Past Sculpture Exhibitions

Past Sculpture Exhibitions

A Rich History

Three temporary sculpture exhibitions are developed annually, most curated by and for Meijer Gardens. These special exhibitions are shown within the large indoor galleries and associated indoor and outdoor spaces. The sculpture exhibition program is dedicated to sculpture traditions of all periods and exhibitions have ranged from large-scale presentations of modern masters such as Rodin, Picasso, and Moore to contemporary masters such as George Segal, Oldenburg and van Bruggen, di Suvero, Caro, and Richard Hunt.

Exhibition History

Sep
14
Jan
6
September 14, 2018 January 6, 2019

Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture

Through the finest examples of three-dimensional practice (sculpture, ceramics, performance, installation and video art), this exhibition emphasizes the relationship between disability and the fundamental human experiences of change and embodiment.

May 25 9:00 am August 19, 2018

Masayuki Koorida: Beyond Existence

Born in Kyoto, Japan, but now working in Shanghai, China, Masayuki Koorida is a major talent and dedicated figure in Contemporary sculpture.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is honored to premiere a selection of 70 works from American sculptor Beverly Pepper from the early 1950s through present day. From sketches capturing scenes of everyday life and landscape views to abstract explorations of space and form to technical drawings and independent prints, the exhibition will evidence one of the most profound artistic careers in recent memory.

September 15, 2017 January 7, 2018

Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was among the most revolutionary figurative artists in history, and his vast influence continues today.

January 27 9:00 am August 20, 2017

Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens: Natural State

This landmark exhibition will feature internationally renowned artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Opening on January 27, 2017, “Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens: Natural State” is his first show in the upper Midwest as well as the first of its kind for the artist at a botanical garden or sculpture park.

September 16 9:00 am December 31, 2016

Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus

Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus

This exhibition invites artists to reflect on their experiences with Grand Rapids as the conceptual foundation of new work.

February 26 August 14, 2016

Mimmo Paladino: Present into Past

Italian sculptor, painter and graphic artist Mimmo Paladino is among the innovative artists responsible for the revival of figurative art at the end of the 20th century.

Sep
18
Jan
4
September 18, 2015 January 3, 2016

Tradition and Innovation: Japanese Ceramics Now

This exhibition is a survey of work by ceramic artists working in Japan today. From the functional to the sculptural, 25 carefully selected works that acknowledge tradition but embrace the avant-garde will be on display. 

Sep
19
Jan
4
September 19, 2014 January 4, 2015

Highly Recommended: Emerging Sculptors

The depth and breadth of contemporary sculpture is ever evolving due to the contributions of emerging sculptors. This exhibition surveys the complexities and diversity of sculpture today through the innovative efforts of developing sculptors. Working closely with the recommendations of established artists in the permanent collection of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the talents of a promising new generation of sculptors from across the globe have been chosen to form a highly unique, group exhibition. As a result of this inventive curatorial approach, Meijer Gardens continues to engage audiences with its permanent collection, while furthering an understanding and appreciation of the horizon for contemporary sculpture.

This groundbreaking exhibition is exclusive to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and will host to Nash’s works in the sculpture galleries, conservatories and across the gardens and grounds.

More than forty selected major works by more than twenty sculptors—including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anthony Caro, Louise Nevelson, George Segal, Antony Gormley, Roxy Paine, and others—will be featured.

September 18, 2013 January 5, 2014

Shattered: Contemporary Sculpture in Glass

A sculptural entity in its own right, contemporary glass is marked by creative, conceptual and formal explorations in keeping with the dynamic persona of contemporary art at large. 

May
24
Aug
26

Chinese artist Zhang Huan is a sculptor, painter, photographer, performance and installation artist; his impact in broadening the global dimensions of contemporary art has been immense.

Feb
1
Apr
29

Hanneke Beaumont’s figures represent a universal type, neither telling male nor female, that are carefully and pensively posed.

Oct
1
Dec
31
October 1 6:57 pm December 31, 2012

Bernar Venet at Meijer Gardens

Five works were on display on the front lawn.

Sep
19
Jan
6
September 19, 2012 January 6, 2013

Body Double: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture

This exhibition was a survey of contemporary sculpture around the subject of the human figure as both an object and a metaphor. Considering a wide variety of formal and conceptual approaches by artists from across the United States and around the world, the exhibition illustrated the diversity and depth of the figure in Contemporary Art from more literal terms to those which are implied or symbolically stated. Building on the strength and variety of the figurative tradition of Meijer Garden’s acclaimed permanent collection; this exhibition explored a renewal of interest in the subject from objects to installations while surveying a broad spectrum of concepts, forms and materials.

