The Racine Art Museum, 441 Main St., is home to the largest contemporary crafts collection in the United States. Everything currently on view in the five exhibitions at RAM is from the museum’s permanent collection of over 10,000 objects.
Unpacking Karen Johnson Boyd’s Clay Collection at RAM may be seen from the street in the Windows on Fifth Gallery. This installation pays homage to Boyd’s significant role in establishing RAM’s craft collection while revealing how works of art are transported and stored behind-the-scenes.
Stepping into RAM, “Polymer Art: Recent Acquisitions” reflects the museum’s mission to elevate the stature of craft to fine arts. Polymer is a workable plastic-based compound used to make modeling clays, such as Fimo or Sculpey. This exhibition highlights artworks new to RAM since the original donation of over 200 polymer pieces was launched with a debut exhibition and an accompanying book in 2011.
“Beasts: Wild Animals in RAM’s Collection” examines how artists are drawn to depicting wild, dangerous, and imaginary animals. Artists featured in this exhibition render beasts realistically, sweetly, abstractly, or symbolically, often to explore larger issues about the environment, humanity, society and culture. An enjoyable walk through this gallery is like an art safari of real and imaginary beasts.
Another way for contemporary artists to express themselves is through the power of the written word. “Text Message: Words and Letters in Contemporary Art” includes works that use language and script to convey meaning. Each piece features some sort of letterform, number, or punctuation mark, sometimes hidden in the work. This exhibition asks visitors to consider the history of communication and how it has changed in recent years.
“Japanese Studio Craft at RAM” explores small-scale craft made by artists of Japanese heritage. In recent decades, Japanese artists began moving beyond traditional ideas, techniques, and materials in their work. The studio craft objects in this show may or may not be functional or intended for practical use.
Coming soon, RAM will present an untraditional exhibition showcasing fluffy, sugar-coated marshmallow PEEPS. Open March 22-April 8, the RAM ninth annual “International PEEPS Art Exhibition” will feature artwork made with or inspired by PEEPS from artists of all ages. Don’t miss a trip to RAM to experience this vibrant and cheerful display of colorful PEEPS-pun dioramas and artworks in a wide variety of media, including quilted wall hangings. It’s the only museum exhibition of its kind in the world.
Experience RAM to its fullest by attending a Saturday afternoon tour. Learn how the museum’s collections come to life, how exhibitions are organized, and go behind-the-scenes. Guided by a RAM staff member or docent, each weekly tour at 1:30 p.m. offers a different perspective on the museum and fun stories about current museum exhibitions.
To learn more about RAM, visit www.ramart.org or call 262-638-8300.