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

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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 seventeen-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.

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle


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, Karl and Patricia Betz, and general accessions funds. Grand Rapids Art Museum, 2015.19


Wood Frog, 2017. Sand from Pictured Rocks and acrylic polymer on paper, 9 x 12 ½ inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.


Upper Peninsula, 2017. Watercolor, ink, and acrylic on paper, 74 x 52 inches. Collection of Jonathan O'Hara Gallery.


Korvis Blue Butterfly, 2017. Sand from Manistee and acrylic polymer on paper, 9 x 12 ½ inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.


Chimera, 2017. Watercolor, ink, and acrylic on paper, 73 3/8 x 52 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.


Zebra Mussel, 2017. Sand from Saugatuck and acrylic polymer on paper, 12 ½ x 9 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle

January 27, 2018 – April 29, 2018

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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 important, 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. For information on Great Lakes conservation and how you can protect the lakes click here.

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue published by the Grand Rapids Art Museum in association with Michigan State University Press. The catalogue was written by Dana Friis-Hansen, with contributions by Jeff Alexander and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, and a forward by Mark Van Putten, CEO of Wege Foundation. It is available in the Museum Store and online.

Another way to dive deeper into The Great Lakes Cycle is with the online course developed by Northern Michigan University. The course consists of essays, videos, illustrations, and interactive images which focus on Rockman’s five mural-sized paintings and their contents. NMU biology professor Jill Leonard, art and design professors Taimur Cleary and Daric Christian, along with a team of undergraduate students, developed the course with the idea that approaching the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through the arts may increase the engagement and understanding of students with a broad range of interests.

About the Artist

Born in 1962 and raised in New York City, Rockman has been the subject of many international solo and group exhibitions, including a major retrospective organized at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His work is also included in public and private collections around the world, and he has held a number of teaching posts at prestigious institutions, such as Columbia and Harvard.

Rockman synthesizes human history, natural science, and landscape painting to create visual vistas that reveal unexpected relationships across time and space. Since the mid-1980s, he has created a dramatic and distinct body of epic-scale paintings and works on paper that draw from his deft artistic skills, rich visual inventiveness, deep scientific awareness, broad art historical knowledge, and a passionate concern about the Earth’s ecological future.

The son of an Australian jazz musician and American urban archeologist, Rockman spent his childhood exploring Central Park, studying natural history guide books, watching nature documentary films, frequenting the Museum of Natural History dioramas and creating his own vivariums, all experiences that have shaped The Great Lakes Cycle.

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 October 1, 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland – October 19, 2018 through January 27, 2019
Haggerty Museum of Art of Marquette University, Milwaukee – February 8 to May 19, 2019
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis – October 5, 2019 through January 5, 2020
Flint Institute of Arts – May 9 to August 16, 2020

Exhibition Sponsors:

Lead Sponsors

Wege Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Frey Foundation
LaFontsee Galleries and Framing

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:

Eenhoorn, LLC.
Ferris State University
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University
Wolverine Worldwide Foundation
James and Mary Nelson
Cascade Engineering
Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik
The Louis and Helen Padnos Foundation
Dirk and June Hoffius
Greg and Meg Willit
Blue Water Communications

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Robert Daverman, AIA /
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Robert H. Delamar
Diana Dopson/D*Lux Travel
Haworth, Inc.
Prime, Buchholz & Associates, Inc.
Reagan Marketing + Design, LLC
Bill Scarbrough and Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough
Smith Haughey Rice & Roegee
J. Visser Design

Lake Lovers

Experience Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Brewing Company
John Hunting
Lacks Enterprises, Inc.
Candace and Kost Elisevich
Wallson and Rebecca Knack
Anonymous

Additional funding is provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society

Permanent Collection

Portrait of a seated woman in a white fur cloak with red backgroundWilliam Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916). Lady in Opera Cloak (Portrait of Miss C.), c. 1893. Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Grand Rapids Art Museum, Gift of Emily J. Clark, 1935.1.4

Permanent Collection

February 24, 2017 – December 31, 2020

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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 include a diverse array of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft that highlight more than 5,000 years of human creativity. From a trove of over 6,000 objects, GRAM’s curators refresh the Museum’s third floor galleries every quarter, presenting visitors with new works and old favorites to experience and enjoy.

