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New GRAM collection offers "whirlpool of ideas"

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The Grand Rapids Art Museum opened a new exhibit this weekend called The Collection in Context. As WGVU found out it’s a new concept mixing works not typically shown together, but when merged provide a new relationship.

“The show is organized into these four sections: Faith and its Symbols, Representing Women, The Evolving Landscape and Nature-based Abstraction.”

Ron Platt is the chief curator at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. He explains the concept of the GRAM’s new exhibition:

“We have some fantastic works on view they’re always sort of presented in the same context and I thought it would be fun to pull some of these great works and find a way to present them together in a new context. When you do that it really lets people sort of jump start their brain. Get new ideas. Make new connections. You look at something new for the first time and so really that was the impetus for the show.

“So about 80 percent of the show is from GRAMs collection, but we also borrowed work from other museums - like the Whitney Museum of Art in New York has leant us some of their great permanent collection things. There are works from private collections that some of which, I don’t ever think have been on public view before. Those things, you know, breathe [this] sort of exciting life into the show as well.”

“So perhaps this should be called The Collection in a Different Context.”

That’s Dana Friis-Hansen, GRAM Director and CEO.

“I always like to say, to tell people when they’re visiting the museum to own their own art experience. No one has a monopoly on meaning. Just because a museum says this is Rembrandt’s most famous masterpiece what does that matter to you? So think about how you connect with the works.

“So we’re hoping that by these juxtapositions where an artwork from the early 20th Century will be juxtaposed by a woman who’s an opera patron will be right around the corner from the bright, hot-pink Andy Warhol florescent portrait of Marilyn Monroe will cause some dissonance, maybe even some raised eyebrows.

“But I think Andy Warhol would have loved it and probably the other artists would love being in juxtapositions and having these conversations happening. And for the view we put them in the middle of this whirlpool of ideas, images from different points in time, different vantage points. I think it’ll be exciting for people.”

The Collection in Context exhibition is on view at the Grand Rapids Public Museum May 22 through August 14.

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