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Permanent Collection

The Racine Art Museum has the largest contemporary craft collection in the United States. Over the last 10 years, RAM’s holdings have almost quadrupled, from 2,200 to close to 10,000 pieces. Over half of these pieces represent the museum’s focus on contemporary craft from internationally recognized artists—with concentrations in ceramics, fiber, glass, metals, art jewelry, polymer, and wood. Artists represented include Wendell Castle, Dale Chihuly, Lia Cook, Arline Fisch, Eleanor Moty, Joel Philip Myers, Gertrud and Otto Natzler, Albert Paley, Toshiko Takaezu, Leonore Tawney, Peter Voulkos, and several hundred more.

The other portion of RAM’s collection is a regionally significant holding of works on paper—prints, drawings, watercolor, and photography, as well as artists’ books—from the 1930s to the present. Other media, such as painting and sculpture, are represented in smaller numbers as makes sense relative to collecting goals.

Significantly, RAM’s collection is notable beyond the media represented, whether referring to the make-up of the artists whose works are included or to specialized areas of interest. For example, 41% of the artists in RAM’s collection are self-identifying women—a number that is substantially greater than the ratios calculated at other organizations with permanent collections and active exhibition programs. RAM is actively building its holdings of works by artists of color, thereby gathering the diverse voices that comprise creative expression. And, reflecting the longstanding ties to its local community, RAM collects the work of artists associated with Wisconsin. Notable concentrations of types of work include one of the largest collections of artist-made teapots in the United States, one of the largest collections of contemporary baskets in the United States, a significant number or unique or editioned artists’ books, and a concentration of artwork produced in the 1930s and 1940s through the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Further distinguishing RAM is the desire to build archives with concentrations of multiple works by individual artists or concentrations of certain types of objects—such as teapots or baskets. While some institutions choose to limit their acquisitions to one or two examples per artists—except in special circumstances—RAM is often interested in representing a large cross-section of a career or body of work. This extends to developing archives that may include studio furniture, correspondence, books, and other materials that document and outline professional paths and achievements.

LEARN ABOUT WORK BY ARTISTS OF COLOR
LEARN ABOUT WORK BY WOMEN ARTISTS
ARTWORK CURRENTLY ON LOAN

Ceramics

RAM’s collection of ceramics, which focuses on mid- to late- 20th century American clay, is the most comprehensive segment of its permanent collection.

Exploring late twentieth century issues in the medium, the collection examines function, ornament, decoration, and abstraction as well as allegory and narrative in pieces from ceramists like Jack Earl, Richard Shaw, and Ken Ferguson. A notable component of RAM’s ceramic collection is the Donna Moog Teapot collection, which documents more than 250 teapots from the 1980s and 1990s.

VIEW CERAMICS COLLECTION
Takaezu Star Series Installation

Ceramics

Takaezu Star Series Installation

RAM’s collection of ceramics, which focuses on mid- to late- 20th century American clay, is the most comprehensive segment of its permanent collection.

Exploring late twentieth century issues in the medium, the collection examines function, ornament, decoration, and abstraction as well as allegory and narrative in pieces from ceramists like Jack Earl, Richard Shaw, and Ken Ferguson. A notable component of RAM’s ceramic collection is the Donna Moog Teapot collection, which documents more than 250 teapots from the 1980s and 1990s.

VIEW CERAMICS COLLECTION
Fibers

Fiber

One of the largest in the US, RAM’s contemporary basket collection forms a major portion of its works of fiber art.

A substantial gift from Karen Johnson Boyd helped RAM establish this comprehensive body of modern baskets. It represents at least 25 major artists who work with fiber, including Lillian Elliot, John McQueen, Leon Niehues and Kay Sekimachi. These artists used both natural and industrial materials to create the works in RAM’s collection, in addition to techniques such as looping, knotting, and paper making.

VIEW FIBER COLLECTION

Fiber

Fibers

One of the largest in the US, RAM’s contemporary basket collection forms a major portion of its works of fiber art.

A substantial gift from Karen Johnson Boyd helped RAM establish this comprehensive body of modern baskets. It represents at least 25 major artists who work with fiber, including Lillian Elliot, John McQueen, Leon Niehues and Kay Sekimachi. These artists used both natural and industrial materials to create the works in RAM’s collection, in addition to techniques such as looping, knotting, and paper making.

VIEW FIBER COLLECTION

Glass

Combining the work of American artists with important pieces from international artists, RAM’s Studio Glass collection documents worldwide developments in glass since 1964.

Because RAM has attempted to document the evolution of this movement from the beginning to the present, its collection contains artists and bodies of work not frequently found in public museums. Masterpieces in the collection include Harvey Littleton, Ginny Ruffner, Joel Philip Myers, William Morris, Dale Chihuly, and more.

VIEW GLASS COLLECTION
Glass

Glass

Glass

Combining the work of American artists with important pieces from international artists, RAM’s Studio Glass collection documents worldwide developments in glass since 1964.

Because RAM has attempted to document the evolution of this movement from the beginning to the present, its collection contains artists and bodies of work not frequently found in public museums. Masterpieces in the collection include Harvey Littleton, Ginny Ruffner, Joel Philip Myers, William Morris, Dale Chihuly, and more.

VIEW GLASS COLLECTION

Metals

RAM’s metal collection focuses on American studio jewelry, rather than holloware and architectural metal work.

