Richard Misrach (b. 1949), Agua #1, near Calexico, California, 2004, printed 2017, pigment print, 60 x 72 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2017.10. © Richard Misrach,courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Pace/​MacGill Gallery, New York and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles.

For Immediate Release

Multi-Sensory Exhibition Exploring the Sights and Sounds of the Mexican-American Border Opens at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Border Cantos | Sonic Border explores the unseen reality of the Mexican-American borderlands

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – January 30, 2024 – The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) announced today the opening of Border Cantos | Sonic Border, on view at GRAM from February 3 through April 28, 2024. Presented in English and Spanish, the multi-sensory exhibition is a collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach and composer/​artist Guillermo Galindo, comprised of photographic landscapes and a sound composition with musical sculptures that address the complexities of the Mexican-American border. 

The photographs, objects, and sonic composition introduce distinct yet interrelated ways of experiencing the human consequences of immigration policies. When experienced as a whole, Border Cantos | Sonic Border creates an immersive experience for guests to explore the sights and sounds of the Mexican-American border and engage in conversation about the work. 

Art is a powerful tool for creating conversations, challenging perspectives, and encouraging empathy,” commented GRAM Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Jennifer Wcisel. Sonic Border | Border Cantos is a moving exhibition that gives voice to the people who left these objects behind and the obstacles they encountered. We hope the exhibition encourages visitors to reflect on the humanity of these experiences as well as their own migration stories.”

Misrach and Guillermo came together in 2011 after discovering they were both creating work related to the border. Both artists address topics that touch on politics, environmental concerns, and humanitarian issues. Misrach is well known for expansive images focusing on the ways humans interact with and impact the natural environment. Galindo is inspired by the Mesoamerican belief that one can bring out the spiritual essence of an object’s past. His composition Sonic Border is a 260-minute piece using eight musical instruments he created from objects discarded near the border and will play in the galleries for guests to experience. 

Together, the artists offer evidence of the thousands of people who have journeyed through the borderlands in hopes of a better life and, by doing so, encourage empathy for the plight of migrants everywhere. 

Activities within the galleries for visitors of all ages have been created to inspire guests to reflect and share their personal stories of migration and immigration. In addition to the exhibition’s interactive spaces, guests are invited to participate in an array of upcoming events, including the Member Exhibition Opening, Community Day with the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, student experiences for middle school and high school students, and more. 

Related Events:

Member Exhibition Opening: Border Cantos | Sonic Border
Friday, February 2, 7 — 9 pm
Artist Talk with Guillermo Galindo, 7:30 pm
Free, GRAM Member Event
Museum Members and their guests are invited to celebrate the opening of Border Cantos | Sonic Border at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Join us for a special advance look at the exhibition, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. During the event, enjoy a special artist talk with Guillermo Galindo, moderated by Mandy Cano-Villalobos. 

Community Day with the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
Saturday, March 9, 10 am — 4 pm
The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) and Hispanic Center of Western Michigan (HCWM) invite you to the Museum for a FREE day of community, fun, and creativity for all ages. In celebration of Border Cantos | Sonic Border, enjoy an array of hands-on activities and three floors of exhibitions and interactives. Community Day is free, and registration is not required.

Support for the national tour of Border Cantos | Sonic Border is provided by Art Bridges. Border Cantos | Sonic Borders is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Support for GRAM’s presentation is provided by Wege Foundation, with Lead Exhibition Society Support from the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation. Additional funding provided by GRAM Exhibition Society.

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Connecting people through art, creativity, and design. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the art museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Founded in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 6,500 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th-century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft.

For museum hours and admission fees, call 616.831.1000 or visit