State of the Art: Constructs

Image by Lori Kella, courtesy of Akron Art Museum.

Leading up to their exhibition State of the Art 2020, curators from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, traveled across the US to find some of the most impressive artists working today. Through their efforts, they brought together a diverse group of 61 artists whose work reflects the present moment from a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds. With State of the Art: Constructs, the Akron Art Museum presents a focused selection of 21 artists from the original group. While the exhibition’s subtitle, Constructs, may be more familiar as a verb, as a noun it refers to a network of small ideas that come together to build a single, weighty concept—a construct. In this sense, our shared conceptions of history, morality, happiness, and more are all constructs.

Amy Casey, courtesy of Akron Art Museum

The artworks in this show thus tackle momentous topics that are deeply embedded in daily life, from sweeping global and environmental issues to the intricate complexities of personal identity, as well as some of the specific places and relationships in between. The details and contexts of the many artistic practices represented in the exhibition vary significantly, but the commonalities among the works point to broader trends in American contemporary art, and even in contemporary life. Collectively, the artists seem to suggest that if humans have constructed the concepts we all live with, then we can also deconstruct those concepts for careful examination, and even reconstruct them to build ourselves a way forward.

StateoftheArt:Constructs is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. The exhibition’s national tour is sponsored by Bank of America with generous support from Art Bridges, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Lehner Family Foundation, John P. Murphy Foundation, Mary and Dr. George L. Demetros Charitable Trust, Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, and Hilton Garden Inn – Akron.

One South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308


State of the Art: Constructs, through February 26