Which state, what art?

Rory Thompson posits a rave and a challenge:

I’ve had QUITE ENOUGH of the (un)descriptive phrase, “State
of the art…
” I used to relish tearing into lazy reporters
who tagged the phrase on whenever they had nothing creative to say
about a new product. Can any of your more seasoned correspondents
tell me where “state of the art” originated? I need to know
so I can wave it in contributors’ faces when they try to slink it
into one of their features pieces.

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