From Wilderness to Resource: A Story in Pictures

Painting of man sketching alongside a creek in the woodsHerman Herzog (American, 1831–1932). Sketching on Beaver’s Creek, c. 1880–1885. Oil on canvas, 24 x 22 inches. Museum Purchase, Wege Foundation, 2001.4

From Wilderness to Resource: A Story in Pictures

February 24, 2018 – June 3, 2018

This selection from GRAM’s permanent collection has been organized to complement the exhibition Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle. Like Rockman’s impressive paintings and works on paper, the works on view address the relationship between humankind and the natural environment. Focused primarily on the United States, the exhibition tells a story in pictures of the changes in the natural landscape over the last two-hundred years.

Nineteenth century white Americans viewed the continent as either settled or frontier – even though much of the “wilderness” was already the home and range of Native Americans. As the century progressed and the American population grew, more settlers moved west, firm in the belief that this territorial expansion was God’s will. At the same time, the United States was transforming from an agrarian to an industrialized society. Work horses and hand tools gave way to mechanization, allowing for larger and faster interventions into the landscape.

Over time, our relationship with nature has shifted from one of utter dependence to one of increasing domination. Major technological and scientific breakthroughs have enabled us to build massive dams, highway systems, and sprawling cities. Modern agricultural practices make use of advanced equipment, irrigation systems, and pesticides allowing for production at a massive and more cost-effective scale. Successful businesses grew into corporations with enough wealth to influence governmental policies that impacted the natural environment. Today, humankind’s complicated relationship with the environment requires a balancing act between the pursuit of profit, energy needs, and the protection and care of our vital natural resources.

Mirror Variations: The Art of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Mirror and reverse-glass painted wall sculptureMonir Farmanfarmaian (Iranian, b. 1924). Tir (Convertible Series), 2015. Mirror, reverse-glass painting, plaster on wood, 63 x 63 x 6 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery. Photo by Robert Divers Herrick.

Mirror Variations: The Art of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

May 19, 2018 – August 26, 2018

GRAM presents concurrent solo exhibitions featuring Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (Iranian) and Anila Quayyum Agha (Pakistani-American), both of whom create art that synthesize Islamic tradition and modern abstraction into objects of great beauty and depth.

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian has an international reputation for sculpture and drawing that fuses traditional Persian patterns based in mathematics with the geometric abstract art she got to know while living in New York City in the 1960s. The artist’s primary materials¬–mirror and painted glass–were used extensively in traditional Persian architecture. Her work develops out of her interest in the serial progression of rectilinear forms, such as triangles, pentagons, and hexagons. Large sculptural reliefs with surfaces of cut mirror mosaic and reverse-glass painting form the core of Mirror Variations: The Art of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. Works in the Convertible Series are multipart reliefs comprised of nearly-identical, interlocking elements which can be exhibited in a variety of configurations, each designed by the artist. Based on an ancient honeycomb dome design, the work Untitled (Muqarnas) unfolds like symmetrical mirrored wings. The exhibition also includes drawings featuring complex geometric motifs in jewel-tone colors.

Farmanfarmaian was born in Qazvin, Iran in 1924. She has studied and worked both in Iran and the United States. Her art has been included in numerous solo and group art exhibitions internationally, including a one-person exhibition in 2015 at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

Related Events

Lunch & Learn: Geometry and Art
May 22, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Join us for a BYOB (bring your own lunch) Lunch & Learn inGRAM's Cook Auditorium. Inspired by the work of Agha and Farmanfarmaian, this event will explore the connection between geometry and art. 

David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling

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David Wiesner (American, b. 1956). Fish Girl, 2016. Watercolor and ink line on paper, 9 x 13½ inches. Copyright ©2010 by David Wiesner.

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David Wiesner (American, b. 1956). Art & Max, 2010. Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 9½ x 12 inches. Copyright ©2010 by David Wiesner.

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David Wiesner (American, b. 1956). Art & Max, 2010. Watercolor, acrylic, and poster paint on paper, 13½ x 25¼ inches. Copyright ©2010 by David Wiesner.

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David Wiesner (American, b. 1956). Mr. Wuffles!, 2013. Watercolor and India ink on paper, 9 x 11 inches. Copyright ©2013 by David Wiesner.

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David Wiesner (American, b. 1956). Original design for National Poetry Week poster, 2001. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 14 inches.

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David Wiesner (American, b. 1956). The Three Pigs, 2001. Watercolor, India ink, gouache, and colored pencil on paper 9 x 22 inches. Copyright ©2001 by David Wiesner.

