Talent Within: Art by GRAM Docents

GRAM Docent in the corner of a gallery discussing artwork with several guests. 

Talent Within: Art by GRAM Docents

August 13, 2020 – August 15, 2020, All Day Event

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As a visitor to GRAM, you may have enjoyed a tour led by one of our dedicated docents, but did you know many of the Museum’s docents are also artists in their own right? 

Explore Talent Within: Art by GRAM Docents and view a selection of artwork created by 17 of the Museum’s talented docents. The exhibition will feature both 2D and 3D works of art, and guests will learn about the inspiration behind and creation of the pieces on display in this unique collection. 

Talent Within will be on view during Discovery Day at GRAM on Saturday, August 15.

An Interwoven Legacy: The Black Ash Basketry of Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish

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An Interwoven Legacy: The Black Ash Basketry of Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish

Opening December 5

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Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish come from an unbroken line of Black ash basket weavers, a traditional Anishinaabe art form that has been practiced for centuries, and the pair continue to harvest and prepare their materials traditionally.

Church and Parrish are weaving numerous new baskets for this exhibition, some with traditional functions and forms, as well as others that address more personal and topical concerns. Church and Parrish, who are mother and daughter, come from a family that has been practicing basketry for unbroken generations. This exhibition explores this legacy and the pairs’ commitment to preserving and sustaining the traditional Black Ash Basketry of their ancestors. Another focus of the exhibition focus is Church and Parrish’s activism focusing on preserving the knowledge of Black Ash Basketry, and on educating the public on the effects of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that is decimating North American Black Ash forests.

Support for GRAM’s Michigan Artist Series is generously provided by:
Beusse & Porter Family Foundation
The Jury Foundation
Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Additional exhibition support is provided by:
Wege Foundation
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
National Endowment for the Arts
Ken Betz and Pat Brewer
James and Mary Nelson
Greg and Meg Willit
Janet Gatherer Boyles and John Boyles
brightly
Robert Daverman, AIA / Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Eenhoorn, LLC.
Dr. Ronald and Mrs. Dawn Ford / Elite Plastic Surgery
Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C.
Jeff Gurney and Xuesi Li Gurney
Haworth, Inc.
Kurt and Madelon Hassberger
Dirk and June Hoffius
Lizbeth S. O’Shaughnessy and Terry Rathbun
Donald and Ann Kelley
Susan and Jack Smith
Dorothy Williamson
Dr. Sandra and Mr. Warren Rempel
Frank and Sharon Van Haven
Phillip and Julie Croll
Jane Timmer

Lead Exhibition Society Sponsor:

Additional funding provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society. Listing as of print date.

Beauty, Drama, and Nature: Ukiyo-e Prints from GRAM’s Collection

A woodblock Japanese print which depicts four men fighting as a woman looks on.Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797–1861). Kanegafuchi no Yurai (History of Kanegafuchi), c. 1848 From the play Kaidan Sumidagawa. Color woodblock print on paper, 18 ½ x 22 ½ inches. Gift of James and Judy DeLapa, 2019.34

Beauty, Drama, and Nature: Ukiyo-e Prints from GRAM’s Collection

January 28, 2020 – April 26, 2020

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Level 3, Gallery 3

Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints have influenced artists throughout the world and continue to fascinate us today. Drawn from GRAM’s collection of Japanese works on paper, including a number of recent acquisitions, this exhibition explores the primary genres of ukiyo-e prints and their influence on Western art. Ukiyo-e literally means pictures of the floating or fleeting world and, as the name suggests, emphasized the impermanence and fleeting beauty of the world around us. These prints were first created in Tokyo during the Edo Period (1603–1868) and most frequently depicted the courtesans and famous Kabuki actors of the urban pleasure districts. Near the end of the period, Ukiyo-e artists celebrating the natural beauty of Japan’s landscape became increasingly popular. This exhibition explores the three primary genres of Ukiyo-e prints – female beauties (bijin-ga), kabuki actors (yakusha-e), and landscapes – while a fourth section shows the influence of these prints on European and American art of the 19th century and beyond.

Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue

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Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue

September 25, 2021 – January 2, 2022

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Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue brings together a focused selection of work from a period of over forty years by two of today’s most important and influential photo-based artists. Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems, both born in 1953, came of age during a period of dramatic change in the American social landscape. Since meeting at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1977, the two artists have been intellectual colleagues and companions. Over the following five decades, Bey and Weems have explored and addressed similar themes: race, class, representation, and systems of power, creating work that is grounded in specific African American events and realities while simultaneously speaking to universal human conditions. This exhibition, for the first time, brings their work together to shed light on their unique trajectories and modes of presentation, and their shared consciousness and principles.

From the outset of their careers, both Bey and Weems have operated from a deep social commitment to participate in, describe, and define culture. In seeking to express themselves fully, both artists have expanded possibilities within photography and video to address their chosen subjects. Each engaged in the material and conceptual developments in the art world that were gaining prominence beginning in the 1970s, just as their careers were developing. As Bey and Weems have continued to push their own work forward, their art and approach have inspired notable younger artists such as LaToya Ruby Frazier, Lyle Ashton Harris, Mickalene Thomas, and Hank Willis Thomas.

Both Bey and Weems create work in focused series that gives them opportunity to fully explore their complex and layered ideas. Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue is arranged in five sections that present the two artists’ work in thematic pairings, emphasizing both their mutual concerns and distinct artistic approaches.

Exhibition Tour

Following its presentation in Grand Rapids, Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue will be available to travel to other venues through 2023. Contact Chief Curator, Ron Platt, at rplatt@artmuseumgr.org for more information.

Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue is organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Useful Beauty: Design Highlights from the Permanent Collection

A wide photograph of the inside of a gallery with three different modern designed chairs on pedestals line the wall. Above the chairs hangs one work of art by Steve Frykholm of a colorful target-shaped print on the right, and seven textile sample swatches hang on the left. 

Useful Beauty: Design Highlights from the Permanent Collection

February 29, 2020 – November 1, 2020

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Level I

This exhibition highlights the beauty and creativity of modern design with a broad selection of decorative and functional objects drawn primarily from GRAM’s collection. Design inhabits our daily lives, in our homes, classrooms, work environments – anywhere there are objects created by human beings. This exhibition encourages deeper consideration of these familiar objects, prompting questions about the choices we make as consumers and the decisions made by designers, who strive to create designs that solve problems both practical and aesthetic, making the world around us more productive, efficient, and beautiful. The exhibition includes written contributions from a wide variety of individuals, including designers, those who intimately know particular objects, and others with enlightening opinions of the designs on view.

Many objects in the exhibition were given to GRAM by the Kravis Collection and are on view for the first time. The collection encompasses furniture, ceramics, glass, electronics, and other fascinating objects created for domestic or industrial use. George Kravis built a collection of over four thousand industrial and domestic design objects during his lifetime, with an emphasis on European and American design after 1930. Kravis, who passed away in 2018, believed in the mission of museums to collect design and make objects available to the public through exhibitions and educational programming. He expressed his wish that his collection be given to museums, such as GRAM, that would appreciate this vision. Kravis recognized West Michigan’s crucial role in the design and production of modern design and was particularly interested in making GRAM a beneficiary of his collection.

Looking (at•into•through) Glass

Double pillar oak table lamp with bronze and glass shade.Charles P. Limbert (American, 1854–1923). Advertising Lamp, c. 1910. Slag glass on oak base, 19 x 24 x 16 inches. Grand Rapids Art Museum. Cummings, Frank and Ann Battistella Fund, Porter Foundation, 2004.18.

