Sarah Paul, Golden Balls, 2017, video still, Courtesy of the artist
Mahwish Chishty, Hellfire, mixed-media on cardboard, 2016, 62 x 15 x15 in. Courtesy of the artist
Lynda Benglis, Untitled, 1979, plaster, bronze, wire mesh, gesso, lacquer, gold leaf, 21 x 6 in. x 3 3/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 2009.30.3
Sherry Simms, Compact Cameo Lipstick, 2003, plated copper, silver, hair, lipstick, 3 1/4 x 6 x 1/2 in. (pendant only), 3 1/4 x 21 x 1/2 in. (with necklace), 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
Mary Jo Bole, Goodbye Victorians, 2008, cast iron, chrome, nickel plating, 25 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist
Peter Neff, Jr., Untitled [Two girls], 1856-1860, Melainotype (tintype) with applied color and gold, 2 1/2 x 1 7/8 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Purchased with funds donated in memory of Gladys E. McVicker. 2000.39
Yayoi Kusama, Chair, 1962, enamel on chair and sewn and stuffed cloth pouches, 42 x 27 x 33 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Wilbur J. Markstrom in honor of Rice A. Hershey, Jr. 1998.27
It highlights what is so wonderful about the Akron Art Museum and their curatorial staff: the willingness to explore and to take a risk in what they choose to exhibit. — Anderson Turner, "Akron Art Museum polishes up 'Heavy Metal,'" Akron Beacon Journal
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.