Fall Arts Celebration highlights Contemporary Chicago Art

GVL / Emily Frye

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye

Jacob Creswell, Staff Reporter

Grand Valley State University will be kicking off this year’s Fall Arts Celebration with the “Art of Today: Contemporary Collections from Chicago” collection. The exhibit is a collection of contemporary art, which combines pieces from GVSU’s own collection with pieces on loan from the city of Chicago.

The Art of Today collection will be on exhibit from Aug. 23 until Nov. 3. The exhibition is on display at the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts, located at GVSU’s Allendale campus. 

“Visitors will encounter a wide variety of compelling artworks from many important contemporary artists,” said Curator of Exhibitions Joel Zwart. “As the curator, I worked to develop a list of potential objects for this exhibition and then worked with the Art Gallery team to get their input on the final selections.” 

The exhibit especially highlights contemporary art from artists based in Chicago.

“Chicago has always been an important center for art in the United States and the world,” Zwart said. “It continues to be so, with major institutions (including the Art Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art) and a major art fair (such as Art Expo).” 

Contemporary art, as Zwart describes, is art produced by artists of the current day. Zwart also notes another element of today’s world that challenges contemporary artists.

“Contemporary art is also defined by the many ways in which artists seek to challenge boundaries and engage a world that is rapidly becoming culturally diverse, technologically developed and globalized,” Zwart said. “We feel it is important for GVSU students and our community to engage with contemporary art.”

Zwart said there is a lot that goes into the selection of curated pieces. 

“The works were selected to reflect the generally accepted period of Contemporary Art, which begins in the late 1960s and runs through today,” Zwart said.  “Additionally, we wanted to represent our connections in Chicago, so the selection is a balanced view of work from our donors and our collection.”

On the topic of the works, Zwart noted one that he considers being particularly notable.

“When you enter the exhibition, you will encounter a 3-dimensional paper clown suit that is suspended from the ceiling,” Zwart said. “On it, the artist has printed a variety of images. She has taken the tradition of printmaking to a whole new level and drawn our attention to this by creating such a provocative and compelling piece.”

The Fall Arts Celebration will be showcasing other collections and exhibits throughout the season. Admission to the exhibit is free and all are welcome.