They document the major movements of American studio jewelry ranging from a concern with semi-precious material, to more sculptural forms that challenge the relationship between art and the body and finally today’s preoccupation with the narrative and the figure.

VIEW METALS COLLECTION

Metals

RAM’s metal collection focuses on American studio jewelry, rather than holloware and architectural metal work.

They document the major movements of American studio jewelry ranging from a concern with semi-precious material, to more sculptural forms that challenge the relationship between art and the body and finally today’s preoccupation with the narrative and the figure.

VIEW METALS COLLECTION

Polymer

The Racine Art Museum’s recent commitment to establishing a permanent collection of polymer jewelry, beads and sculptural objects led to a groundbreaking exhibition.

Back in the Fall of 2011, Terra Nova: Polymer Art at the Crossroads opened and featured over 200 objects (both from RAM’s permanent collection and on loan) made of polymer, including adornment, vessels, and furniture. The show emphasized the development of this material as significant medium for artwork in recent decades.

VIEW POLYMER COLLECTION

Polymer

The Racine Art Museum’s recent commitment to establishing a permanent collection of polymer jewelry, beads and sculptural objects led to a groundbreaking exhibition.

Back in the Fall of 2011, Terra Nova: Polymer Art at the Crossroads opened and featured over 200 objects (both from RAM’s permanent collection and on loan) made of polymer, including adornment, vessels, and furniture. The show emphasized the development of this material as significant medium for artwork in recent decades.

VIEW POLYMER COLLECTION

Wood

Works of art in wood are a portion of RAM’s collection that has grown in recent years.

RAM’s wood collection already features remarkable examples of contemporary furniture by artists such as Garry Knox Bennett, Wendell Castle, and John Cederquist. The museum has begun to develop its holdings of turned vessels and artworks exploring the natural characteristics of wood itself by artists such as Dorothy Gill Barnes, Po Shun Leong, Mark Lindquist, Edward Moulthrop, and Tom Rauschke and Kaaren Wiken.

VIEW WOOD COLLECTION

Wood

Works of art in wood are a portion of RAM’s collection that has grown in recent years.

RAM’s wood collection already features remarkable examples of contemporary furniture by artists such as Garry Knox Bennett, Wendell Castle, and John Cederquist. The museum has begun to develop its holdings of turned vessels and artworks exploring the natural characteristics of wood itself by artists such as Dorothy Gill Barnes, Po Shun Leong, Mark Lindquist, Edward Moulthrop, and Tom Rauschke and Kaaren Wiken.

VIEW WOOD COLLECTION
Additional Portfolios

In addition to categorizations based on media, RAM has also created portfolios that highlight the work of artists of color and women artists in the museum’s collection. They are not exhaustive and will be built upon over time as more documentation of these artists represented in the collection grows. This effort is not meant to single out artists to stigmatize them but to magnify and cast a spotlight on their significance. It reflects intention, goodwill, and an attempt to reckon with years of historical underrepresentation. The museum hopes that this provides opportunities for audiences to learn more about these artists and their ideas.

Artists of Color at RAM

RAM is committed to supporting diverse voices—whether that diversity reflects race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, social standing, or world perspective.

In this moment in time, it is critical that spotlights are placed on voices that have been historically underrepresented, at RAM that begins with women and artists of color. Artists of color are identified in this context as non-white and non-European in heritage. This simplification—which is arguably a flawed starting point—does not account for the nuances and variations of society. It is a beginning—a way to direct those who want to educate themselves about what is possible when new perspectives are discovered.

VIEW WORK BY ARTISTS OF COLOR

Artists of Color at RAM

RAM is committed to supporting diverse voices—whether that diversity reflects race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, social standing, or world perspective.

In this moment in time, it is critical that spotlights are placed on voices that have been historically underrepresented, at RAM that begins with women and artists of color. Artists of color are identified in this context as non-white and non-European in heritage. This simplification—which is arguably a flawed starting point—does not account for the nuances and variations of society. It is a beginning—a way to direct those who want to educate themselves about what is possible when new perspectives are discovered.

VIEW WORK BY ARTISTS OF COLOR
Myers Wax Crop

Women Artists at RAM

RAM acknowledges the efforts of self-identifying women in the art world consistently and sincerely at all times. The museum highlights how women are inextricably woven—and often the foundation—of creative endeavors and discourse. By current count, 41% of the artists in RAM’s collection are women. This percentage—which is consistently increasing—is already substantially greater than the ratios calculated at other organizations with permanent collections and active exhibition programs.

VIEW WORK BY WOMEN ARTISTS

Women Artists at RAM

Myers Wax Crop

RAM acknowledges the efforts of self-identifying women in the art world consistently and sincerely at all times. The museum highlights how women are inextricably woven—and often the foundation—of creative endeavors and discourse. By current count, 41% of the artists in RAM’s collection are women. This percentage—which is consistently increasing—is already substantially greater than the ratios calculated at other organizations with permanent collections and active exhibition programs.

VIEW WORK BY WOMEN ARTISTS

Love Art?  You’ll Love RAM!

The mission of the Racine Art Museum is to exhibit, collect, preserve, and educate in the contemporary visual arts. Stay up-to-date about special events as well as support the mission of the largest contemporary craft collection in America:

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