Twenty-First Century Heirlooms

April 28 - September 15, 2013

The notion of an heirloom often describes 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 will use 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 objects to treasure or refuse.

Featuring artists at various phases in their careers and objects crafted from a variety of different media, 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 sculptures made of accumulations of recycled twentieth-century pressed glass, as well as fast food containers made of silver, the work included in this show expands and challenges how we define heirlooms in the twenty-first century.   

Exhibition Gallery Guide
Exhibition Tip Sheet

Press Room 

On newstands, Metalsmith features Kim Cridler, recent artist in RAM's Windows on Fifth Gallery. See Cridler's work now in Twenty-First Century Heirlooms



Artists whose works are included: 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, Heirloom Couture/Joanne Kliejunas, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, 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.

Mary Smull
Willow, 2011
Found object and yarn
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Aaron Igler for Greenhouse Media LLC
Kimberlie Tatalick
Mourning Luxury, Homage to the House of Faberge, 2001
Fine silver, enamel, 14-kt gold, 18-kt gold, bi-metal, and ribbon
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Courtesy of the Artist
Donna Sharrett
Just Breathe, 2012
Clothing, found objects, dirt, beads, and thread
Courtesy of the Artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York
Photography: Margaret Fox
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
Joanne Kliejunas
Waves and Clouds, 2010
Found linens, linen, silk charmeuse, lace, and metal
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Robert Frost Photography, Talent, OR
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, Ruud Family Foundation.