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Off-Site | Rethinking Monuments

American Sculpture in its Time, 1850-2000

May 22, 2022 – April 8, 2023


Offsite Exhibition at Grand Rapids Art Museum

What stories do monuments help us remember? What histories do they ask us to forget? 

The nineteen sculptures in this exhibit—made between 1850 and 2000—show different approaches American artists used to confront the past, shape the present, and hope for a brighter future. A bronze portrait transforms an American businessman into a Roman emperor. A pyramid of plywood reimagines the form of an ancient wonder. Abstract steel and fiberglass ice cream challenged notions of what a monument could be. Some were made for private commemoration and others for busy city streets.  

This exhibit looks to the past to understand contemporary debates. The stories monuments tell change as time passes. The meaning and impact of a monument changes based on the person who sees it. 

This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the Art Bridges Initiative. 


  • Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph | May 22 - August 28, 2022
  • Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, Saginaw | September 10 - December 17, 2022
  • Grand Rapids Art Museum | January 13 - April 8, 2023
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Rethinking Monuments: American Sculpture in Its Time, 1850–2000 is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts, Krasl Art Center, Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.