In February, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its new satellite the Momentary debuted the contemporary art exhibition State of the Art 2020. In a video virtual tour, Crystal Bridges Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Alejo Benedetti takes viewers into the galleries for an inside look at the exhibition.
State of the Art 2020 spotlights the work of 61 diverse artists from around the U.S., including Chicago-based artist Kellie Romany whose In an Effort to be Held (2016-2019) displays a chromatic scale of 36 skin color tiles originally created in the nineteenth century that were used to determine a person’s race in Europe and America up until the 1950s. Visitors are welcome to pick up and examine the discs with a pair of gloves.
More than 100 artworks are featured in State of the Art 2020—most created within the last three years and several created specifically for the exhibition, which will travel at a later date. At both the Momentary and Crystal Bridges, artwork includes paintings, sculpture, photography, video, performance, and mixed media. Lauren Haynes, curator of visual arts at the Momentary and curator, contemporary art at Crystal Bridges, co-curated the exhibition with Allison Glenn and Alejo Benedetti, Crystal Bridges associate curators, contemporary art.
“This exhibition is an opportunity to answer the question, what does art in America look like at this moment in time?” said Haynes. “Over the course of a year, our curatorial team met with artists and collectives and conducted studio visits to learn about artists who’ve been working for years, as well as artists at the beginning of their careers. We wanted themes and ideas to develop organically. The conversations and the artwork led us to create the exhibition’s four interconnected themes: Sense of Place, Mapping, World Building, and Temporality.”