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State of the Art 2020: Record

This exhibition brings together artists exploring the slippery task of tangling with history, the ways in which art can express concepts when words fail, and how some artists apply rationality to the random.

Available Touring Summer 2020 - Winter/Spring 2022/2023

Exhibition Images

  • Damien Stamer, Horry County 6, 2018, oil on panel, 72 × 95 × 4 in. Courtesy of SOCO Gallery and the artist.

  • Enrico Riley, Untitled: Resistance, Carrier of Music, 2019, oil and watercolor on canvas, 42 × 36 in. Courtesy of the artist, the Kent and Tamara Kelley Collection, and Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco and New York.

  • Carla Edwards, Bonfire, 2017, American flags, bleach, nylon dye, 124 × 112 in. Courtesy of Carla Edwards.

  • Paul Stephen Benjamin, Summer Breeze, 2018, video installation, dimensions variable, Courtesy of Paul Stephen Benjamin.

  • Mae Aur, The Gaurdeners, 2019, wood and paint, 80 × 48 × 3 in. Artwork by Mae Aur.

  • Peter Everett, Lych, 2018, oil on canvas, 86 × 69 5/8 × 1 5/8 in. Courtesy of the artist.

About the Exhibition

State of the Art is an exploration into how contemporary art – produced all across the country including regions outside traditional art centers – reflects the present moment. It began in 2014, when Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art presented State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, which was seen by 175,000 visitors in Bentonville, Arkansas before traveling to five additional museums. State of the Art 2020 – featuring a fresh new group of artists selected by a new curatorial team – opened at the Momentary and at Crystal Bridges in February 2020 and is now ready to be experienced across the country.

In its original presentation,State of the Art 2020 displayed more than 100 recent works, by 61 artists working in paintings, sculpture, photography, video, performance, and mixed media. The artists represent a cross-section of makers working in the United States today. To travel to Art Bridges partners, the show has been divided into three different exhibitions of approximately 5,000-8,000 square feet each, called Locate, Record, and Constructs.

The exhibition State of the Art 2020: Record brings together artists exploring the slippery task of tangling with history, the ways in which art can express concepts when words fail, and how some artists apply rationality to the random. Here, “Record” speaks to the task of documenting the random, confusing, and sometimes inexplicable, and underscores a desire to return to the existing record in order to reconsider.

Section 1: Preserving & (Re)constructing History
History is always a slippery concept. In an ideal scenario it is an unbiased record of the past – a neutral tool employed to help inform the present. In reality we know history to be an often biased construction of events – a story that flattens, simplifies, and recasts according to the person recording it. The two sub-sections, “Preserving History” and “(Re)Constructing History” differ in approach, but speak to related ideas around our relationship to the past. 

Section 2: Seeking the Intangible
Not everything artists depict can be easily explained. Sometimes a concept is too big to grasp, too elusive to articulate in words, but finds a certain amount of clarity when expressed through visual art. In the “Seeking the Intangible” section, artists weigh in on a variety of ideas that defy simple explanation.

Section 3: Finding Order
Making sense of the disorderly and finding patterns among the seemingly random facets of life is a decidedly human endeavor. In “Finding Order” the featured artists overlay the general messiness of life with a sense of rationality.


The national tour of State of the Art 2020 is sponsored by Bank of America with additional support from Art Bridges.




Availability & Touring

  • November 2021-February 2022