Carl Wilson: Her Purse Smelled Like Juicyfruit 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 Juicyfruit and Other Tales

November 3, 2017 – February 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 Juicyfruit is a series of fourteen 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: Candace Chovanec, Richard Deming Jr., Henry Droski, Susan Ellison, Jeff Grill, David Huang, Megan Klco, Colleen O’Rourke, and Kelly Walkotten.

ArtPrize Nine at GRAM

Man pointing at work of art with little girl

ArtPrize Nine at GRAM

September 13, 2017 – October 8, 2017

ArtPrize returns to GRAM this year with a diverse array of contemporary art in a broad spectrum of media. 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. Between now and April 26, North Carolina artists may submit a proposal to be included in Pitch Night Durham and have the chance to present how they would activate a gallery space at GRAM. Click here for more information.

GRAM is one of the premiere ArtPrize venues in downtown Grand Rapids. Centrally located in the heart of the city, GRAM is known for hosting some of the strongest work in this international art competition; Public Vote Grand Prize winners in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and the Juried Grand Prize winner in 2014. GRAM was also shortlisted for the honor of Best Venue in 2013 and 2014.

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Saturdays during ArtPrize, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM

Drop in to GRAM Studio on your Saturday visit to ArtPrize.

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Drop-in Studio: ArtPrize Sundays
Sundays during ArtPrize, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM

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Charles E. Burchfield: A Resounding Roar

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967). Telegraph Music, 1949. Watercolor and ink on paper. 11 5/8 x 17 5/8 inches. Burchfield Penney Art Center. Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1994

Charles E. Burchfield: A Resounding Roar

October 28, 2017 – January 14, 2018

The vibrant landscapes of American watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield (1893 – 1967) crackle with color and energy. Charles E. Burchfield: A Resounding Roar explores the idea that sound and music were a crucial source of inspiration for Burchfield’s art. The exhibition brings together paintings and drawings inspired by the ever-present sounds of nature, as well as the music of the great composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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.

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Coffee with the Curator
October 28, 2017, 10:30 AM-11:30 AM

Join us for coffee and conversation with GRAM's Chief Curator, Ron Platt. This exclusive member's-only in-gallery lecture will focus on Andy Warhol's: American Icons and Christian Marclay: Video Quartet.

Man in suit with glasses
Lecture: Warhol’s Iconography
November 9, 2017, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM

Ron Platt, curator of Andy Warhol's American Icons and long-time fan of Andy Warhol delves further into some of Warhol’s iconic subjects, tracing their historical and cultural roots and associations, as well as Warhol’s own particular interest in them.

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Second Saturday Sketching Tour
November 11, 2017, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Come on a free-with-admission sketching tour in GRAM's galleries.

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Second Saturday Sketching Tour
January 13, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

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Marilyn Monroe Print
Andy Warhol's American Icons Drop-In Tour
January 27, 2018, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Join us on a free drop-in tour of our newest exhibition!

Christian Marclay: Video Quartet

Image of four projected screens featuring musical instruments and singersChristian Marclay (b. 1955). Video Quartet, 2002. Four‑channel video projection, color, sound, 17 min. 96 × 480 in. (243.8 × 1219.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 2005.171. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Christian Marclay: Video Quartet

October 28, 2017 – January 14, 2018

Since the 1980s, Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay has sampled, improvised, and remixed sound, video, and performance into astonishing works that defy categorization. Marclay’s fourteen-minute installation, Video Quartet, consists of four synchronized videos shown on adjoining screens, each with its own soundtrack. Video Quartet is made up of more than 700 individual fragments of film and sound from popular movies in which characters play instruments, sing, or make noise in one way or another. Marclay reorganized the clips on a home computer into a new unified composition in which the performers seem to improvise together free of their original context. The clips included in Video Quartet are primarily taken from Hollywood feature films dating from the 1920s to the early twenty-first century. The work opens with scenes of an orchestra tuning up, followed by clips in which characters play instruments or sing, interspersed with scenes featuring shouts, screams, and close-ups of various noise-making objects.

This exhibition is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle

Panoramic painting by Alexis RockmanAlexis Rockman (American, b. 1962). Cascade, 2015. Oil and alkyd on wood panel. 72 x 144 inches. Commissioned by Grand Rapids Art Museum with funds provided by Peter Wege, Jim and Mary Nelson, John and Muriel Halick, Mary B. Loupee, and Karl and Patricia Betz. Grand Rapids Art Museum, 2015.19

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle

January 27, 2018 – April 29, 2018

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle explores the past, present, and future of North America’s Great Lakes–one of the world’s most emblematic and ecologically significant ecosystems.

