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Portrait Stories

This is a past event.

Saturday, May 13, 2023 10am to 4pm

The exhibition “Portrait Stories” will open at the Hope College Kruizenga Art Museum on Friday, Jan. 13.

There will be a public reception on Thursday, April 20, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The exhibition will continue through Saturday, May 13.

The public is invited to the exhibition and reception.  Admission is free.

“Portrait Stories” was curated by five Hope College students working under the supervision of Charles Mason, who is the director and Margaret Feldmann Kruizenga Curator of the Kruizenga Art Museum. The exhibition features 49 artworks representing a broad range of cultures, time periods and media. It includes portraits by famous historical artists like Rembrandt van Rijn, James Tissot, Kathe Kollwitz and Salvador Dali, as well as works by contemporary artists like Rashid Johnson, John Valadez and Zachary Drucker.

The students selected the artworks in the exhibition to explore different aspects of portraiture and to show how the genre has evolved over time. “We chose a really diverse group of objects that help us accomplish the goal of seeing portraits in different and alternative ways. As a class, we talked about what artworks we wanted to select and how we would group them together for the exhibition,” said student curator Nathan Koorndyk, a senior from Springboro, Ohio.

The subjects of the portraits in the exhibition span a wide range from well-known figures like Muhammad Ali and Mao Zedong to much lesser-known and even unknown people. The artworks are similarly diverse, and include paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and ceramics.

Despite the variety, the exhibition is unified by the idea that every portrait tells a story. “For centuries portraits have been used in cultures all around the world to commemorate people and to celebrate important moments in their lives,” Mason explained. “Every portrait in the exhibition has a story to tell about the person depicted, about the artist who made it, or about the historical environment in which they lived. Now with portraits being as accessible as a setting on your phone’s camera, some of their ‘specialness’ has worn off. Portraits have become so commonplace that we often pay little or no attention to them. But if we take the time really to look at and learn the stories behind the portraits, perhaps we can learn something about ourselves in the process.”

The Kruizenga Art Museum functions as an educational resource for Hope College and the greater West Michigan community. The museum features two public galleries as well as a study room and climate-controlled storage space for its 7,000-object permanent collection. It is named in honor of a leadership gift from the late Dr. Richard and Margaret Kruizenga of Holland, both of whom graduated from Hope in 1952.

The Kruizenga Art Museum is located at 271 Columbia Ave., between 10th and 13th streets. Public visiting hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission to the museum is always free.


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