellion to very rich people, who have been conned by art “critics” to imagine that this schlock offers something of artistic value. It does offer something of economic value: lots of money from really clueless rich people.

By far the most artistically impressive single example of modern American art in the museum is the original Rosie the Riveter, by Norman Rockwell. Close-up, it is impressive. Her blue jeans look like blue jeans because of the canvas, which looks like canvas.

There is an Andy Warhol painting of Dolly Parton that is pretty good. Of course, I am partial to Dolly Parton.

As you walk through the exhibition, from the eighteenth century through the twentieth, you can see the decline of taste. It goes from realism to representation of nightmares. I am sure Mrs. Walton, being very rich, thinks it is all equal. Here, we see the mind of modern rich people at work. These people really are the emperors with no clothes.

By the way, every room seemed t have at least one naked lady sculpture — huge things. They look like naked ladies. No modernism, here. This is more Hugh Hefner than Jackson Pollack.

I am glad that Mrs. Walton put together this collection. It will make art lovers come to Bentonville, Arkansas. They will see how the other half lives. Also, it will let the average American museum visitor get a sense of the artistic decline of the twentieth century. You can see it. It cost a fortune to provide the evidence in one place.

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25 thoughts on “Mrs. Walton’s Magnificent $2 Billion Museum, Where You Can See the Decline of American Art First-Hand

  1. You said it all, Gary.

  2. Interesting perspective. I'll try to get there from central Mexico.

  3. Well said,reminds me of all the trash coming out of MICA here in Baltimore… Baltimore: #3 trashiest City in America…

  4. This is Cultural Marxism in the art department. Make it as ugly and depressing as possible, and be sure to get public funding for it. Then deposit it in a public place, like a large anti-aesthetic bowel movement.

  5. See #22 of the communist goals of 1963. 22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.” Looks as if they have made a lot of progress.

  6. Right on! Cultural Marxism – as Georg Lukacs (an early Cultural Marxist) "Make people think they live in a world abandoned by God"

  7. This rag is bad enough at political commentary, you really need to leave art criticism to someone else.

  8. Fine review, Doc. I will put it on my 'to visit' list.

  9. Yes ee58, the communists strategy has been to bring everything of righteous and uplifting value down to the gutter level: family, religion, art, music, military, police, education, the whole culture must be debased and replaced with licentiousness. They, the communists know that their is no better way to take over a country than to demoralize and infuse as much immorality into the culture of an undisciplned nation, such as the one we now reside in, which will fascillitate their own enslavement!

  10. You think the Waltons are communists, do you?

  11. Filth is filth, you need not be a art critic !

  12. What difference does it make if she is rich or not, what's the beef there? She had the money to build a museum to an interest of hers+. Whether you or I like what she likes doesn't matter. God will be the judge as to if her money was well invested or not and what her motive was. Are you prejudice against very rich people thinking they are all stupid? quoting from the article ("Here, we see the mind of modern rich people at work. These people really are the emperors with no clothes".) "These People"? Not having money but "The "Love of Money" is the root of all (or all kinds of) evil." Must be tough to have that much and keep it all in perspective. Jesus said, It would be tough for the rich to enter heaven, because of attitude toward riches not the riches themselves.

  13. Well informed comments and article! Yes, this was the communist plan long ago and has succeeded brilliantly. It is the plan of Satan, the deciever. At least we can be proud that our country was so invincible that it took the Devil himself to destroy it. Only turning back to God can save it.

  14. Perhaps anti-art should be described as "exercises in s(ub)-conscious revolution against common sense and good taste."

  15. Perehaps it is fitting because Wal-Mart has destroyed more small businesses and decent jobs than any other corporation. Now officially China-Mart they have little or no American products. They are the major employer in many areas as many businesses are gone. Wal- Mart pays part-time, minimum wage, no benefit, no future, and no union protection jobs. They are a horrible employer, and treat employees like dirt figuring there is another poor sucker who needs a job bad enough to put up with their crap. They have hurt us far more than Pearl harbor.

  16. I haven't had a chance to visit the museum yet but would like to. I blogged this article. You can view my blog at http://mikeirvan.blogspot.com

  17. The coincidence of the decline in art with the decline of a civilization is a given. That is why there are so many left-wing artists deliberately cranking out filth.

    Even a mediocre writer like H.P. Lovecraft included the decline of art in the history of a culture described in one of his horror novellas. And such decline is a horror in itself.

  18. Nemesis of Empire says:

    Degenerate art has no place in the Kingdom of Christ. It will be burned with the “artists” of inferior racial stock who made it. God has willed it.

  19. All, I live in Benton ville. Ark., just across the valley from this new museum. Mrs. Walton, who is deceased, did NOT sponsor the Chrystal Bridges museum. This was the brain child of her daughter, Alice Walton, who already possessed several of the art works on display. At first, I, among many, opposed the building of this monstrosity, but after several conversations with the property manager, gave in, albeit grudgingly. They blasted the holy hell out of the valley to create the area for the actual building, but, all the rock removed, was taken up the hill to their own crusher, and used for the parking areas. No outside rock was used. I was angry about cutting down a grove of huge first-growth bois-d-arc trees, and other large, beautiful trees, but all of them went to their own mill, to be cut into lumber, dried, and used for the woodwork in the building. It doesn't get much thriftier than that. Even though much of the "art" is really horrible, it is said that this will be a huge boost for the area. Many think Arkansas is the land of the hill-billy, but this corner of the state boasts more self-made millionaires, than the entire rest of the state combined, and then some. Art and culture here, are second to none. Anywhere! By the way, Sam Walton's house is not far from mine, and is by far, no mansion. It is a very nice ranch-style house, that is not very large at all.

  20. In response to:
    "Perehaps it is fitting because Wal-Mart has destroyed more small businesses and decent jobs than any other corporation. . ."

    I shop at Wal Mart- glad they are around. Reminds me of free enterprise. Consumers vote with their wallet. I wouldn't get down on Wal Mart. No one has to shop or work there but many, many do. Sam's Club and Wal Mart made it in a big way because they offered what many people wanted. I noticed that they also have many people working for them who have disabilities, this I think is a credit to them. If forced to offer union wages this probably wouldn't be possible and they would go the way of many business that are now just a memory. One of the great things about the USA is that if we think we have a better idea, we can take the risk, make the investment of time, money and hard work and see something better. If you do it better, people have the right to shop at your store instead of WalMart. Show us how it's done without forcing us to shop or do business with you.

  21. Come through the hole in the fence, save time!

  22. B.G. Martin says:

    Mr. Gary North should get his facts straight before he starts criticizing the Walton's! It was not Mrs Sam Walton who sponsored the Crystal Bridges Museum, it was their daughter Ms Alice Walton who also donated many of her own collections to it. I have seen it, I have relatives in that area, and I can tell you I have not heard any thing but praise for it. The architecture is fabulous, the art is American, weither its your taste or not and it is free to all that want to come. Where else can you do that?! Mr. North sounds jealous of people that have been smart enough to have become wealthy. Ms. Walton also has many other interests that she does good for! Lighten up!

  23. Jesse Gilbert says:

    Sheesh, Gary. Why don't you check Mrs. Walton's age when she committed to this. Blame sophisticates who take advantage of old people.

  24. @MikeinOK, but you can't tear yourself away from coming here every day to devour what he's writing, hmmm?

  25. greyhound44 says:

    Hi Stan,
    I actually have several 100K FF miles which I use several times a year to travel to the USA.
    ret expat MD: NBME; ABIM; ABNM; ABR w/spec comp NR and 45 years in medicine
    fmr LCDR MC USNR NUKE (mid '70's)