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Grand Rapids Art Museum scores 3-year partnership with NY museum

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Pamella DeVos and GRAM CEO Dana Friis-Hansen in front of part of the "Robert Rauschenburg: Synapsis Shuffle" exhibit on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It opens to the public Friday.

This week the Grand Rapids Art Museum opens a new exhibit on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The “Robert Rauschenberg: Synapsis Shuffle” exhibit is part of a new 3-year partnership between the two museums. It opens to the public on Friday.

Pamella DeVos spends a lot of time in New York as a fashion designer. She is a board trustee at the Whitney Museum and helped make the partnership a reality.

“We’re not a huge city but we certainly have such an amazing art museum,” Devos said. DeVos is a GRAM Honorary Life Trustee. She says she’s had a passion for the GRAM since she was 25 years old. DeVos says she’s brought the director of the Whitney Museum to Grand Rapids many times.

“I think the Whitney Museum knew, first of all, (the collection) would hang well here; it’ll be safe here. And the people of Grand Rapids and beyond western Michigan really all in the Midwest, people will travel from all over to come see it,” DeVos said.

Grand Rapids Art Museum Director and CEO Dana Friis-Hansen says the partnership will bring “landmark works by giants in American art history” to the GRAM.

“We’re bringing to Grand Rapids some of the most important works made in the last decades of the 21st century,” Friis-Hansen said, “These are key highlights of the pre and post war movements in American Art. And so our children will get a chance to see firsthand what they’re studying in Art History 101.”

Through the partnership the Grand Rapids Art Museum will showcase 3 of the Whitney’s collections. The collections include work from Andy Warhol, Emily Fisher Landau, Jasper Johns and other contemporary American artists.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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