Today on Museum Bites we’re embracing our inner whimsy with a tour through the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). Join me for a few bites of the GRAM’s fanciful delights including a rowdy jack-o’-lantern, a pulsing multi-colored pod, and a windswept treat. We begin with Adam…

Having children is like living in a frat house
Nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.
~ Ray Romano

Impish:  Our first bit of whimsy is Adam (1992) by Billy Mayer (1953-2017). Made of polyurethane enamel on aluminum, Adam’s vivid colors and mishmash outfit bring to mind a toddler playing dress up. When crazy outfits and objects are thrown together and pranced about for the sheer fun of it.

Perched on a stool and brandishing a golf-club arm and toy gun, Adam impishly demands our attention. Look at me! Look at meeeeee! He also gives new meaning to the phrase shooting a round of golf. Click on this Billy Mayer link to view more of his fanciful work.

Ethereal:  Ovoid Glo-Pod (2016) by Gisela Colón (b. 1966) has an otherworldly vibe. Made of blown-molded acrylic, this iridescent pod-within-a-pod changes color and appears to pulse with energy when viewers move around the piece. This pod’s sea-blue shimmer resembles a jellyfish. Poke it with a finger and the swollen surface looks like it would jiggle like a bowl of Jell-O or worse sting like a jellyfish! A good reminder for us to keep our sticky fingers off the art.

In addition to her glo-pods Colón has crafted a series of multi-colored monoliths in a similar fashion.  Click on this Giesela Colón link to see more of her stunning work. If you’d like to zone out and safely swim with jellyfish, click on this live Jelly-Cam video link, courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Golden:  Our final bit of whimsy is an exquisite piece by Jennifer McCurdy (b. 1955). Handcrafted from porcelain, Gilded Wind Nest (2010) is a delightful confection. Its airy vanilla swirl and golden center look like a sweet treat conjured up by Willy Wonka and his faithful oompa loompas.

Walk around Gilded Wind Nest and it transforms from vanilla twist to an ivory tulip or turban. What do you see? A flower? A shell? A confection? Headgear? Or something else?

McCurdy lives on Martha’s Vineyard and draws inspiration from her beachy surroundings and the symmetry she observes in nature. To view more of her enchanting work, click on this Jennifer McCurdy link.

That wraps up our whimsical tour through the Grand Rapids Art Museum. We’ll return to the GRAM next week and take a look at their collection of bronzes. Until then, have a wonderful week!

Whimsy, Photo by JillWellington, Pixabay-100px  Cover photo by Jill Wellington, courtesy of Pixabay.


Gisela Colón

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Grand Rapids Art Museum: Billy Mayer the Shape of Things

Jennifer McCurdy

Los Angeles Times: Gisela Colón

Museum of Arts & Sciences: Gisela Colón

MyModernNet: Jennifer McCurdy


YouTube: Monterey Aquarium Jelly Cam

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