Site:Lab returns to 54 Jefferson, home to the Grand Rapids Public Museum from 1940 to 1994, to present Vitrines, a changing series of installations utilizing the building’s five large display windows. Beginning in September 2011, an artist or group of artists will periodically be given the opportunity use the windows for a site-specific installation.
Vitrines is the second project that Site:Lab has done at 54 Jefferson. In April, 2010, Site:Lab founder, Paul Amenta, curated Michigan, Land of Riches, a month long exhibition of site-specific installations in which participating artists were given access to not only the building’s extant showcases and dioramas, but also specimens and artifacts from the museum’s vast collection.
In the inaugural Vitrines installation, Brett Colley, Associate Professor of Art & Design at GVSU, presented The Grand Rapids Streetside Collection, a display of hundreds of discarded items that he has retrieved from the streets and sidewalks of Grand Rapids for over a decade. By thoughtfully categorizing and installing these items in the same manner as a museum display, Colley comments on consumerism, taxonomy and the psychology of collecting.
Future projects in the Vitrines series will involve collaboration with educational institutions, businesses and cultural organizations. Through this project, Site:Lab hopes to provide a unique exhibition space to local artists, as well as activate the corner of Jefferson and State to the benefit of surrounding neighbors and pedestrian traffic.
Site:Lab wishes to thank the Grand Rapids Public Museum for making the windows at 54 Jefferson available for this project.