May
25
Aug
27
May 25 August 26, 2012

Beverly Pepper: Palingenesis 1962-2012

Beverly Pepper has been a major force across the international scene since the 1960s. This exhibition focused exclusively on her pioneering efforts in metal beginning with her debut at the famed Spoleto exhibition in 1962 through major recent efforts. Charting her innovation and determination, iconic works from across her repertoire were on view. This was the first major presentation on Pepper in recent years and the first to explore the power and vision of her work in steel. From daring, welded steel of the early 1960s, to pristine geometric works of the late 1960s and 1970s, to the upright sentinels known in public and private collections around the world, the exhibition carried through to ascending monoliths of recent years. This exhibition was accompanied by archival information and a fully illustrated catalogue. Charting her innovation and determination, iconic works from across her repertoire were on view.

January 27 April 29, 2012

Essence: The Horses of Deborah Butterfield

American sculptor Deborah Butterfield is among the most respected and acclaimed artists of her generation. Her horses, like Meijer Gardens’ own Cabin Creek (1999), have been the focus of great interest as much for their creative use of materials as for their craftsmanship. This exhibition featured the installation of both large-scale as well as pedestal-size horses. Each unique example was composed of a wide variety of materials from found and reclaimed metals, to branches and earth. Although each sculpture was inspired by a specific horse Butterfield has known, the works are not portraits in the traditional sense, but representations of the essence of that creature. For Butterfield, it is not merely the physical presence of such noble creatures she hopes to convey, but their spirit and energy as well. This exhibition featured the installation of both large-scale as well as pedestal-size horses. 

Sep
21
Jan
1
September 21 December 31, 2011

Sculpture Today: New Forces, New Forms

World renowned for its collections and exhibition program of Modern and Contemporary sculpture, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park hosted its premier invitational exhibition of work by emerging sculptors. Selected from across the United States and around the world, artists working three-dimensionally and through installations, were included in this first annual event. Artists were chosen from across the contemporary scene anticipating a wide array of conceptual and formal approaches in the ever-evolving definition of sculpture today. 

Jun
3
Aug
22
June 3 August 21, 2011

Laura Ford: Actual, Factual Fables

The highly inventive figures and animal forms of Welsh born sculptor Laura Ford have been the focus of widespread critical acclaim across the United Kingdom, and increasingly, throughout Europe.  Utilizing a wide variety of materials and found objects, Ford provided creatures which initially disarmed or charmed the viewer with humor and warmth, but are ultimately poignant reminders of the frailties of human condition or the inequities of social order. The use of animal imagery to illustrate human circumstances called to mind traditions ranging from Aesop to Beatrix Potter, yet the realization of form and the power of message conveyed is decidedly contemporary. This was the sculptor’s first solo exhibition in the United States. This exhibition was organized by Galerie Scheffel, Bad Homburg, Germany in cooperation with the artist and Meijer Gardens.      

Jan
28
May
9
January 28 May 8, 2011

Jim Dine: Sculpture

American master Jim Dine has been a major force across the contemporary scene from the origins of the Pop Art movement to the present. Although revered for his paintings and graphic work, his prolific and equally profound endeavors as a sculptor are less well known.  This retrospective exhibition was the first of its kind and traced the origins of Dine’s sculpture from rarely scene early work of the late 1950s and early 1960s through to his most current efforts. Iconic themes that have occupied his attention, ranging from tools to the Venus, to the heart and, most recently, Pinocchio, as well as lesser known, but equally reflective subjects were examined in detail. This comprehensive exhibition featured works in the sculpture galleries and neighboring terrace as well in interior garden conservatories. This exhibition was organized by Meijer Gardens.  

Sep
22
Oct
11

A sculpture by each of the following artists were displayed in the entry ways, foyer and front lawns: Daina Shobrys (NYC), Kevin Box (Santa Fe, NM), Albert LaVergne (PawPaw, MI), Ellen Rogers (Buffalo, NY), Michael Winger (SilverSprings, MD), Ira Sapir (Chicago, IL), Michael Maguire (Waco, TX), Mark Rumsey (Grand Rapids),  Deborah Davidson (Somerville, MA), Steven Dobbins (Mt. Airy, MD), Sy Gresser (Silver Springs, MD), Jeff Tippett (East Grand Rapids), Mike Baur (West Chicago, IL), Bob Emser (Eureka, IL), Dusty Folwarczny (Chicago, IL), Ted Sitting Crow Garner (Chicago, IL), David Greenwood (Grand Rapids, MI), Terrence Karpowicz (Chicago, IL), Amanda Katz (New York, NY), Steve Maloney (Rancho Sante Fe, CA), Steven Mankouche (AnnArbor, MI), Julia Rogers (Bowling Green, OH), Eric Stephenson (Chicago, IL), John Warner (Walker, MI), Alison Williams (Goffstown, NH), Michael Young (Chicago, IL).

