Robert Arneson, Nuke News, 1983, bronze, 19 x 22 x 28 1/8 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Purchased with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts Purchase Plan Program and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation
Doris Martha Weber, Industrial Giant, c. late 1940s, gelatin silver print, 19 1/8 x 15 1/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Museum Acquisition Fund
Lee Lozano, A Boring Drawing, 1969, photo-lithograph on paper, 20 x 25 3/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Galen J. Roush
Mahwish Chishty, Hellfire, mixed-media on cardboard, 2016, 62 x 15 x15 in. Courtesy of the artist
Lorna Simpson, III, 1994, Redwood, felt, clay, bronze, rubber, and waterless lithography, 2 1/8 x 5 3/8 x 13 5/8 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Mitchell D. Kahan
Sarah Paul, Golden Balls, 2017, video still, Courtesy of the artist
Metal is ubiquitous. We wear it, dwell inside structures built of it, and cook and eat with it. The development of civilization itself depended on our ancestors’ ability to craft metal tools and weapons, paving the way for advancements in agriculture, warfare, transportation and architecture. This substance, whether in pure element, alloy or compound form, has served as a mother lode of ideas and materials for artists for centuries.
Heavy Metal features artworks made of metal or materials disguised to resemble metal, as well as images of or about lustrous chemical elements. Exhibition artists exploit the key properties of their metal or metal-like materials, such as strength, ductility and plasticity, to develop innovative forms and imagery. Keenly aware of the connotations of their chosen medium, these artists address topics including race and gender equality, commerce, personal narrative and the proliferation of warfare, among others. Sometimes weighty, other times lighthearted, the themes expressed in Heavy Metal are articulated both through abstraction and realistic representation.
Heavy Metal is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funding from the Ohio Arts Council.