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Art in Bloom

Art in Bloom

March 24, 2017 – March 26, 2017

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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

The Art of Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg, Rube Goldberg Inventions United States Postal Service Stamp (included on sheet of “Comic Classics” stamps), date unknown. Sheet of USPS stamps. Artwork Copyright © Rube Goldberg Inc. All Rights Reserved. RUBE GOLDBERG ® is a registered trademark of Rube Goldberg Inc. All materials used with permission. www.rubegoldberg.com

The Art of Rube Goldberg

May 20, 2017 – August 27, 2017

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The Art of Rube Goldberg is the first comprehensive survey exhibition in nearly 50 years that demonstrates the artistic talent and endless imagination of the legendary American cartoonist and illustrator, Rube Goldberg (1883-1970). Celebrated for his graphic techniques, enduring characters, and especially for his invention drawings, Goldberg is an American cultural icon whose influence can still be felt today. The Art of Rube Goldberg brings together more than 75 drawings, rare photographs, sketches, and animated films, as well as rare personal photographs and memorabilia from the Goldberg family archives, to bring to life one of 20th century America’s most wildly talented innovators.

The exhibition traces Goldberg’s career over a remarkable 72-year period, from a rare early drawing, through his syndicated strips of the 1920s and 30s, to his influential later works. The Pulitzer Prize-winning artist is best known for his invention drawings–complex chain-reaction machines designed to perform simple tasks. These humorous drawings and cartoons were for Goldberg, “a symbol of man’s capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results.”

From board games and toys to music videos and Hollywood movies, Goldberg has influenced some of the most indelible moments in pop culture. His name is so synonymous with his creations that it was added to the Merriam-Wesbter Dictionary as an adjective that describes the act of complicating a simple task.

Enhancing the exhibition is Peter Fischli and David Weiss’ 30-minute video, The Way Things Go (1986–1987), in which objects such as tires, saws, ladders, and buckets are animated by physics: water, fire, gas, and gravity propelled these objects to collide and react in a chain of events. Rube Goldberg’s invention drawings were a major inspiration for Fischli and Weiss during the two years they spent working on the video.

The Art of Rube Goldberg was conceived by Creighton Michael; developed in cooperation with Heirs of Rube Goldberg, LLC, New York, New York; and curated by Max Weintraub. The tour was organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

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Selections from GRAM’s Collection

Selections from GRAM’s Collection

November 10, 2016 – January 22, 2017

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Due to the scale of Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, selections from GRAM’s permanent collection have been temporarily relocated to Level II. Stop by to see public favorites like paintings by Mathias Alten, sculptures by Alexander Calder, design by Charles and Ray Eames, and other exciting collection highlights.

Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects

Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects

February 5, 2017 – April 30, 2017

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What drives the universal human impulse to collect objects? What makes different objects desirable? What are some of the hidden treasures in Grand Rapids and throughout West Michigan? These questions, and others, are addressed and answered by Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects. From fine art to Victorian jewelry, rare and precious minerals to antique rifles, sneakers to carpet sweepers, decorative glass, and more, Finders Keepers celebrates the passion and drive that fuel the collecting bug. Organized by our curatorial team in collaboration with community scouts, the exhibition includes hundreds of diverse objects drawn from both private and institutional collections in a lively and unique gallery setting.

Humans have accumulated objects for centuries—and before Museums existed—ambitious individuals assembled impressive private collections of objects from nature, culture, and history. Many of today’s museums developed from the collections of multiple individuals, essentially forming collections of collections. Beyond whatever fuels the urge to collect, the items collectors assemble reveal aspects of who they are. The objects in Finders Keepers shine light on the different disciplines or subcultures with which the collectors align themselves. Individuals often are, or become, experts in the histories of their collected objects. Serious collectors will travel great distances to procure a certain item, while some simply enjoy exploring, socializing, and trading with collectors who have similar interests.

