State of the Art 2020 is opening at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary this Saturday, February 22. Three of our curators spent more than a year traveling across the country to meet with artists working in communities large and small. 61 artists were chosen to be represented in this exhibition that answers the question: what does art in the United States look like in the year 2020? State of the Art 2020 will be on view throughout the permanent galleries of Crystal Bridges and at the Momentary. It is free to view at both locations.
Get a first look at some of the artists and artworks that will be featured in State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges:
Yes, that’s a dinosaur. Specifically a brontosaurus. And even more specifically, her name is Perennial Favorites. This character is the creation of Houston-based artist JooYoung Choi, and inhabits a special planet created to house all of earth’s brontosauruses during the times when scientists flip flop as to whether the brontosaurus ever really existed as its own distinct species. Positioned on top of the dinosaur are, from left to right, Captain Spacia Tanno, Amplexus, Putt Putt, and Rainbow Rabbit – a small selection of an ever-growing cast of creatures that make up Choi’s fantastical universe, The Cosmic Womb.
Each character has elaborate stories and adventures of their own, the nuanced details of which Choi is happy to share with viewers when prompted. But part of the charm of her extended body of work is tracing these characters across the Cosmic Womb through Choi’s soft sculptures, paintings, music, and video. Each appearance provides insight into new adventures and prompts even more opportunities to observe the ever-expanding universe. Blending autobiography into a sprawling, imaginative space, her work tackles a variety of topics ranging from determining where imaginary friends go after kids stop believing in them to exploring her own sense of displacement as a South Korean child adopted by a white, American family.
Written by Alejo Benedetti, associate curator, contemporary art, Crystal Bridges
Many photographers use the camera as a means to map relationships or reveal what might exist just beyond the frame. Kansas City-based photographer Art Miller uses the camera as a tool to reveal often overlooked landscapes. Inherent to the artist’s practice is an interest in the built environment—specifically how architecture is repurposed—and what emerges when we take a closer look. Miller was photographing churches located in buildings that once housed big box stores and fast-food restaurants when he noticed that this particular confluence of US consumerism and Christian churches extended to include cell phone towers embedded in church steeples and bell towers.
The photograph here depicts an AT&T cellular tower in the form of a cross located in front of the First Church of Nazarene, in Springdale, Arkansas (another photograph will be on display of an AT&T cellular tower in the bell tower of the First Church of God in Sapulpa, Oklahoma). This convergence of churches and cell phones holds a particular curiosity for Miller, who imagines an endless trove of information funneling through these ubiquitous forms.
Written by Allison Glenn, associate curator, contemporary art, Crystal Bridges
In Wampum, Tulsa-based artist and composer Elisa Harkins conjures the history and customs of her Native American lineage, more specifically that of her Cherokee and Muscogee lineage. Combining traditional elements of performance art and inspiration from 1800s Native American sheet music, Harkins composes an electronic music and dance performance. Conjuring her own Native American lineage, she dances and sings, performing songs in Muscogee (Creek), English, and Cherokee. Chanting and pacing, she moves across the space reciting chants “Die, don’t die. Get the money,” “Don’t you worry, powwow with me,” and “I’m not sorry, powwow with me.”
The time-based work, which varies in length, features contemporary and Native American dance. While she performs, Harkins is dressed in traditional Cherokee powwow regalia including a long Tare dress. Another artifact referenced is the customary wampum belt, from which the performance takes its name. Historically, the belt is referenced as a written language, a symbol of currency, and even an adornment.
Written by Jayson Overby, curatorial assistant
Want more of a first look? Read about some of the artworks that will be featured at the Momentary here.
Learn more about how State of the Art 2020 came to be here.