Diversity is the claim that the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts goes for in their exhibit “Local Treasures of Kalamazoo,” and they manage to have it in spades.
The showcase is centered on pieces of all shapes and sizes that are taken from 30 private art collections in the Kalamazoo area. A placard in the entrance to the exhibit “recognizes –and applauds— those who make fine works of art part of their everyday lives.”
This menagerie of fine arts ranged from lithographs to bronze sculptures, an assortment as varied as their origin. These works hail from twenty countries and span roughly two centuries of visual arts.
Surprisingly, there were works from famous artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir (“Louis Valtat”), René Magritte (“Untitled,” lithograph portrait), and Henri Privat-Livemont (“Absinthe Robette”). This further served to demonstrate the depth of art in the Kalamazoo community.
There was a no-photography policy in the rooms, so no pictures of the actual exhibit can be shown.
Interestingly enough, even in the presence of this policy, there were only two members of the institution to provide security, and they intermittently wandered the two exhibits on the floor, leaving many pieces unwatched.
Arrangements of the works were mostly done by time period, and there were a few groupings by country of origin. Stylistically, it was hard to discern whether or not they were placed in an otherwise strategic manner. In addition to this, it should be pointed out that I have limited expertise in the visual arts.
However, even if there is little knowledge of the pieces themselves, the art presence in Kalamazoo is impressive enough. The variance in styles, time periods, and ethnicities of visual art further exemplifies the KIA-proclaimed point of the exhibit: to reflect upon “the range and diversity of local collections.” Even for a two-room exhibit, this display of Kalamazoo culture truly is a local treasure.
“Treasures from Kalamazoo Collections” is open until February 17, 2013 at the KIA. The institute is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am-5:00pm, and Sundays from 12:00pm-5:00pm. Admission for adults is $5, students with ID for $2, and KIA members, youth under 12, school groups, and active military personnel gain admission for free.