Two six-month long exhibitions at the Racine Art Museum (RAM) have recently been transformed, with new works exchanged for those that had been on display for about three months. Represent: Exploring Portraits from RAM’s Collection and From Nature: Contemporary Artists and Organic Materials both included artworks made of light-sensitive materials that needed to be switched out after a certain amount of time.
While it may sound like a lot to accomplish—and it is—changing out some of the pieces is also an innovative way to share even more work from RAM’s collection. In Represent, RAM has the added opportunity to feature the work of an emerging artist from the region. For the second part of the show, six articulated paper dolls and nine framed paper dolls from Milwaukee artist Kierston Ghaznavi are juxtaposed with contemporary photography, jewelry, and sculpture. Ghaznavi’s pointed, yet playful, look at personal and social identity is contrasted with more traditional photographic portraits of celebrities and people on the street, jewelry depicting distinct yet unnamed people, and poetic glass and ceramic figures.
From self-portraits to works that encapsulate the essence of a subject through metaphor or emotion, the pieces in Represent—open through September 1, 2019—encourage contemplation about how human beings understand one another as well as the world around them.
Open through October 6, 2019, From Nature features primarily objects—sculptural, functional, and wearable—that incorporate items from the natural world as a means to explore materials and a way to investigate a variety of social, personal, environmental, and cultural issues.
Because artworks made from natural materials—like plant and tree matter, feathers, and sturgeon skin—need a break from gallery lighting after approximately three months, more than half of the works in From Nature have been replaced. For example, Dorothy Gill Barnes’ compelling altered willow tree sculpture has been switched out for Clifton Monteith’s willow stick armchair and a table made of maple and Australian eucalyptus burls.
Visitors are encouraged to visit RAM again this summer to see how these two intriguing exhibitions drawn from the museum’s permanent collection have changed.