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The Momentary

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A one-of-a-kind contemporary arts experience creatively repurposed from a 70-year-old decommissioned Kraft Foods Plant.

The Momentary—a satellite of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas—makes cutting-edge contemporary art a part of daily living. The project transforms a patchwork of concrete and masonry buildings into a fluid arts experience using interventions of glass and steel for both transparency and distinction from existing structures. A frit pattern, inspired from ceremonial weaving designed by a local Osage artist, is superimposed onto the new glass elements to pay homage to the site’s history as Osage hunting land. The woven pattern playfully changes in scale and transparency as it wraps around the new additions to provide privacy and views, signal where to enter, and create surfaces for digital art and performance. On the opening weekend, visitors watched as the Tower scrim was backlit, projected on, and used for a choreographed vertical dance performance suspended from the glass.

Inside, the Momentary contrasts traditional art museums, which strive to offer its curators blank walls and neutral spaces in which to present art. Here, visitors puzzle out the physical remnants of the building’s former life—enjoying a concert in a space where tanker trucks delivered milk or viewing art in a gallery surrounded by the complex piping that once functioned as the former plant’s circulatory system. In every room, the Momentary allows the building’s relics to disrupt narratives with stories and curiosity about its past.

Where a traditional art museum relies on formality, the Momentary is casual and flexible. Visitors can enjoy food and drink, work on their laptop, or meet with peers simultaneously with art exhibits. Inside and outside, the Momentary purposefully overlaps social and culinary activities with art spaces to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life.

Visit themomentary.org for exhibition and performance news!

Architect: Wheeler Kearns Architects
General Contractor: Flintco
Civil Engineer: McClelland Engineers
Landscape Architect: Howell & Vancuren Landscape Architects
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP/FP and IT Engineer: McGuire Engineers
Lighting Consultant: Lux Populi
Theatre Designer: Schuler Shook
Acoustic and AV Design: Threshold Acoustics
Kitchen Design: Edge Associates
Interiors / Branding / Signage: FODA
Artist: Addie Roanhorse (Osage artist, glass frit patterns)

Photography: Tom Harris Architectural Photography, Timothy Hursley, Dero Sanford, and courtesy of The Momentary.