Racine, WI     May 2, 2013
Racine Art Museum Looks at History  

Through A Contemporary Lens

Throughout 2013, visitors are invited to discover stunning exhibitions and exciting events that shine a light on the Racine Art Museum's achievements over the past decade and predict an even brighter future. Many of the exhibitions explore the concepts about the passage of time and heirlooms. Open April 28 - September, 15, 2013, Twenty-First Century Heirlooms is a large-scale exhibition that offers a context for exploring what we value today and why. From brooches that use famous Western paintings as reference points to objects made from recycled American pressed glass, and fast food containers made of silver, the work included in this show expands and challenges how we define heirlooms in the twenty-first century.

Donna Sharrett
Just Breathe (detail), 2012
Clothing, found objects, dirt, beads, and thread
Courtesy of the Artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York
Photography: Margaret Fox

The notion of an heirloom often relates to objects "passed down" to family and friends. It suggests an intimate connection or, at a minimum, a relationship between something past and something present--and, hopefully, something future. This exhibition uses the work of contemporary artists to investigate heirlooms as ideas--as links between generations and communities, as concepts to modify or embellish, as techniques to master or modify, and as items to treasure or refuse.


Several factors impact how an object or idea is understood in a broader cultural context. These influences include: who made the item or who originated an idea, who is passing it along and to whom, how much the current social structure has need of or interest in it, and whether its value is reverential, sentimental, practical, or monetary. Significantly, meaning can shift. For example, a woman's engagement ring can hold meaning for her daughter or son, but it would not be the same for the children as it is for the mother. 

Beth Lipman

Still Life with Plate of Cheese and Stein, 2011

C-print on Plexiglass

Courtesy of the Artist and Claire Oliver Gallery, New York

Photography: Courtesy of the Artist and
Claire Oliver Gallery, New York

The works included in Twenty-First Century Heirlooms represent artists thinking about how any kind of object or idea carries meaning and value, and how those aspects change over time. These pieces draw on the past and look at history through a contemporary lens--offering comparisons and contrasts between the past and present, as well as new models for understanding how history imbues ideas and objects with meaning and how that significance is carried forward.


Artists whose works are featured include: Chris Antemann, Lucrezia Bieler, Melanie Bilenker, Ashley Buchanan, Linda Cordell, Amber Cowan, Kim Cridler, Venetia Dale, Jack Earl, Michelle Erickson, Diane Falkenhagen, Susan Taylor Glasgow, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Joanne Kliejunas (Heirloom Couture), Beth Lipman, Maggie Meister, Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Susan Myers, emiko oye, Donna Sharrett, Christina Smith, Mary Smull, Kimberlie Tatalick, Jennifer Trask, Jonathan Wahl, and Stacey Lee Webber.


Twenty-First Century Heirlooms is made possible at Racine Art Museum by: Presenting Sponsors - Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd, The Estate of Emile H. Mathis II, in Memory of his Parents: Emil H. and Anna T. Mathis, SC Johnson, Windgate Charitable Foundation; Gold Sponsors - National Endowment for the Arts, Racine United Arts Fund; Silver Sponsors - Elwood Corporation, Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, Racine Community Foundation, W.T. Walker Group, Inc., Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors - The A.C. Buhler Family, CNH America LLC, E.C. Styberg Foundation, Inc., Educators Credit Union, In Sink Erator, The Marjorie L. Christiansen Foundation, The Norbell Foundation, Real Racine, Robert W. Baird & Co., Runzheimer Foundation, and Ruud Family Foundation.


RAM at 10 | Growing America's Craft Collection
This year marks the Racine Art Museum's 10th Anniversary in Downtown Racine. Visitors are invited to discover stunning exhibitions that shine a light on RAM's achievements over the past decade and predict an even brighter future.

Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

Docent led contemporary craft and architectural tours of the museums are available. Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum are open to the public Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, and are closed Mondays, Federal holidays and Easter. RAM is open Sunday Noon - 5:00 pm, while Wustum is closed Sundays. An admission fee of $5 for adults, with reduced fees for students and seniors, applies at RAM. Admission to Wustum is free. Members are always admitted without charge to either campus.

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For more information or to request images, please contact:

Laura Gillespie
RAM Marketing Assistant