SEP 13 2014 – JAN 19 2015



The Journey

The ultimate road trip, to a thousand destinations, for one unforgettable exhibition. In 2013, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s curatorial team hit the road to investigate what’s happening in American art today. Over the course of a year, the team logged more than 100,000 miles, crisscrossing the United States to visit nearly 1,000 artists.

Traveling to communities large and small, the Museum sought to discover artists whose work has not yet been fully recognized on a national level. On their travels, museum curators conducted hundreds of hours of one-on-one conversations with artists in their studios.

The Exhibition

The result of this unprecedented journey is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that draws from every region of the US, offering an unusually diverse look at American art. State of the Art brings together the artwork of more than 100 artists, ranging from works on canvas and paper to photography and video to installation and performance art, and more. The exhibition examines the ways in which today’s artists are informed by the past, innovating with materials old and new, and engaging deeply with issues relevant to our times.

Complimentary admission; no tickets or reservations required.


A. Mary Kay

A. Mary Kay b. 1954      STUDIO IN LINDSBORG, KS Working out of a converted elementary school at the end of a dirt road, English-born painter A. Mary Kay takes inspiration from the natural landscape just outside her door. On walks across the Midwestern plains, she collects animal bones, desiccated plants, and other natural materials to use


Adam Belt

Adam Belt b. 1975      STUDIO IN SAN DIEGO, CA Having begun his career as a landscape painter, Adam Belt’s current practice takes place at the point where art, science, and religion converge. Fascinated by the science of natural processes, Belt uses his artwork as a means of connecting with the ineffable something beyond those forces. Over


Adonna Khare

Adonna Khare b. 1980      STUDIO IN SANTA MONICA, CA Adonna Khare’s large-scale drawings of animals command immediate attention: they are big, iconic, and lovingly rendered. Once you come closer, details emerge that suggest a story, conferring human attributes onto the animal figures. Consider Rhinos, a drawing depicting a rhinoceros family of three gathered around a rocky


Adonna Khare – Images of Loss and Consumption

Adonna Khare – Images of Loss and Consumption Adonna Khare discusses the symbolism of rhinos in her compositions.


Ala Ebtekar

Ala Ebtekar b. 1978      STUDIO IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA In his work, Ala Ebtekar juxtaposes the aesthetics of his Persian heritage with his American fascination with science fiction and the cosmos. Under Ebtekar’s skillful hand, the Persian archway—traditional symbol of the duality of earthly and divine existence—represents science fiction’s invitation to explore an infinite universe. It


Alberto Aguilar

Alberto Aguilar b. 1974       STUDIO IN CHICAGO, IL Every object, family member, and activity in Alberto Aguilar’s Chicago home is potentially a part of his artistic practice. Rather than carve out a specialized room for art-making, he makes the entire house—and the lives led therein—his studio. Sometimes he’s creating a temporary sculptural installation out of


Alison Ruttan

Alison Ruttan b. 1954      STUDIO IN CHICAGO, IL Images of destruction from around the world pass before us every day in the rapid cycle of 24- hour news. We rarely take the time to consider the lives lost in acts of violence happening in far-flung regions. Alison Ruttan fixes her attention on buildings destroyed by violence


Andy DuCett

Andy DuCett b. 1979      STUDIO IN MINNEAPOLIS, MN Andy DuCett creates experiences. From early assemblages of everyday objects collected from alleyway dumpsters, his work has developed to include fully immersive happenings that have the air of a stage set, school carnival, and flea market all rolled into one. His work triggers powerful associations in those for


Angela Drakeford

Angela Drakeford b. 1983      STUDIO IN OMAHA, NE As a child in Omaha, Angela Drakeford was bullied for being “too white” in her largely African American neighborhood, and then for being “too black” in the mostly white schools to which she was bussed. As an artist, Drakeford takes inspiration from the many harsh utterances she heard


Angela Ellsworth

Angela Ellsworth b. 1964      STUDIO IN PHOENIX, AZ A fifth-generation Mormon, Angela Ellsworth was raised in Salt Lake City, UT. Her great-great-grandfather was Lorenzo Snow, the fifth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). He was convicted of polygamy in 1885 and incarcerated. As a self-identified feminist and queer artist, Ellsworth addresses


Aspen Mays

Aspen Mays b. 1980      STUDIO IN COLUMBUS, OH Although a photographer by practice, Aspen Mays utilizes her background in anthropology to explore humankind’s connections with various scientific phenomena and ephemeral lifetime events. She uses photography to investigate fleeting experiences, whether by trapping fireflies in the housing of a camera to capture their light or documenting every


Autumn Knight

Autumn Knight b. 1980       STUDIO IN HOUSTON, TX To be approached by a stranger can be an occasion for concern, even fear. Being proposed to on bended knee is one of the most poignant and memorable personal experiences in our lives. Autumn Knight unites these very different experiences in her work of performance art, I


Bob Trotman

Bob Trotman b. 1947       STUDIO IN CASAR, NC Bob Trotman’s carved wooden sculpture, Shaker, seems to address you directly: a more than life-sized man reaches out, forcefully offering his right hand in a gesture of greeting. Shown only from the chest up, the figure slowly rotates atop a pedestal, never pausing to complete the meaningful


Calder Kamin

Calder Kamin b. 1984      STUDIO IN KANSAS CITY, MO At Crystal Bridges, several of the Moshe Safdie-designed buildings feature glass walls, allowing visitors to experience both the art inside the Museum and the beautiful outdoor setting of the Ozarks. But the windows aren’t such a treat for birds, which sometimes collide with the glass, misreading the


Cameron Keith Gainer

Cameron Keith Gainer b. 1973      STUDIO IN MINNEAPOLIS, MN Cameron Keith Gainer works in a broad range of media and approaches. From his bustling Minneapolis studio comes a quarterly journal (on “art, politics, philosophy, and culture”), sculptures made from 4.6 billion-year-old meteorites, films, paintings, and installation works. Underpinning all is a keen interest in fundamental concepts,


Carl Joe Williams

Carl Joe Williams b. 1970       STUDIO IN NEW ORLEANS, LA Carl Joe Williams’s paintings—colorful, musical, improvisational—reflect the character of New Orleans, where the artist was born and continues to live. Williams grabs everyday objects from the streets of his neighborhood: unhinged doors, rolls of oldwallpaper, abandoned televisions. He then paints directly on the surfaces of


Carl Joe Williams – Musical Collaboration

Carl Joe Williams – Musical Collaboration Carl Joe Williams discusses his process for creating the music in his works.


Carl Joe Williams – Rethinking American Icons

Carl Joe Williams – Rethinking American Icons Williams discusses the conceptual background and inspirations for American Shotgun.


Video Interviews with the Artists

Bios • Work • Process


The Birth and (Slow) Death of the Slow Room


Ali Demorotski is Curatorial Assistant here at Crystal Bridges, and she has been closely involved with the State of the Art exhibition from the get-go:  handling everything from flight arrangements and artist recommendations to the rather unusual subject of this post:  shopping with artist Jonathan Schipper for the furniture to be used to create Slow


Wild Art!


Joachim Pissarro is the great grandson of Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. He is also the Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Galleries at the City University of New York (CUNY), and co-author of the book Wild Art. Pissarro will visit the Museum tomorrow, January 7, to give a Spotlight Lecture


State of the Art: the App


Along with the rest of the Museum departments, the Digital Media team has been hard at work to create interactives for the State of the Art exhibition.  One project we created was the State of the Art mobile app.  The app is available for free on Apple and Android platforms.   I’ve been asked a few times