Through the generosity of Fred and Lena Meijer, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park assembled one of the world’s foremost collections of Modern and Contemporary sculpture. In honor of the Meijer legacy and in celebration of the namesake institution’s 15th anniversary, contemporary sculptors represented in the permanent collection displayed new work in this unique gallery exhibition. From Louise Bourgeois and Deborah Butterfield, to Mark di Suvero and Antony Gormley, to Claes Oldenburg and Tom Otterness, many artists have developed a special affinity for Meijer Gardens and the Meijers themselves. This exhibition individually examined the present endeavors of numerous iconic masters from across the contemporary scene and collectively commemorated the breadth and depth of the permanent collection developed with the support of Fred and Lena Meijer.

Apr
30
Oct
1

A large-scale outdoor exhibition, fourteen monumental glass sculptures were located in locations as diverse as the English Perennial Garden, Woodland Shade Garden, Children’s Garden and Sculpture Park as well as several wetland areas and the great lawn fronting the landmark conservatories. Chihuly designed the exhibition specifically to respond to the horticultural focus and natural conditions of each of the respective sites. 

Jan
29
May
10

American artist Michele Oka Doner is widely celebrated for her sculpture, installations and public art projects, and is similarly acclaimed for her prints, jewelry and functional objects. Among the most versatile artists working today, the inspiration she draws from nature is the defining factor and unifying force across her repertoire in both formal and spiritual terms. This exhibition, Oka Doner’s largest to date, examined the breadth of her endeavors from recent figurative projects in bronze and on paper to iconic functional objects in bronze and silver.  Of special note was her site specific installation of more than 1,500 recently completed ceramic soul catchers completed during her residency at the famed Nymphenburg porcelain studios in Munich, Germany.  This exhibition was timed to coincide with the completion of Beneath the Leafy Crown, the expansive 1,200 square foot bronze and terrazzo floor commissioned by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Oct
9
Jan
3
October 9, 2009 January 3, 2010

Lynn Chadwick: In Contact

Lynn Chadwick: In Contact Sculpture from the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, Ursinus College

Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) was one of several talented British sculptors who burst upon the international art scene in the late 1950s. Inspired by the career of Henry Moore, Chadwick’s sculpture displays a fascinating evolution of personal images through powerful series of abstracted human figures, animals, birds and imaginary beasts. This retrospective exhibition featured 43 sculptures and five lithographs from the permanent collection of the Phillip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College.  Beginning with the highly geometric and strongly linear figures and beasts of the 1950s, this exhibition followed the chronology of the master’s career through to the majestic and sensuous male and female forms of the 1980s. This exhibition was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions in conjunction with Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.      

Alexander Calder (1898-1976), profoundly changed the course of modern sculpture and notions of public art. La Grande Vitesse in downtown Grand Rapids dates to 1969. The colossus was heralded as among Calder’s masterworks and was America’s first public sculpture project funded by the National Endowment of the Arts through the Art in Public Places Program. This exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, focused specifically on work from 1969.  Mobiles, stabiles, ceramics, gouaches, prints and drawings were featured.  Works related to La Grande Vitesse were highlighted – including the artist’s large-scale maquette for the sculpture. 

January 30 May 10, 2009

Jonathan Borofsky

American sculptor and installation artist Jonathan Borofsky frequently utilizes stylized descriptions of male and female figures to suggest the commonalities shared across humanity. Central to this exhibition was a large-scale installation utilizing hundreds of color lexan figures, light and sound. Large-scale presentations of Borofsky’s major projects were on display, including his recent project for the Beijing Olympics.

October 3, 2008 January 4, 2009

Jaume Plensa

This exhibition focused on recent work and forthcoming projects and Plensa’s use of the figure and text. 

May
30
Sep
1

Seventy-three sculptures including "Little Dancer" and "Aged Fourteen" were the focus of this exhibition.  

This exhibition, the first major museum presentation of its kind in West Michigan, contained more than 80 objects representing approximately 30 cultures of sub-Saharan Africa.  The sculpture – predominately masks and figures – were associated with ritual and religious ceremonies.  Additionally, connections to the permanent collection at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and the development of Modern Art were included. 

