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Totally Rad: Bold Color in the 1980s

Judith Bear Isroff Gallery
February 18 – September 19, 2021

Bright primary and secondary hues, radiating neon and Day-Glo, soft and sweet pastels, sharp black and white contrasts—in the 1980s, wild colors touched the entire spectrum of American culture. This exuberant trend was urged onward through television, music, music videos, video games, graffiti, fashion, and the materialism brought on by an economic boom. Artists burst forth with their own vivid creations across a variety of media, enthusiastically adding to this wave of color.

Built out of the Akron Art Museum’s permanent collection, Totally Rad offers a dazzling dive into the vibrancy of the ‘80s. The decade’s rowdy culture has often been regarded as excessive, tasteless, and even embarrassing, but the artists who participated in it would surely disagree. Some brought cool and studied interest, tracing out the role that brightness and brilliance play in science and popular media. Others made bold and spirited works for the simple enjoyment of unleashing their creative energies. All together, their work shows the inventiveness, freedom, and fun that can be found in testing out every extreme possibility that color has to offer.

Totally Rad is presented alongside Totally Radical: Art and Politics in the 1980s.

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Soviet/American Array I Robert Rauschenberg (Port Arthur, Texas, 1925 - 2008, Captiva Island, Florida) 1988-1989 Photogravure, chine colle 88 1/2 in. x 52 5/8 in. (224.79 cm x 133.67 cm) Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media 1993.5

March 11, 2021, 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Coffee with the Collection: Totally Rad/Totally Radical

Bring your morning coffee and hear about the curatorial inspirations and behind-the-scenes work that went into the museum’s latest pair of exhibitions. Along the way, you’ll learn about the rad and radical art from the 1980s that can be found in the museum’s collection.

Coffee with the Collection is made possible with support from the Henry V. and Frances W. Christenson Foundation.

Soviet/American Array I, Robert Rauschenberg, (Port Arthur, Texas, 1925 – 2008, Captiva Island, Florida) , 1988-1989, Photogravure, chine colle, 88 1/2 in. x 52 5/8 in. (224.79 cm x 133.67 cm), Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media, 1993.5