Momentary celebrates remodeling with House Party Nov. 18

Momentary celebrates remodeling with House Party Nov. 18

Artists Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris describe the multimedia works they’ll bring to the Momentary next weekend as “monuments of a sort.”

“By calling them monuments, we are asking: ‘What if we had monuments to different species instead of men on horseback?’ What values could such monuments express for our society?”

In the case of “Prophecy of Butterflies” and “Eclipse,” Sayler and Morris want to capture nature’s iconic beauty in two phases — one that is endangered and one that is already lost.

“‘Prophecy’ is all color. It is playful, calm, dreamlike,” the duo say in an email interview. “‘Eclipse’ is more elegiac and is stark black and white. ‘Eclipse’ is, after all, about a species that went completely extinct and entirely because of human actions. So there is a bit of a mournful tone to ‘Eclipse.’ But … there are ecstatic moments to ‘Eclipse’ as well.”

Sayler and Morris’ installations are part of an exhibition titled “Enduring Amazon: Life and Afterlife in the Rainforest,” which opens to the public during the Momentary’s “House Party” Nov. 18. The event celebrates a reimagining of Crystal Bridges Museum’s sister space, while the exhibition explores the delicate balance of life in the Amazon rainforest through photography by Richard Mosse, music by Ben Frost and the work of environmental explorer David Brooks.

“We’re thrilled to share the evolved space with our community,” says Jill Wagar, newly appointed director of the Momentary. “The Momentary opened its doors in early 2020, just before the pandemic began, and that was a turbulent time for everyone. After observing community engagements and reactions to the original space, we determined there were some improvements we could make to help it feel warmer.

“We want the Momentary to be an inviting space for our community members to gather,” she describes. “The reimagined interior is vibrant and welcoming — it includes a new gift shop, a refurbished lobby, and an updated Onyx Coffee Lab, with even more seating.”

Wagar says the Momentary has “transformed into a true extension of Crystal Bridges” where music, art and food come together.

“We want our community to think of the Momentary as their place to gather, to relax, to have fun, to be inspired, and so much more — a welcoming and communal place that’s always there for them,” she says, “whether they’re looking for a rich, cultural experience, or just a place to unplug.”

While the House Party will offer music, a family dance party, a holiday market and more, “Enduring Amazon” will use images and sound to encourage thought. Sayler and Morris were inspired to call attention to the climate crisis in 2006 by the words of Elizabeth Kolbert, author of “Field Notes from a Catastrophe.”

“Kolbert really brought home the discrepancy between scientific understanding of climate change and public understanding of the issue at the time and how that was leading to a lack of political will,” the artists say. “We were compelled to do something to try and close this gap. Our solution was to combine our skills and follow what Kolbert had done with her writing but to use photographs.

“After spending time in the Amazonian rainforest, we came to see butterflies as the most visible emblem of the rainforest’s biodiversity. Walking through the forest, suddenly one flash of color and then another catches the eye and disappears into the foliage. On one level, ‘A Prophecy of Butterflies’ both celebrates this biodiversity and warns of its impending loss due to climate change and destruction of habitat.”

“Eclipse” brings the conversation about climate change and despeciation closer to home by drawing parallels between the Amazon’s current wave of extinction and the loss of the North American Passenger Pigeon, information about the exhibit states.

“Enduring Amazon” remains on show through April 14.



House Party

WHEN — 10 a.m. to midnight Nov. 18

WHERE — The Momentary, 507 S.E. “E” St. in Bentonville

COST — Free


FYI — In addition to the debut of “Enduring Amazon,” the event will include family games, music, food trucks, film screenings, artist talks and cocktail demos.

Categories: Galleries