Ben J. Cunningham
Lolly Pop Necklace from the Just Playing and Having Fun Series, 1999
Found candy and metal spring
13 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 3 inches
Racine art Museum, Gift of the Artist
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine

Expect the Unexpected: Unusual Materials in Contemporary Craft

October 21, 2020 – July 3, 2021

Pablo Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning—an oval-shaped painting trimmed with a piece of rope as a frame—is often acknowledged as one of the first assemblage pieces as it incorporated a found object as part of the composition. Picasso’s work is also an early modern illustration of the idea that artists sometimes willingly utilize and experiment with materials that were produced for purposes other than art-making.

The advent of industrialization in modern Western societies encouraged the production of more goods and, ultimately, more excess and waste. This reality—as well as the idea that artists were able to focus more on the investigations of personal interests rather than commissions—led to endless new possibilities for using unexpected materials in their creative endeavors.

Expect the Unexpected features artworks drawn from RAM’s collection that incorporate unusual, surprising, or challenging materials. Rather than shying away from the potential care challenges they might entail, RAM embraces these objects as reflections of the inventiveness and experimentation that characterizes much contemporary art. However, RAM acknowledges that preserving and caring for works made of unusual materials does present some unexpected challenges. For example, artist Wesley Fleming’s Hornet’s Nest—which combines an actual found hornet’s nest with flameworked glass hornets—poses long-term conservation issues that are far different than those of a traditional ceramic or glass vessel. Similarly, artist Joy Raskin created spoon brooches with handles accented with actual aspirin tablets, which necessitate strategies for preservation far different from those usually associated with metal jewelry and objects.

MORE ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Exhibition Notes (PDF)

Artists in the Exhibition

Jerry Bleem, Patty Cokus, Susie Colquitt, Ben J. Cunningham, Teresa Faris, Wesley Fleming, Robly A. Glover, Lindsay Obermeyer, Emiko Oye, Joy Raskin, Karyl Sisson, Janna Syvänoja, Cynthia Toops, Jan Yager, and Sebastian Zarius

Expect the Unexpected: Unusual Materials in Contemporary Craft

October 21, 2020 – July 3, 2021
Ben J. Cunningham
Lolly Pop Necklace from the Just Playing and Having Fun Series, 1999
Found candy and metal spring
13 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 3 inches
Racine art Museum, Gift of the Artist
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine

Pablo Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning—an oval-shaped painting trimmed with a piece of rope as a frame—is often acknowledged as one of the first assemblage pieces as it incorporated a found object as part of the composition. Picasso’s work is also an early modern illustration of the idea that artists sometimes willingly utilize and experiment with materials that were produced for purposes other than art-making.

The advent of industrialization in modern Western societies encouraged the production of more goods and, ultimately, more excess and waste. This reality—as well as the idea that artists were able to focus more on the investigations of personal interests rather than commissions—led to endless new possibilities for using unexpected materials in their creative endeavors.

Expect the Unexpected features artworks drawn from RAM’s collection that incorporate unusual, surprising, or challenging materials. Rather than shying away from the potential care challenges they might entail, RAM embraces these objects as reflections of the inventiveness and experimentation that characterizes much contemporary art. However, RAM acknowledges that preserving and caring for works made of unusual materials does present some unexpected challenges. For example, artist Wesley Fleming’s Hornet’s Nest—which combines an actual found hornet’s nest with flameworked glass hornets—poses long-term conservation issues that are far different than those of a traditional ceramic or glass vessel. Similarly, artist Joy Raskin created spoon brooches with handles accented with actual aspirin tablets, which necessitate strategies for preservation far different from those usually associated with metal jewelry and objects.

MORE ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Exhibition Notes (PDF)

Artists in the Exhibition

Jerry Bleem, Patty Cokus, Susie Colquitt, Ben J. Cunningham, Teresa Faris, Wesley Fleming, Robly A. Glover, Lindsay Obermeyer, Emiko Oye, Joy Raskin, Karyl Sisson, Janna Syvänoja, Cynthia Toops, Jan Yager, and Sebastian Zarius

Gallery of Work

Exhibitions at RAM are made possible by:

Platinum Sponsors

Anonymous
Nicholas and Nancy Kurten
Windgate Foundation
Wisconsin Department of Administration

Diamond Sponsors

Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation
Ruffo Family Foundation

Gold Sponsors
Anonymous
David Charak
Silver Sponsors
A.C. Buhler Family
Andis Foundation
Lucy G. Feller
Ben and Dawn Flegel
Ron and Judith Isaacs
Johnson Financial Group
Bill Keland
Dorothy MacVicar
RDK Foundation, Inc.
Bronze Sponsors

Anonymous
Susan Boland
Virginia Buhler
Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research
Educators Credit Union
Fredrick and Deborah Ganaway
William A. Guenther
Tom and Sharon Harty
Andrea and Tony Hauser
The Norbell Foundation
Bill and Mary Walker

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