Looking (at•into•through) Glass

January 25, 2020 – October 4, 2020

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Concurrent with the exhibition of contemporary glass art in A New State of Matter, this selection of art and design objects from GRAM’s permanent collection has been assembled to explore glass as a material one can look at, into, and through. Works in the exhibition range from colorful still-life paintings to glass-shaded lamps.

Worth a Thousand Words: Storytelling with GRAM’s Collection

Black and white image of a girl wearing an apron who is holding a knife just above a glowing pumpkin.Chris Van Allsburg (American, b. 1949). Just Desert, from the Mysteries of Harris Burdick, 1983. Charcoal on paper, 24.9 x 20.4 inches. Museum Purchase, Women’s Committee of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 1987.3.1 © Chris Van Allsburg

Worth a Thousand Words: Storytelling with GRAM’s Collection

October 12, 2019 – January 12, 2020

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Art can tell stories. It can use the power of visual images to ignite the imagination and evoke emotions, even without words. Worth a Thousand Words is an exhibition of works from GRAM’s permanent collection specifically selected for their storytelling potential that includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, and industrial design. Coinciding with David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling, this installation offers visitors the opportunity to write their own stories inspired by images and objects from GRAM’s collection. Generate a narrative from your own imagination or use provided prompts to guide your creative process, then read stories from other visitors displayed in the gallery.

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Relevant: Abstraction from GRAM’s Collection

Two abstract, color screenprints, one with black, red, and silver lines and the other with black lines and accents of blue and green.Mavis Pusey (American, 1928–2019). Left: Paris Mai-Juin 68, 1968. Color screenprint on paper, 33 x 24.5 inches. Museum Purchase, Karl and Patricia Betz, 2019.27. © Artist’s or Artist’s Estate. Right: Impact on Vibration, c. 1968. Color screenprint on paper, 33 x 22.8 inches. Museum Purchase, Sam and Janene Cummings, 2019.26. © Artist’s or Artist’s Estate

Relevant: Abstraction from GRAM’s Collection

September 6, 2019 – January 5, 2020

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Level 3, Gallery 3

Relevant: Abstraction from GRAM’s Collection is an exhibition guest-curated by Juana Williams, Exhibitions Curator at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA). GRAM occasionally invites guest curators to work with GRAM’s collection in order to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to our members and visitors. For Relevant, Williams has assembled eleven abstract paintings and works on paper from GRAM’s permanent collection, most created by artists a half-a-century or more after abstraction’s invention in the early 20th century. During the 1950s through the 1970s, when most of the works in the exhibition were created, artists were evaluating whether abstraction could still be a relevant form of expression. These decades saw exciting innovation in the visual arts–often in negative response to abstract painting, which some saw as elitist and outmoded. The art in Relevant demonstrates how abstraction still proved to be a stimulating arena for artists, and capable of personal expression in a variety of unique approaches.

A native of Detroit, curator Juana Williams earned a Master of Fine Arts at Wayne State University and held positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the Detroit Institute of Arts before joining the UICA in 2018. Relevant is on view concurrently with the UICA’s exhibition SPECTRA, also curated by Williams. While Relevant focuses exclusively on two-dimensional 20th century abstraction, SPECTRA features works of contemporary abstract and non-representational art that break from traditional mediums and concepts and provides insight into these alternative modes of expression. Conceived as two parts of a whole, Relevant and SPECTRA examine abstract art through historical and contemporary lenses. Together, they show how abstraction has remained relevant for over 100 years by both addressing its own histories and legacies and by continually adapting and diversifying with the times.

An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018

Two images of American flags are printed side by side vertically. The artist used wide, loose strokes to fill in the colors of the flag. The flag on the right side is more yellowed than that on the right.Jasper Johns, Flags I, 1973. Screenprint on paper, 27 3/8 x 35 ½ inches, edition 3/65. Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988. © Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018

October 24, 2020 – January 24, 2021

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Level II
Changing Exhibitions Galleries

When American artist Jasper Johns’ paintings of flags and targets were first exhibited in 1958, they brought him instant acclaim and established him as a critical link between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Over the following 60 years, Johns (American, b. 1930) has continued to fascinate viewers with his beautiful and complex paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints. Today, he is considered one of the greatest living American artists.