Among the hundreds of objects on display are geodes, amethysts, quartz crystals, and other rocks and minerals from the collection of self-described “rock hound” Roger King, who has assembled an astounding array over a span of 60 years. Harry L. Rinker’s diverse and eccentric collections are represented by selections of wooden jigsaws, mid-century German ceramics, and cat-themed sheet music. A selection of the Public Museum’s collection of more than 1,500 carpet sweepers–a gift from the Bissell Company–will be on view illustrating design innovation from the past century. Embroidered samplers from Ann Kelly’s collection are a window into the lives of young 19th century British girls, for whom decorative embroidery was part of their domestic education. In partnership with the Grand Rapids Public Library Youth Services, the exhibition will also include a selection of objects collected by young people, revealing that collecting can start early in life.

In its array of objects, Finders Keepers reflects the myriad interests of West Michiganders and celebrates our region’s creativity and uniqueness.

Exhibition Videos

Prints and Processes

Mark di Suvero (American, b. 1933) Afterstudy for Marianne Moore, 1976. Lithograph on paper. Grand Rapids Art Museum, Gift of Miner S. and Mary Ann Keeler, 2016.13

Prints and Processes

January 24, 2017 – June 25, 2017

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Drawn entirely from GRAM’s collection, this thematic exhibition reveals the depth and quality of the Museum’s holding of prints; a collection that spans the 16th century to the present. Works by well-known artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, William Blake, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol are organized by printmaking method. Each section of the exhibition provides information about the different methods, tools, and materials that go into the production of the most common print forms, including woodcuts, lithographs, etchings, screen-prints, and monoprints.

Black Waves: The Tattoo Art of Leo Zulueta

Black Waves: The Tattoo Art of Leo Zulueta

February 5, 2017 – August 27, 2017

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Tattooing as we know it in Western cultures originated in the Pacific Rim. The word tattoo derives from the Polynesian term, tatau. Leo Zulueta is a pioneer of what is generally called tribal tattooing, a dominant trend of the contemporary tattoo scene that took root in the United States in the late 1970s. With the encouragement of tattoo master Don Ed Hardy, Zulueta immersed himself in the visual designs and cultural significance of Pacific Rim nations, such as Samoa, Micronesia, Borneo, Fiji, and the Marquesas Islands. He began to develop his own designs inspired by these traditional Pacific Rim motifs, and has been tattooing his own clients since 1981.

In Pacific Rim Nations, tattooing exists as much more than simple body adornment. The bold designs hold symbolic significance, with each nation developing their own motifs characterized by stylistic geometric patterning, at times covering all areas of the wearer’s body. Zulueta, Hawaiian born of Filipino heritage, describes his bold, all-black designs as “a style of tattooing that is influenced by the various indigenous tribes that have tattooed over the last thousand years.” Zulueta always creates his own designs that are unique to the individual wearer, considering it “disrespectful to copy traditional designs exactly… without having any personal relationship to these cultures.”

Black Waves: The Tattoo Art of Leo Zulueta is a visual biography of the man largely responsible for the popularization of tribal tattooing. The exhibition’s narrative format draws on Zulueta’s personal and cultural history, as well as the historical cultures that greatly influenced his work. His range of personal imagery and projects are presented in the form of personal photographs, texts, hand-drawn tattoo “flash,” tattoo-inspired drawings, and a large-scale mural created specifically for GRAM’s lobby.


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

Mirror Memory

Mirror Memory

May 30, 2016 – August 21, 2016

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Since its invention in the mid-19th century, photography has been crucial to how we see ourselves and the world we live in. Drawn entirely from GRAM’s permanent collection, Mirror Memory surveys two centuries of photographic landscapes, portraits, novelties, and experimental works, including examples of early daguerreotypes and tintypes, classic black and white images, and large-scale digital prints in bold color. Among the photographers represented are Berenice Abbott, Julia Margaret Cameron, Robert Frank, and Edward Steichen– some of the medium’s most prominent names. Mirror Memory refers to the term “the mirror with a memory,” which was coined to describe photography’s uncanny ability to capture and keep an image for all time. As this exhibition amply demonstrates, photography still has the power to fascinate, move, and challenge viewers.