The Momentary Announces the Debut / Opening of Three New Visual Arts Exhibitions


The Momentary announces the debut of three new visual arts exhibitions.

Sarah Cain: In Nature (on view February 12 to May 30)  

Diana Al-Hadid: Ash in the Trade Winds (on view March 5 to June 13)

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary (on view February 23 to June 6).

All three visual art exhibitions are free to view, no tickets necessary.

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“We’re excited to present the Momentary’s first exhibitions of 2021 with the work of these three contemporary artists,” said Lauren Haynes, director of artist initiatives and curator, contemporary art at the Momentary and Crystal Bridges. “Aligning with our mission to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life, each of these shows bring a unique set of themes and materials to the space and encourages visitors to simply experience what they have to offer.”

Sarah Cain: In Nature, a site-specific exhibition organized by the Momentary and curated by Haynes, features 10 artworks by Los Angeles-based visual artist Sarah Cain. The theme of the exhibition comes from the artist’s formal observations of nature and the search for new possibilities during a worldwide moment of sheltering in place and limited mobility. The pieces include colorful, abstract works on canvas, functional floor paintings, sculpture, a repurposed dresser, and a stained-glass window. Though Cain’s paintings appear abstract, she weaves in references to pop culture, her life, and her interests.

When Cain visited Bentonville for the first time to start planning an exhibition specifically for the Momentary, she was inspired by the raw state of the former factory building that the Momentary occupies and the overall integration of the natural setting of the gallery experience. She decided to create an exhibition that would allow visitors to discover the space anew. “I thought a lot about the vast land around the Momentary,” said Cain. “It felt particular, and it felt connected to the ruggedness of the inside. I loved the freedom of the Momentary in the sense that the possibilities felt endless.”

During the Momentary’s construction, Cain spotted a window in the Lobby Gallery and asked the team if the window could be kept for her exhibition as originally it was planned to be removed. “One of the first things I remember in the Lobby Gallery is the window up high and [the Momentary] team working with the architects to leave that open for me was really great,” said Cain. “And to find that I had a stained glass that worked when it was flipped on its side, [and which was] already titled Wildflower, was perfect.”

Sarah Cain (b. 1979) moves beyond traditional notions of painting by exploring abstraction and spatial interventions in a wide range of media and found materials. In 2001, Cain received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA from the University of California at Berkeley in 2006, and is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is a 2020 recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Her work is in several public museum collections including Perez Art Museum Miami, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Blanton Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

Sarah Cain: In Nature is located in the Lobby Gallery of the Momentary and is on view now through May 31, 2021. Free brochures located in the exhibition which visitors are welcome to take home feature an interview between Haynes and Cain.

Diana Al-Hadid: Ash in the Trade Winds, a new exhibition organized by the Momentary and curated by Kaitlin Garcia-Maestas, assistant curator at the Momentary, features 10 works by Syrian American artist Diana Al-Hadid, all created between 2018 and 2021. These wall panels, drawings, and sculptures, many of which will be shown for the first time in a contemporary art space, highlight the artist’s unique and gravity-defying process of dripping, layering, and melding classical and contemporary materials in decaying forms. What remains are hints of their original sources—landscapes, buildings, female figures—drawn from art history, literature, and architecture.

“Diana’s ability to weave the past into our contemporary moment, combined with her unwavering commitment to expanding the formal possibilities of architectural materials is a fitting balance for a space like the Momentary,” said Garcia-Maestas. “Ash in the Trade Winds encourages slow looking. Diana interprets her references through approximations, or her memories of things she’s read, works she’s seen, etc. and reimagines them into new forms, giving them new life and purpose for her audience to contemplate.”