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David Wiesner (American, b. 1956). Tuesday, 1991. Watercolor on paper, 8½ x 20 inches. Copyright ©1991 by David Wiesner.

David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling

October 26, 2019 – January 12, 2020

David Wiesner has enthralled readers for three decades, and his remarkable career is surveyed in this first-ever retrospective devoted to his art. The exhibition features 70 original watercolors from some of Wiesner’s most famous books, including three for which he won the prestigious Caldecott Medal: Tuesday (1992), The Three Pigs (2002), and Flotsam (2007). Also on view is work from Wiesner’s earliest artistic successes while still a student at the Rhode Island School of Design to his most recent book project—his first graphic novel, Fish Girl, published in 2017.

This exhibition has been organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Anila Quayyum Agha: Intersections

Anila Quayyum Agha (American, b. Pakistan 1965). Intersections, 2013. Laser-cut wood, 6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 feet. Courtesy of the Artist.

Anila Quayyum Agha: Intersections

May 19, 2018 – August 26, 2018

GRAM presents concurrent solo exhibitions featuring Anila Quayyum Agha (Pakistani-American) and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (Iranian), both of whom synthesize Islamic tradition and modern abstraction into objects of great beauty and depth. The two women have immersed themselves in the distinctive geometric forms and designs of traditional Islamic cultures, which are seen in architecture and ornamentation throughout the Islamic world. Farmanfarmaian and Agha are fluent, too, in the language of 20th century Western abstract art. With feet in two worlds, both deftly integrate their diverse modes and influences into uniquely personal art.

Anila Quayyum Agha’s Intersections is an immersive gallery installation centered around a suspended cube. Each of the cube’s six sides are laser cut with the same delicate patterns, derived from decorative motifs found in Spain’s historic Alhambra, an international highlight of traditional Islamic architecture and design. A single light bulb within the cube casts shadows of interlacing patterns onto the room’s walls, ceiling, and floor–and subsequently the people within the space. In contrast to the artist’s childhood experience of being excluded from mosques because she was female, with Intersections, Agha creates a public space open to all.

Anila Quayyum Agha was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1965. She holds a BFA from the National College of Art in Lahore, Pakistan and an MFA from the University of North Texas, Denton. She is an Associate Professor at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, Indiana. Intersections won multiple awards in ArtPrize 2014, when it was first exhibited at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Related Events

Member Exhibition Opening
May 18, 2018, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM

Join us 7-9pm for the exclusive member opening of Anila Quayym Agha: Intersections and Mirror Variations: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. GRAM Members and their guests enjoy cash bar, light hors d’oeuvres, and live entertainment.

Lunch & Learn: Light and Shadow in Architecture
June 19, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Join us in Cook Auditorium for a Lunch and Learn discussion focusing on the influence of light and shadow in Islamic architecture.

Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present


Gerard Rancinan (French, born 1953). Laura Flessel, 2001. Chromogenic print, 311⁄2 x 39 6/8 in. (80 x 101 cm). Courtesy of the artist


Brian Finke (American, born 1976). Untitled (Cheerleading #81), 2001, printed 2003. Chromogenic print, 30 x 30 in. (76.2 x 76.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist


Ken Geiger (American, born 1957). Nigerian Relay Team, Olympics, Barcelona, 1992, printed 2016. Inkjet print, 17 7/16 x 19 5/8 in. (44.3 x 49.9 cm). Courtesy of Ken Geiger/The Dallas Morning News


Mark Leech (British, born 1956). World Cup, Netherlands vs. Brazil, July 2, 2010, printed 2016. Inkjet print, 9 5/16 x 14 in. (23.7 x 35.6cm). Courtesy of the artist and Offside Sports Photography


Tim Clayton (British, born 1960). Australian Swimmer Matthew Dunn, 1993, printed 2016. Inkjet print, 81⁄2 x 14 in. (21.7 x 35.6 cm). Courtesy of the artist


Georges Demeny (French, 1850–1917). Chronophotograph of an exercise on the horizontal bar, 1906. Black-and-white photograph. © INSEP Iconothèque

Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present

October 27, 2018 – January 13, 2019

Photography and sports have been entwined since the invention of photography in the 19th century. However, the artistry of shooting sports has been underappreciated in comparison to other genres within the medium. Sports are all about movement and motion, and this exhibition demonstrates how photographic technology enabled its practitioners to capture the human body in motion as it had never been seen before, all with astonishing technique and artistry.

