Racine, WI     February 3, 2014
Racine Art Museum Looks at the
Appeal of Lustre


"White gold" was a name given to porcelain wares centuries ago in Western Europe, inspired by the value placed on both the objects produced and the perceived preciousness of the processes of their creation. Open February 9 through July 6, 2014 at Racine Art Museum, White Gold: The Appeal of Lustre features the work of contemporary artists who utilize shiny materials, such as lustre glazes and gold, in combination with more earthy media, like clay.

Adrian SaxeEwer (Jawgasm: RTC) , 1994
Porcelain, stoneware with glazes and lustres, and found objects
Racine Art Museum, The Donna Moog Teapot Collection
Photography: Michael Tropea, Chicago

From the 1500s through the 1700s, demand for porcelain wares - primarily put in service as luxury items - and competition among makers became so important that the worth of the porcelain was compared to other valuable goods, including gold. These determinations set the stage for how we understand certain kinds of materials today.


Combining works on loan with works from RAM's collection, White Gold is not as concerned with historical wares as it is with the way materials can become metaphors for relationships between societies and objects. This exhibition offers a context for exploring how metals and lustre glazes can be visually compelling while raising questions about their economic, sentimental, and cultural significance.


The idea that "gold" could be produced from and applied to materials that contained no actual gold has been incredibly appealing to many cultures. The desire to mimic the look and impart a sense of value to an object by adding a gilt finish or accent has persisted over time. However, the question of why human beings (and birds, as well as other animals) are drawn to the shiny may not be explainable in terms that are only social or economic. As one of the featured artists Yoko Sekino-Bove suggests: "I think our obsession for gold, silver and shiny things may even go deeper than the social and economic meanings, since some birds such as crows and jays collect them without knowing what these are. They just get attracted to the shininess, and our passion for the precious metals may be partially instinctive."


Artists whose works are featured include Ralph Bacerra, Bennett Bean, A. Blair Clemo, Philip Cornelius, Megan Corwin, Leopold Foulem, Keiko Fukazawa, John Glick, Rain Harris, Rian de Jong, Cindy Kolodziejski, Tara Locklear, Philip Maberry, Ruta Reifen, Adrian Saxe, Yoko Sekino-Bove, Joan Takayama-Ogawa, Jason Walker, Beatrice Wood, Irina Zatceyva, and Silvia Zampa.


This exhibition is made possible in part by: Presenting Sponsors - Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd; SC Johnson; Windgate Charitable Foundation; Gold Sponsors - Herzfeld Foundation; Johnson Bank; Sam and Gene Johnson Fund; National Endowment for the Arts; Racine United Arts Fund; Silver Sponsors - Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation; W.T. Walker Group, Inc.; Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors - 88NINE Radio Milwaukee; CNH Industrial; Corner House; Craft in America PBS Series; E.C. Styberg Foundation, Inc.; Educators Credit Union; In Sink Erator; Miracle on Canal Street; The Norbell Foundation; Perimeter Gallery, Chicago; Real Racine; Ruud Family Foundation; Carol C. Saunders.


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