This multifaceted project was initiated in 2013 when artist Alexis Rockman embarked on a research tour of the Great Lakes region. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a suite of five mural-sized paintings which explore separate themes that emerged during Rockman’s travels. These are accompanied by several large-scale watercolors and field drawings–monochromatic animal and plant studies made from site-sourced organic material such as mud, sand, coal, and leaves.

One of the world’s great natural treasures, the Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Superior—form an interconnected system that is among the most beautiful, economically significant, and ecologically complex regions on the planet. The Great Lakes, which hold over 20% of the world’s fresh water, contain some of the most precious resources for the future of humankind and life on earth. Rockman’s series celebrates the natural majesty and global importance of the Great Lakes while exploring how they are threatened by factors including climate change, globalization, invasive species, mass agriculture and urban sprawl. While there has been some success in reversing these trends, the exhibition of these dramatic works will serve to inspire wider understanding and draw greater attention to the urgency of these issues.

About the Artist

Born in 1962 and raised in New York, Alexis Rockman has been the subject of many solo and group exhibitions internationally, including a major retrospective organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His work is included in public and private collections around the world, and he has held teaching posts at Columbia and Harvard Universities, among others. Rockman studied at Rhode Island School of Design and the School of the Visual Arts, New York and gained early recognition in the mid-1980s for his realistic bio-botanical scenes. He lives and works in New York City.


Exhibition Touring Schedule

Following its debut in Grand Rapids, Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle will travel to the following venues:

Chicago Cultural Center – June 2 through August 26, 2018

Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland – October 19, 2018 through January 27, 2019

Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis – October 5, 2019 through January 5, 2020

Permanent Collection

Permanent Collection

February 24, 2017 – September 12, 2017

As the heart of the Museum, our collection is constantly growing and changing—just like the city it serves. For over 100 years, GRAM’s collection has been cultivated to included a diverse array of American and European prints, paintings, sculptures, and a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft. From a trove of over 6,000 works, this season features exciting changes to the look and layout of the Museum’s permanent collection galleries. New and noteworthy are several recent acquisitions and loans, an expanded focus on Michigan artists, new selections from our ongoing ArtPrize Encore series, and spotlight sections devoted to inspiring themes.

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Saturdays, September 2, 9, and 16, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM

Drop in to GRAM Studio to create your own iridescent sculpture.

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GRAM's Collection Drop-In Tour
November 21, 2017, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Explore GRAM's collection on this free drop-in tour!

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GRAM's Collection Drop-In Tour
December 12, 2017, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

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GRAM's Collection Drop-In Tour
January 16, 2018, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

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Second Saturday Sketching Tour
February 10, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

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Art in Bloom

Art in Bloom

March 24, 2017 – March 26, 2017

Art in Bloom is a bi-annual, one-weekend-only exhibition that celebrates the combined beauty of art and floral design. Come see the first signs of spring at the Museum while touring the galleries and enjoying extravagant floral sculptures. Our region’s most talented floral designers will create thought provoking and elegantly designed arrangements inspired by works from the Museum’s collection. These floral sculptures emphasize, challenge, and build upon elements and concepts within the original work of art, creating an extraordinary dialogue between the two pieces. Visitors will be invited to select the People’s Choice Award Winner by casting a vote for their favorite floral sculpture. This three-day exhibition is a must-see!

View Art in Bloom photos here

Congratulations to our 2017 Jury Award Winners

1st Place
Alyssa Ferguson | Fleurology Designs (#4)
Inspired by: Lady in Opera Cloak (Portrait of Miss C.) by William Merritt Chase
1st Place
Gary Wells AIFD, CFD (#17)
Inspired by: Eight-Fold Screen by Eugene Masselink
2nd Place
Geniene Hourigan-Culp (#6)
Inspired by: Forest by Werner Drewes

Congratulations to our 2017 People’s Choice Award Winners

1st Place
Mari Ignatoski | Ginko Studios Floral Design (#8)
Inspired by: Balcony Railing by Hector Guimard
2nd Place
Alyssa Ferguson | Fleurology Designs (#4)
Inspired by: Lady in Opera Cloak (Portrait of Miss C.) by William Merritt Chase