Sep
28
Jan
1
September 28 December 31, 2007

George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective

George Rickey (1907-2002) is internationally regarded as among the most inventive and influential sculptors of the 20th century.  

June 8 September 3, 2007

Sophie Ryder

British sculptor Sophie Ryder’s unique animal and hybrid imagery in wire and bronze were complimented by extensive investigations in drawing, collage and prints.  

May 23 October 21, 2007

Rodin’s: The Thinker

"The Thinker" was given to the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1922 by Horace H. Rackham, and has never been loaned to any other organization — until this exhibition.  

January 26 May 13, 2007

Patrick Dougherty

American sculptor Patrick Dougherty (b. 1945) creates large-scale, architectonic sculptures composed of sticks, twigs, and branches.  

Jan
26
May
14
January 26 May 13, 2007

Vanessa Paschakarnis

Canadian-based sculptor Vanessa Paschakarnis has received critical acclaim for her bold abstract imagery and sensitive treatment of materials. 

Sep
29
Jan
1
September 29 December 31, 2006

Magdalena Abakanowicz: The Drawings

Following its debut in Grand Rapids, the exhibition began a national tour in 2007.

Sep
29
Jan
1
September 29 December 31, 2006

David Huang: Vessels

West Michigan artist David Huang’s metal vessels are carefully conceived organic forms painstakingly fashioned in copper through hammering and molding techniques.

Jun
1
Sep
11
Jan
12
May
15
January 12 May 14, 2006

Andy Goldsworthy: Arches

Central to this exhibition, his largest in the United States to date, were the colossal stone Grand Rapids Arch and the related Herd of Arches, which is comprised of 11 smaller scale arches.  A film showing the installation of the Grand Rapids Arch and an interview with Andy Goldsworthy was shown in the Snell Sculpture Education Center.  This exhibition was unique to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and did not travel.

Sep
23
Jan
1
September 23 December 31, 2005

Marvels of Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics

Pieces displayed in this exhibition were on loan from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC along with various contemporary artists from Umbria, Italy.

This retrospective exhibition was the first to honor the artist in the United States and was developed for Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park with the artist and his galleries in Berlin and Cologne.  

Jan
21
May
9
January 21 May 8, 2005

Henry Moore: Imaginary Landscapes

This exhibition inaugurated the 10th anniversary celebration of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Sep
24
Jan
3
September 24, 2004 January 2, 2005

Mark di Suvero

This exhibition, developed in conjunction with the artist, examined the course of di Suvero’s career with sculptures on display in both interior and exterior settings.

May
21
Sep
7
May 21 September 6, 2004

The World of Robert E. Kuhn

This exhibition was timed to coincide with the opening of the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden.

Jan
22
May
3
January 22 May 2, 2004

George Segal: America

George Segal: America

Sep
19
Jan
5
September 19, 2003 January 4, 2004

Quiet Beauty: Fifty Centuries of Japanese Folk Ceramics

Quiet Beauty: Fifty Centuries of Japanese Folk Ceramics

Jun
1
Sep
1
June 1 August 31, 2003

Louise Bourgeouis: Maman

Louise Bourgeouis: Maman

May
30
Sep
2
May 30 September 1, 2003

Anthony Caro

Anthony Caro

May
30
Sep
2
May 30 September 1, 2003

Weller Pottery: An American Classic

From the Collection of Ward A. Paul and Charles G. Schoenknecht

Jan
17
May
12
January 17 May 11, 2003

Color and Light: Chihuly at the Gardens

Color and Light: Chihuly at the Gardens

Oct
30
Sep
1
October 30, 2002 August 31, 2004

Magdalena Abakanowicz: The Skulls

Magdalena Abakanowicz: The Skulls

Sep
6
Jan
1
September 6 December 31, 2002

Picasso: the Artist as Sculptor

Picasso: the Artist as Sculptor

May
16
Aug
18

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen Exhibition

Mar
15
May
6

Master Teachers II: West Michigan Ceramics Faculty

Mar
15
May
6

Roy Lichtenstein and the Bonsai Tree

Jan
11
Mar
4

Rodin’s Obsession: the Gates of Hell, Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection

Oct
14
Jan
4
October 14, 2001 January 3, 2002

Air, Space and Light: the Sculpture of John Safer

Air, Space and Light: the Sculpture of John Safer

Sep
29
Jan
4

Marshall Fredericks and the Outdoor Museum: Illustrations by Christine Collins Woomer

