‘State of the ART: Discovering American Art Now’ to debut at Mint Museum Uptown April 22

Exhibition from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to remain on view through September 3

The Mint Museum announces State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now , on view April 22 to September 3. The exhibition was organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, where it debuted in 2014, and features 75 works in sculpture, painting, drawing, video, and mixed media by 39 artists from every region of the U.S. The diverse range of styles and voices reflects what’s happening in American art right now. The exhibition examines how today’s artists are informed by the past, innovate with materials old and new, and engage deeply with issues relevant to their communities. The exhibition is presented in Charlotte by PNC Financial Services, with additional support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Young Affiliates of the Mint.

Members of the media are invited to preview the exhibition at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street in Charlotte. Light refreshments will be served and curatorial staff will be available for interviews. RSVP to the media preview to leigh.dyer@mintmuseum.org. High resolution images are available upon request and media photography is permitted during the event.

The State of the Art exhibition culminated a year-long process in which Crystal Bridges’ curatorial team logged more than 100,000 miles, crisscrossing the country to visit artists in rural communities, small towns, and urban centers. The exhibition seeks to explore what is happening in studios and creative communities and then introduce those artists to a broader audience. The exhibition opened to unprecedented national attention, such as a feature on CBS Sunday Morning, placing State of the Art at the forefront of an ongoing discussion about art in America. Accolades include a 2015 Excellence in Exhibition Award from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

“I am very excited to share this exciting exhibition with our audience,” said Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s senior curator of American, Modern, & Contemporary Art. “Visitors are sure to delight in the diversity of its subject matter, artistic approaches, and mediums – there truly is something for everyone. State of the Art demonstrates the many ways in which contemporary art can intersect and connect with our daily lives and personal histories.”

“We know what art can do, how it changes perspectives, even lives,” said Weston M. Andress, PNC regional president of Western Carolina. “We are committed to supporting innovative, thought-provoking works such as this fine exhibition offered by The Mint Museum. We are proud to bring it to our community.”

Among the included artists are North Carolina’s own Bob Trotman and Peter Glenn Oakley. Trotman’s carved wooden sculptures are tongue-in-cheek examinations of the corporate lifestyle and derive from his own childhood memories of his father’s corporate persona. Oakley reimagines mundane objects, in this case a sewing machine, into elegant marble sculptures, shifting our attention away from their practical uses to the beauty of their design.

Other exhibited artworks include Drawing E. Obsoleta, a video by former North Carolina artist Jeff Whetstone, where the artist attempts to manipulate the writhing form of a black snake to create a line-drawing of the landscape. Pittsburgh artist Lenka Clayton approaches her creations from a maternal perspective. In her installation titled 63 Objects Taken Out of My Son’s Mouth, Clayton showcases an array of small objects that would have originally been stepped on, ignored, or thrown away, but are now interpreted as potentially life-threatening hazards. The largest exhibited work is by Brooklyn artist Jonathan Schipper. Slow Room is an installation evoking ‘grandma’s living room’ where all the furniture and adornments are tethered to a hidden winch. Each piece is slowly pulled toward the back of the room until nothing exists but a pile of destroyed objects. For Schipper, this is a metaphor for the gradual progress and ultimate end of life; the slow lapse of time keeps us unaware of gradual changes made to our minds and bodies throughout our lifetimes.

Four of the artists will visit the Mint to give FREE public talks during the exhibition, along with NexGen Mint workshops to teens 14-18 and other opportunities for interaction. They include Delita Martin, whose free talk will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday May 4; Bob Trotman, who appears at 6 p.m. on Wednesday June 14; Eyakem Gulilat at 6 p.m. on Thursday July 19; and Jeff Whetstone at 6 p.m. on Wednesday August 9. Exhibition programs are supported, in part, by the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation. For details and other information about public programming surrounding the exhibition, visit mintmuseum.org/happenings .

Above image: Carl Joe Williams (1970- ). American Shotgun, 2012, mixed media on found door. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo: Edward C. Robison III.