Judith Ann Moriarty
Tom Uttech

Scoring in Arkansas

By - Nov 30th, 2011 04:16 pm
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“Enassamishhinjijweian,” by Tom Uttech

Tory Folliard Gallery scored a big one when the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, near Bentonville, Ark., purchased one of Tom Uttech’s biggie paintings (Enassamishhinjijweian) for their 11-11-11 opening. And don’t ya know, it will be part of their permanent collection, which ranges from Colonial to Contemporary. And yup, it includes an Andy Warhol rendering of yee ha, Dolly Parton. Well, why not?

For those lefty-lefties, of which I am one, it may come as a shock that the museum near Bentonville has come to be because of the fortune left behind by Sam Walton & family. They started small in Bentonville, but got bigger with the development of Wal-Mart. It’s a rags to riches story, giving lie to corporations always being big bad wolves, because face it, sometimes wolves tote bags of money and it trickles down. If you google the New Yorker Magazine, you can read all about Sam & Alice Walton, and Crystal Bridges.

Admission to the museum? It’s free.

Congratulations to Uttech, who is a survivor and a great painter. I’d like to claim him as a Wisconsin artist, because he lives and works in the fairytale woodlands he so beautifully depicts. But his work is everywhere these days, including the permanent collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Bentonville is in the northwest corner of Arkansas. The first five & dime Sam Walton started still operates in that town. The town hopes to grow like topsy, thanks to the billion plus dollars shelled out by Alice Walton, one of the world’s richest women, who decided Bentonville needed a museum of American Art. (Thank you, Alice!)

And if you get bored on the 125 acres laced with hiking trails, you can two-step a little west to Branson, Mo., and get your Ozark fix there. I’m going to get to Crystal Bridges in the spring. It’s on my bucket list, but how to get there without a jet may pose a problem. Amtrak will be hearing from me.

Decades ago, I purchased a very small Uttech watercolor of a deer standing near a pond. I believe I bought it from Michael Lord when he was holding forth in his first gallery. Dang, I could kick myself for giving it to Carroll University, where it rests in peace alongside others from my modest collection of art by Wisconsin’s finest.

Categories: Art

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