Comprising over 200 images in color and black-and-white from the past 175 years, Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present presents an astonishing diversity of work by more than 150 photographers. The exhibition includes classic images of legendary athletes and historic action shots, as well as pictures taken behind-the-scenes and on the sidelines. Sports familiar and unfamiliar are represented, in photographs taken across six continents. Fans and spectators worldwide are portrayed, too, demonstrating an enthusiasm for sports that transcends national borders and socioeconomic levels.

Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present is organized by the Brooklyn Museum and curated by Gail Buckland, Benjamin Menschel Distinguished Visiting Professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

Carl Wilson: Her Purse Smelled Like Juicy Fruit and Other Tales

Black and white linocut printCarl Wilson (American, b. 1956). Getting to the Bottom of It, 2014. Linocut print. Courtesy of the Artist.

Carl Wilson: Her Purse Smelled Like Juicy Fruit and Other Tales

November 3, 2017 – March 11, 2018

Working in prints, books, and even films, Carl Wilson is a storyteller who draws on his own life and the lives of others. “Everyone has a story to tell,” Wilson states, “I look at the people I have known, and others with whom I am familiar, and see compelling lives that need to be documented. I believe we all relate.” Her Purse Smelled Like Juicy Fruit is a series of linoleum prints with narrative text that tells the life story of the artist’s mother. Using traditional carving techniques, and influenced by expressionist printmakers of the past, Wilson reinterprets the graphic linocut style to create a striking visual chronicle of his memories and imagination.

Carl Wilson was born and raised in Detroit. A former auto worker, he left behind the assembly plant in 2005 to become a full-time artist and writer. Since that time, Wilson has been the recipient of a Kresge Foundation Artist Fellowship, has been an artist-in-residence at the historic Yaddo artist colony, and has taken part in numerous exhibitions. Carl Wilson: Her Purse Smelled Like Juicyfruit and Other Tales is his first solo museum exhibition.


Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:

Steelcase, Inc.

Beusse & Porter Family Foundation

The Jury Foundation

Clark Communications

Additional funding is provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society

A Selection of Award Recipients from the 2017 Festival of the Arts Regional Arts Competition

Megan Klco (American, b. 1988). Noise, 2017. Oil on canvas. 44 x 67 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.

A Selection of Award Recipients from the 2017 Festival of the Arts Regional Arts Competition

July 18, 2017 – August 27, 2017

GRAM is proud to partner with Festival of the Arts to bring a selection of the 2017 Regional Art Competition winners to the museum this summer. The regional artists featured are: Candice Chovanec, Richard Deming Jr., Henry Droski, Susan Ellison, Jeff Grill, David Huang, Megan Klco, Colleen O’Rourke, and Kelly Walkotten.

ArtPrize Nine at GRAM

Scroll Left and Right to Activate Slideshow

Scroll Left and Right to Activate Slideshow

Tim Bruce

Tim Bruce

Assemblages
Category: 3-D
Vote code: 65615

Katherine Corpe

Katherine Corpe

Magna
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 65924

Leroi DeRubertis

Leroi DeRubertis

Enmesh
Category: Installation
Vote code: 65805

Jordyn Fishman

Jordyn Fishman

Income Inequality, Imagine
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 65746

Amy Helminiak

Amy Helminiak

Digital Landscape
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 65846

Letitia Huckaby

Letitia Huckaby

Flour
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 64887

Jeana Eve Klein

Jeana Eve Klein

Past Perfect
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 65075

Emily Mayo

Emily Mayo

Kaphar
Category: 3-D
Vote code: 64766

Hwa-Jeen Na

Hwa-Jeen Na

As Much Heaven as Earth
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 65913

Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz

Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz

Arctic Abrasions
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 66552

Edouard Steinhauer

Edouard Steinhauer

Rainbow Generator
Category: 3-D
Vote code: 65403

Bradley Tucker

Bradley Tucker

Confronting Conformity
Category: 3-D
Vote code: 65097

Mel Watkin

Mel Watkin

Mighty Chrysanthemum Tree
Category: 2-D
Vote code: 64747

Jessica Wildman

Jessica Wildman

Bushcraft: Radical Stimulus
Category: Installation
Vote code: 65306

Yuge Zhou

Yuge Zhou

Midtown Flutter
Category: Time-based
Vote code: 65577

ArtPrize Nine at GRAM

September 13, 2017 – October 8, 2017

Sixteen artists will participate in ArtPrize Nine at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The exhibition will feature works of art from regional, national, and international artists in mediums including painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, drawing, and performance.