The title of the exhibition, Ash in the Trade Winds, references a work of the same name. In this work, diagonal splashes of copper and gold leaf illustrate the movement of trade winds, which primarily move from east to west—a metaphor for Diana Al-Hadid, who was born in Aleppo, Syria but raised in the United States. The exhibition also features works inspired by the story of Gradiva, a fictitious female character from Wilhelm Jensen’s novella of the same name. Gradiva is a classical relief sculpture who comes to life in the protagonist’s hallucinations, which take him back to 79 CE, the year of Mount Vesuvius’ deadly eruption.

“I like to point a spotlight on lesser-told stories or speak to the broader context for the stories we know or take for granted,” said Al-Hadid. “I’m compelled to find patterns or similarities in stories that exist across cultures.”

Born 1981 in Aleppo, Syria and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Diana Al-Hadid creates artworks that speak to her Arab, Muslim family background, the melding of cultures, and process-based investigations into materials. She received a BFA in Sculpture from Kent State University in 2003, an MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. Al-Hadid has had solo exhibitions at Bronx Museum of the Arts, Akron Museum of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design, Nasher Sculpture Center, and Hammer Museum. Her work is included in collections such as deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Whitney Museum of American Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and San José Museum of Art.

Diana Al-Hadid: Ash in the Trade Winds is located in Gallery 2 and is on view now through June 13, 2021. Free brochures located in the exhibition which visitors are welcome to take home feature an interview between Garcia-Maestas and Al-Hadid.

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary, organized by Dexter Wimberly and Derrick Adams Studio, takes its inspiration from The Negro Motorist Green Book, known today as The Green Book, to reimagine safe destinations for the Black American traveler in an exhibition featuring mixed-media collage and sculpture.

From 1936 to 1967, during the Jim Crow era in the United States, The Green Book was an annually published guidebook for Black road-trippers that identified businesses, hotels, restaurants, and tourist homes that were nondiscriminatory and welcoming. It was created and published by Harlem-based postal worker Victor Hugo Green and his wife Alma D. Green. Though officially editor for only a few years, Alma played a significant role in the creation and evolution of The Green Book, an important part of American history that has only recently begun to be explored. The wallpaper seen in the exhibition is made with pages from various editions of The Green Book.

Sanctuary consists of collage pieces made of fabric, acrylic paint, wood, metal, paper, and plastic on wood paneling; miniature houses, known as Beacons, made of concrete, wood, paper, and light fixtures, and inspired by childhood school projects of making houses out of milk cartons; and works made of fabric, thread, leather, wood, and metal hardware that resemble car doors. The work titled Keep Your Head Down and Your Eyes Open (2018) resembles a highway and is populated with driving caps on wheels to represent travelers in cars. In creating this work, Adams recalled childhood memories of relatives and friends who visited his family in Baltimore and the clothing and accessories they donned for the journey.

The depiction of Black America at leisure is a theme of continued interest to Adams, who explores how leisure, relaxation, and reflection can be a political act when embraced by members of Black or working-class communities.

Engagement Space: In addition to the exhibition, the Breakroom area (located off Gallery 1) will serve as an interpretation space to continue exploring the themes found in Sanctuary. The space will offer recommendations for books, films, and podcasts to learn more about Black American travel. It also offers a “Plan Your Road Trip” activity, where visitors can plan an American road trip using locations approved in The Green Book. The activity examines how the size of the world can change depending on the color of your skin.

Derrick Adams (b. 1970) is a Baltimore-born, Brooklyn-based artist whose critically acclaimed work spans painting, collage, sculpture, performance, video, and sound installations. Adams received his MFA from Columbia University, BFA from Pratt Institute, and is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Adams has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at The Gallery in Baltimore City Hall, Museum of Arts and Design, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, and Hudson River Museum. His work is in numerous public collections such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Arts and Design, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary is located in Galleries 1 and 3 and is on view now through June 6, 2021.

All three exhibitions are presented in both English and Spanish.

To learn more about these exhibitions and other visual arts projects, visit the Momentary website. For news updates, follow the Momentary on the Blog, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter. #theMomentary


The galleries at the Momentary will be open Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (closed Monday).