Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 52/60: Bentonville to Oklahoma City

We started the day with a trip to Walmart to stock up on drinks and snacks. The Supercenter in Bentonville is in no way different from any other Walmart. No souvenirs. No bargain price on the catalog for Crystal Bridges.

We got under way about 10:00. I was amazed to notice that almost as soon as we passed from Arkansas to Oklahoma the land got drier, trees smaller, and it grew more arid as we went west. What we saw was basically cattle country.

We got into Tulsa about 12:30, just the right time for lunch at the Gilcrease Museum. The café has a pretty view of the Osage Mountains, and a rather elegant look. Service seemed painfully slow, and everything on the menu seemed peppery. I settled for salmon salad, very dull. Dan had blackened catfish, which he liked well enough.

This was our third visit to the Gilcrease, and every visit has been disappointing. They have a fairly good collection of American art, quite strong in Western art, and they have a pretty big building, big enough to give their collection a fair showing. But they relegate their permanent collection to about 25% of their gallery space and use the rest for other stuff. Like the Eiteljorg, a similar collection of Western Art in Indianapolis, they used a lot of gallery space commercially—the works were all for sale. They had lots of room devoted to children's discovery activities. They have added a lot of Native American art. To add to the frustration, this year they wouldn't allow photography. Luckily, Dan has photographed our favorites twice before.

They have a couple of massive masterpieces, permanently in place; one by Bierstadt and one by Moran. I enjoyed seeing these old favorites again, but now they have iron railings in front of them, marring the view. We spent a couple of hours review the works by Russell, Remington, Leigh, and Shreyvogel, and the Taos artists. It was okay.

Then we sped on to Oklahoma City, arriving about 5:30, plenty tired. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was casual and comfortable.

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