New this year is the Museum’s participation in Pitch Night, an ArtPrize program through which participants in select cities compete for funding and the opportunity to exhibit their art at a high profile venue. Chris Vitiello, winner of Pitch Night Durham, will transform one of GRAM’s galleries into a surreal, interactive environment with his time-based performance The Language is Asleep. Vitiello will be on-site for the duration of ArtPrize, writing and handing out one-line poems and occasionally transforming into the Poetry Fox, a giant fox who turns out custom, on-demand poems on his vintage typewriter.

The exhibition includes a diverse group of artists, who hail from six different U.S. states and Germany, and are competing within every ArtPrize category–2D, 3D, Time-Based, and Installation. Many thematic links can be found between the works on display: GRAM’s ArtPrize artists may explore humankind’s relationship to our ever-changing environment, the obstacles to communication, approaches to representing personal identity, and the ability of art to convey meaning.

GRAM is proud to host 3 of the 25 artists who have been awarded Artist Seed Grants to help fund their ArtPrize 9 projects. Leroi DeRubertis of Durham, North Carolina, Emily Mayo of Grand Rapids, and Jessica Wildman of Highland Park, Michigan will each receive a $2,000 grant presented by the Frey Foundation.

Related Events

Member Exhibition Party
September 14, 2018, 6:00 PM-9:00 PM

Join us for the Member Opening of ArtPrize Ten at GRAM! ArtPrize is a radically open, independently organized international art competition.

Off-Shore and On the Beach

Left: William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905). Sisters on the Shore, 1896. Oil on Canvas. 56 x 36 inches. Gift of Charles Willis Ward. Right: Èdouard Manet (French, 1832–1883). On the Beach, c. 1868. Oil on canvas. 15 3/4 x 19 inches. Bequest of Robert H. Tannahill.

Off-Shore and On the Beach

July 7, 2017 – August 27, 2017

This year’s statewide exhibition, organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts, juxtaposes two 19th century seaside scenes by French painters Èdouard Manet and William Adolphe Bouguereau from the DIA’s world-renowned collection. The subject of figures by the seashore was of great interest to many 19th century painters, though approaches to the theme were quite varied. This exhibition provides the opportunity to compare a sketchy, impressionistic painting by Manet alongside the meticulously realistic canvas by Bouguereau, as well as the chance to view a number of paintings and works on paper from GRAM’s own collection featuring the same shore-side theme.

This exhibition has been organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Andy Warhol’s American Icons

Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Marilyn Monore (Marilyn), 1967. Screenprint on paper, 40 x 40 in. Private Collection. © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Marilyn Monroe™; Rights of Publicity and Persona Rights: The Estate of Marilyn Monroe LLC. marilynmonroe.com

Andy Warhol’s American Icons

October 28, 2017 – February 11, 2018

Provocative during his lifetime, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) has since assumed iconic status as one of the most beloved and influential artists of the 20th century. Warhol mined mass culture for his subjects and images, tapping into America’s moods, values, and obsessions–in effect turning a mirror on our popular culture. Warhol’s images of Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor have themselves become defining images of American culture. From his early days as a commercial illustrator, Warhol adopted the look, language, and techniques of advertisements for his art, fusing his personal artistic expression with images from popular culture and mechanical processes.

Organized by GRAM, this unique exhibition showcases Warhol’s vision and celebration of America by bringing together paintings, prints, photographs, and films that create a handbook of American cultural icons. One of Warhol’s most important early paintings, Green Coca-Cola Bottles, is featured on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Created in 1962, the painting is composed of neat rows of the company’s iconic glass bottles, reminiscent of a supermarket display, save for the irregularity of the individually hand-stamped bottles. The exhibition also includes paintings and prints which utilize the silkscreen technique that Warhol adopted a year later, in 1963, and with which he is most associated. Subjects include Muhammad Ali, Sitting Bull, dollar signs (what could be more American?), and one of the most iconic of Michiganders, Gerald Ford.

Rounding out the exhibition are photographs and early films, from a time when Warhol was experimenting with the medium. Empire, an eight-hour long “portrait” of the famed Empire State Building as filmed from a static position in an adjacent building, will be on view, along with several of the artist’s Screen Tests. The Screen Tests are 3-minute filmed portraits of Warhol Factory regulars and visitors, in which the subjects stared back at or enjoyed the attention of the stationary camera, constructing their own personas before our eyes.

Included in the exhibition are loans of artwork from the following collections:
• The Andy Warhol Museum
• Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
• Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University
• Steelcase, Inc. Art Collection
• Weatherspoon Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
• Whitney Museum of American Art
• Collection of Carol Sarosik and Shelley Padnos
• Collection of Sam and Janene Cummings