RACINE — Beginning this summer, Racine Art Museum, 441 Main St., is dedicating all of RAM’s galleries to artwork given by collector Karen Johnson Boyd (1924-2016) to honor her lifelong commitment to supporting the arts. A series of four individually titled exhibitions will highlight her interests and accomplishments, including a partial reprise of a figurative clay show she curated, recognition of her role leading Chicago’s Perimeter Gallery, and a focus on artists she admired such as Warrington Colescott, Margaret Ponce Israel and Ken Loeber.
Karen Johnson Boyd has been the largest single beneficiary to the Racine Art Museum — these exhibitions honor her philanthropy. Over four decades, she gifted a significant number of ceramics, textiles, glass, metals and works on paper to the museum. In recognition of her core gift of more than 1,700 works, RAM's galleries were named in her honor. In 1991 alone, Boyd gave more than 200 works, grounding the museum’s craft focus and setting the stage for RAM to become the holder of America’s largest contemporary craft collection.
Boyd was an advocate for and a collector of art, especially contemporary American craft and works on paper. Open May 27-Dec. 20, "Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Collecting In-Depth at Home and at RAM is organized under the categories of fiber art, work from Japan, work from Perimeter Gallery artists and functional ceramics.
In some ways, Boyd was revolutionary. Her trademark style — in terms of the type of work she collected and how she displayed it — was to blend all media together. Open June 24-Feb. 3, "Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: A Multi-Dimensional Approach" echoes both Boyd’s and RAM’s approach to juxtaposing images and objects, featuring both two-dimensional and three-dimensional works in a variety of media.
Boyd did not just collect art, she would wear it. Her notice of and appreciation for contemporary art jewelry is explored in this exhibition with more than 50 pieces by acclaimed makers donated to RAM over the years. Open June 24-Feb. 3, "Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Art Jewelry/Sculpture to Wear" includes brooches, neck pieces and earrings made of both precious and non-precious materials.
Open July 1-Jan. 20, "Honoring Karen Johnson Boyd: Contemporary Clay" takes a focused look at one of her most long-lived loves: works made of clay. This exhibition emphasizes her interest in sculptural ceramics with a highlight on those that reflect contemporary interpretations of the human body.