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El Anatsui, Dzesi II, 2006. (detail) Aluminum liquor bottle caps and copper wire. 117 in. x 195 in. x 8 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Purchased, by exchange, with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Reed II.

This fall the Akron Art Museum shares some of the highlights of its collection with Northeast Ohio for the first time. Works included in Choice: Contemporary Art from the Akron Art Museum testify to the role that groundbreaking exhibitions for artists, among them Cleveland’s Julian Stanczak, and prescient purchases, including El Anatsui’s Dzesi II in 2006, have played in the Akron Art Museum’s commitment to assembling an outstanding collection with modest resources.

Artworks in Choice speak to the impact of visionary directors and curators as well as generous donors in the community and beyond the immediate region. George Segal’s Girl Sitting against a Wall II was acquired in 1972 with funds from the Museum’s 50th anniversary gala, while two years later another signature sculpture, Lee Bontecou’s untitled relief, entered the collection as a gift from New York gallery owner Leo Castelli. “Choice offers an exciting opportunity to partner with the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation and Transformer Station staff to present an exhibit outstanding art works from our collection in Cleveland,” comments Akron Art Museum Chief Curator Janice Driesbach.

According to Mark Masuoka, the Executive Director and of the Akron Art Museum, “Choice is also part of an extensive community engagement initiative that shares the museum’s collection with communities outside of Akron, and invites the public back to the museum to further experience the museum’s collection, world-class architecture and its new public garden space.”

The Akron Art Museum is notable for- and takes pride in- showcasing the accomplishments of regional artists alongside recognized artists working throughout the country and the world in its contemporary art galleries. Julian Stanczak’s Dual Glare and Matthew Kolodziej’s Good Neighbors, installed alongside canvases by Al Held and David Salle in the Transformer galleries attest to the museum’s role in celebrating Northeast Ohio artists and contributing to a vibrant arts culture in the region.

“The Akron Art Museum has taken a leadership role in the region to advance and celebrate contemporary art. That leadership has been an important catalyst for artists careers from international art stars like Cindy Sherman to important artists with roots in Ohio like Diana Al-Hadid,” said Fred Bidwell, Co-founder along with Laura Bidwell of Transformer Station. Laura Bidwell added, “We’re very excited to see some of the great works of the Akron Art Museum in a new context and seen by new audiences. We hope that this show will persuade many who are unfamiliar with the Akron Art Museum to make the short visit to see one of Northeast Ohio’s most wonderful cultural treasures.”

Choice: Contemporary Art from the Akron Art Museum opens on Friday, September 11, with an opening reception scheduled for Saturday, September 12 for members from 5:00 and 7:00 pm, and a public reception from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
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