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.
This exhibition of new work explores the intimate relationship between humankind and nature. At the heart of the exhibition is an installation offering the viewer a solitary, sublime experience of being enveloped in nature. Accompanying mixed media artworks examine the womb as a natural cocoon.
Although never formally trained in the visual arts or art history, Fred Meijer was deeply interested in cultural endeavors and history, and had a long interest in 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.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was among the most revolutionary figurative artists in history, and his vast influence continues today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hanneke Beaumont’s figures represent a universal type, neither telling male nor female, that are carefully and pensively posed.
Five works were on display on the front lawn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This exhibition focused on recent work and forthcoming projects and Plensa’s use of the figure and text.
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.
George Rickey (1907-2002) is internationally regarded as among the most inventive and influential sculptors of the 20th century.
British sculptor Sophie Ryder’s unique animal and hybrid imagery in wire and bronze were complimented by extensive investigations in drawing, collage and prints.
"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.
American sculptor Patrick Dougherty (b. 1945) creates large-scale, architectonic sculptures composed of sticks, twigs, and branches.
Canadian-based sculptor Vanessa Paschakarnis has received critical acclaim for her bold abstract imagery and sensitive treatment of materials.
Following its debut in Grand Rapids, the exhibition began a national tour in 2007.
West Michigan artist David Huang’s metal vessels are carefully conceived organic forms painstakingly fashioned in copper through hammering and molding techniques.
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.
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.
This exhibition inaugurated the 10th anniversary celebration of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.
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.
This exhibition was timed to coincide with the opening of the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden.
George Segal: America
Quiet Beauty: Fifty Centuries of Japanese Folk Ceramics
Louise Bourgeouis: Maman
From the Collection of Ward A. Paul and Charles G. Schoenknecht
Color and Light: Chihuly at the Gardens
Magdalena Abakanowicz: The Skulls
Picasso: the Artist as Sculptor
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen Exhibition
Master Teachers II: West Michigan Ceramics Faculty
Roy Lichtenstein and the Bonsai Tree
Rodin’s Obsession: the Gates of Hell, Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection
Air, Space and Light: the Sculpture of John Safer
Marshall Fredericks and the Outdoor Museum: Illustrations by Christine Collins Woomer
Monumental Elegance: The Sculpture and Drawings of Philip Grausman
Tom Condon and Julie Moore
Philip Grausman, Big Heads
Master Teachers, West Michigan Sculpture Faculty
Rodin: Cornerstone of Modern Sculpture
James Karsina and Rick Stevens
Sculptor on Sculpture: The Photographs of Alexander Liberman
Richard Hunt: American Visionary
Richard Hunt: Rust Garden
Winifred Godfrey Paintings
Imaging the Divine: Sacred and Spiritual Themes by Marshall Fredericks
Salavadore Dali’s Carmen
Floragrande: Paintings by Winifred Godfrey
Rivertown Artists’ Guild Presents Nature’s Images
Texture and Poetry—The Michigan Landscape Photography by Charles De Vries and Jonathan Rues
Cows on Parade
Landscapes and Garden Views
Celebrating Humanity: The Outdoor Sculpture of Keith Haring
Moments to Remember: Photographs by Ray Stevens
Patrick Dougherty: Jug or Naught
Natural Transformations: Robert Divita, Shilin Hora, Robert Park Skye
A Dance of Color and Light: Photography by David Mullen
Inside and Out: New Paintings and Drawings by Michael Pfleghaar
8 Landscape Artists
Echoes of Eden
Sculpture Passion—One Man’s Vision
Steel Your Imagination: The Re-Creations of Stuart Padnos
Nancy Fuller and Sally Thielen: Harmonious Spirit
Sandra K. Jackoboice: Botanical Portraits
Glenda Van Raalte and Linda Baker: Of Gardens and Waterways
Il Giardino di Perugia: Photographic works by Claudia Liberatore
David Mullen and Patricia Hendricks: Color Harmonies
Kinnebrew: One Man, Many Visions
Debra Reid Jenkins
Up Close and Personal: The Flower Paintings of Winifred Godfrey
M.C. Kanouse: Watercolor Views
Witness: Endangered Species of North America