Icons, Installations, Improvisations

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One became an icon through his work with and original interpretations of iconic people, symbols and items; the other scatters iconic sounds and moments throughout his work.

Both are on exhibit at Grand Rapids Art Museum, for a limited run.

"Andy Warhol makes a dramatic return to the Grand Rapids Art Museum this fall," said Dana Friis-Hansen, GRAM Director and CEO. "One of the Museum's first exhibitions in its new building was Rapid Exposure: Warhol in Series in spring 2008. We can't think of a better way to celebrate our 10th anniversary at 101 Monroe Center than by bringing back key works by this quintessential contemporary artist."

Organized by the GRAM, Andy Warhol's American Icons showcases Warhol's vision and celebration of America by bringing together paintings, prints, photographs and films that create a handbook of American cultural icons. The exhibition spotlights figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Sitting Bull, Muhammad Ali, Liz Taylor and one of Grand Rapids' favorite sons, President Gerald R. Ford; it also includes Warhol's well-known Campbell's soup can screen prints and Green Coca-Cola Bottles (1962), an important early painting on loan from the Whitney Museum of American art.

Rounding out the exhibition are photographs and early films, from Warhol's experimentation with the mediums. Empire is an eight-hour "portrait" of the Empire State Building, filmed from a static position in an adjacent building. Also on view are several of the artist's Screen Tests: three-minute filmed portraits of Warhol Factory regulars and visitors, in which the subjects stared back at or enjoyed the attention of the stationary camera, constructing their own personas before our eyes.

"It's exciting for GRAM to be organizing an exhibition of Andy Warhol's work around a theme that occupied the artist for his entire career: What products and symbols define and represent the U.S.? Which Americans are the most iconic?" said Ron Platt, GRAM Chief Curator. "Thirty years after his death, Warhol is still influential and seems ahead of his time. I would argue that Warhol himself is as much an American icon as any of those represented in the exhibition."

American Icons draws on artworks from GRAM's collection, as well as works from private collections and other public art institutions throughout the country, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Andy Warhol Museum and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. It is on display through February 11, 2018.

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Christian Marclay: Video Quartet—a 17-minute film installation on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art—consists of four synchronized video projections that form one contiguous image-and-sound work. It comprises more than 700 individual film and sound fragments from popular movies, featuring people playing musical instruments or singing, and soundtrack elements such as shouts, screams, crashes and moments of cinematic silence.

"Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay has sampled, improvised and remixed sound, video and performance into multimedia works that defy categorization," Friis-Hansen said.

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"Video Quartet is an immersive installation experience that's sure to captivate film and music fans alike."

The clips included in Video Quartet are primarily taken from Hollywood feature films dating from the 1920s to the early 21st century. Marclay meticulously edited the clips on a home computer into a new unified composition in which the performers seem to improvise together, free of their original context, creating moments of synchrony or seeming to spontaneously respond to each other as if performing live. The installation runs through January 14, 2018.

Visit GRAM to learn more about these and other exhibitions and activities.

Written by Amy L Charles, Editorial Director for West Michigan Woman. Information and images courtesy of Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Photos Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

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