An Art of Changes  surveys six decades of Johns’ practice in printmaking through a selection of some 90 works in a wide range of techniques. Johns is considered one of the most innovative artists ever to make prints. He created his first print, a lithograph of a target, in 1960. He immediately realized that printmaking was the perfect medium through which to explore his interest in change, and he has said “I like to repeat an image in another medium to observe the play between the two.” Since 1960, he has reworked many of his paintings in print form, using strategies and techniques such as fragmenting, doubling, reversing, and varying scale or color.

The exhibition is organized in four sections that are thematic and follow a largely chronological order. Viewers will see examples of the artist’s familiar flags, targets, and numerals as well as images that incorporate the tools, materials, and techniques of mark-making; more abstract works derived from images of flagstones and hatch marks; and more recent works that teem with autobiographical and personal imagery. Throughout, we follow Johns’ creative process as he reconsiders and revises some of these key motifs over time.

An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018 is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Major support is provided by Judy Dayton and the Prospect Creek Foundation. Additional support is provided by Robert and Rebecca Pohlad and Annette and John Whaley.

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In a New Light: American Impressionism 1870-1940 | Works from the Bank of America Collection

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In a New Light: American Impressionism 1870-1940 | Works from the Bank of America Collection

Summer 2022

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UPDATE:
Please note, In a New Light: American Impressionism 1870-1940, has been tentatively rescheduled to summer 2022. A warm thank you to GRAM’s generous sponsors who supported the exhibition—we look forward to presenting In a New Light in Grand Rapids in 2022.  See our COVID-19 update for more information.

A sweeping survey of American Impressionism, In A New Light: American Impressionism 1870—1940, presents groundbreaking paintings, prints, and drawings from acclaimed artists such as George Inness, Childe Hassam, Thomas Moran, John Sloan, Ernest Lawson, Daniel Garber, and Guy Carleton Wiggins, among others. This comprehensive exhibition of American Impressionism traces the emergence and evolution of a truly American style of art.

The 130 works included in the exhibition reflect the changing mindset of America from the mid-19th to early 20th century. The exhibition concentrates on regional artists’ colonies that were crucial to the American Impressionism movement, from colonies in the Northeast, to the Midwest, and the American West. A tranquil place for artists to share ideas and resources, these collaborative enclaves were often established in rural areas of great natural beauty, yet not far from growing urban centers. The show explores the ways in which local artists interpreted America’s rural, maritime, and urban spaces and portray daily life using the Impressionist devices of capturing the moment with brisk brushstrokes, a vibrant palette, and atmospheric effects. Organized by Bank of America’s Art in Our Communities Program, In A New Light is the first major exhibition of American Impressionism at GRAM in over a decade.

This exhibition has been loaned through the Bank of America Art in our Communities® program.

Presenting Sponsor:

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:
Wege Foundation
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
National Endowment for the Arts
Ken Betz and Pat Brewer
James and Mary Nelson
Greg and Meg Willit
Janet Gatherer Boyles and John Boyles
brightly
Robert Daverman, AIA / Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Eenhoorn, LLC.
Dr. Ronald and Mrs. Dawn Ford / Elite Plastic Surgery
Haworth, Inc.
Kurt and Madelon Hassberger
Dirk and June Hoffius
Lizbeth S. O’Shaughnessy and Terry Rathbun
Donald and Ann Kelley
Susan and Jack Smith
Lead Exhibition Society Sponsor:

Friends of Impressionism:
Dorothy Williamson
Dr. Sandra and Mr. Warren Rempel
Frank and Sharon Van Haven
Phillip and Julie Croll
Jane Timmer

Additional funding provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society
Listing as of print date