Jul
1
Sep
25
July 1 September 24, 2001

Sharon Sommers

Sharon Sommers

Jul
1
Oct
8

Monumental Elegance: The Sculpture and Drawings of Philip Grausman

Jun
11
Sep
2
June 11 September 1, 2001

Tom Condon and Julie Moore

Tom Condon and Julie Moore

May
1
May
1
May 1, 2001 April 30, 2002

Philip Grausman, Big Heads

Philip Grausman, Big Heads

Apr
12
Jun
18

Master Teachers, West Michigan Sculpture Faculty

Apr
12
Jan
4
April 12, 2001 January 3, 2002

Rodin: Cornerstone of Modern Sculpture

Rodin: Cornerstone of Modern Sculpture

Feb
1
Jun
1
February 1 May 31, 2001

James Karsina and Rick Stevens

James Karsina and Rick Stevens

Jan
21
Mar
26

Sculptor on Sculpture: The Photographs of Alexander Liberman

Jan
1 31
January 1 January 31, 2001

Richard Hunt: American Visionary

Richard Hunt: American Visionary

Jan
1
May
1
January 1 April 30, 2001

Richard Hunt: Rust Garden

Richard Hunt: Rust Garden

Jan
1 31
January 1 January 31, 2001

Winifred Godfrey Paintings

Winifred Godfrey Paintings

Jan
1
Mar
3

Imaging the Divine: Sacred and Spiritual Themes by Marshall Fredericks

Dec
31
May
2
December 31, 2000 May 1, 2001

Salavadore Dali’s Carmen

Salavadore Dali’s Carmen

Sep
1
Jan
8
September 1, 2000 January 7, 2001

Floragrande: Paintings by Winifred Godfrey

Floragrande: Paintings by Winifred Godfrey

Jul
1
Aug
14

Rivertown Artists’ Guild Presents Nature’s Images

May
6
Jun
26

Texture and Poetry—The Michigan Landscape Photography by Charles De Vries and Jonathan Rues

Apr
18
May
15
April 18 May 14, 2000

Cows on Parade

Cows on Parade

Jan
8
Feb
21
January 8 February 20, 2000

Landscapes and Garden Views

Landscapes and Garden Views

Nov
1
Apr
26

Celebrating Humanity: The Outdoor Sculpture of Keith Haring

Sep
4
Nov
6
September 4 November 5, 1999

Moments to Remember: Photographs by Ray Stevens

Moments to Remember: Photographs by Ray Stevens

Jul
27
Feb
1
July 27, 1999 January 31, 2001

Patrick Dougherty: Jug or Naught

Patrick Dougherty: Jug or Naught

Jul
3
Aug
30

Natural Transformations: Robert Divita, Shilin Hora, Robert Park Skye

May
1
Jun
28

A Dance of Color and Light: Photography by David Mullen

Mar
6
Apr
26

Inside and Out: New Paintings and Drawings by Michael Pfleghaar

Jan
9
Feb
22
January 9 February 21, 1999

8 Landscape Artists

 8 Landscape Artists

Dec
5
Jun
21
December 5, 1998 June 20, 1999

Echoes of Eden

Echoes of Eden

Aug
29
Nov
16
August 29 November 15, 1998

Sculpture Passion—One Man’s Vision

Sculpture Passion—One Man’s Vision

Jul
10
Oct
26

Steel Your Imagination: The Re-Creations of Stuart Padnos

Jun
13
Aug
25

Nancy Fuller and Sally Thielen: Harmonious Spirit

May
1 30

Sandra K. Jackoboice: Botanical Portraits

Mar
1
Apr
20

Glenda Van Raalte and Linda Baker: Of Gardens and Waterways

Nov
14
Feb
16

Il Giardino di Perugia: Photographic works by Claudia Liberatore

Nov
8
Jun
22
November 8, 1997 June 21, 1998

Sculpture Michigan

Sculpture Michigan

Oct
17
Nov
10

David Mullen and Patricia Hendricks: Color Harmonies

Aug
16
Oct
13
August 16 October 12, 1997

Kinnebrew: One Man, Many Visions

Kinnebrew: One Man, Many Visions

Jun
13
Aug
11
June 13 August 10, 1997

Debra Reid Jenkins

Debra Reid Jenkins

Apr
20
Jun
1

Up Close and Personal: The Flower Paintings of Winifred Godfrey

Mar
1
Apr
14
March 1 April 13, 1997

Butterfly Pastels

Butterfly Pastels

Jan
17
Feb
24
January 17 February 23, 1997

M.C. Kanouse: Watercolor Views

M.C. Kanouse: Watercolor Views

Jun
8
Sep
11

Witness: Endangered Species of North America