“The Dream of the Butterfly” Shao Mingjiang (Chinese, b. 1956) 1993.

A new exhibition, “A New Art for a New China,” will open at the Hope College Kruizenga Art Museum on Saturday, Aug. 26, and run through Saturday, Dec. 16. There will be a public reception for the exhibition on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The public is invited to the exhibition and the reception. Admission is free.

“A New Art for a New China” was curated by Charles Mason, who is director of the Kruizenga Art Museum. The exhibition features a selection of 49 Chinese prints dating from the late 1930s to the early 2020s that reflect the broader history of China and Chinese printmaking during that period.

“The modern Chinese print movement was launched in the 1930s as part of a larger effort to reform Chinese society and culture,” Mason explained. “Many political and cultural leaders of the time believed that art had a critical role to play in reinvigorating the Chinese nation as a whole. Printmaking was seen as especially important because of its ability to reach and be understood by a broad range of audiences, and to a large extent it retained that importance through the end of the 20th century and beyond.”

The exhibition is divided into six sections that trace the chronological evolution of modern Chinese printmaking from its early stages to the present day. The artworks in the exhibition represent a variety of styles and subjects, and include prints by many leading artists of the genre. Every print is accompanied by an interpretive label that explains how it fits into the dual histories of modern China and modern Chinese printmaking.

The prints in the exhibition belong to a collection that was donated to the Kruizenga Art Museum in 2021 by Michigan native David Ihrman. The Ihrman collection was formed by Ihrman and his late wife, Huang Dong Ihrman, between the late 1980s and early 2000s. It includes more than 1500 prints, and Mason noted that it ranks among the largest collections of modern Chinese prints to be found outside of China.

“The Ihrman Collection is extraordinary in both its quality and its scope,” Mason said. “It reflects the collectors’ deep knowledge and love of the genre, and their personal connections to many of the artists. The donation of the collection to the Kruizenga Art Museum was an act of extraordinary generosity for which the museum is immensely grateful.”

Selections from the Ihrman collection have been exhibited at other Michigan museums in the past, but this is the first showing of them at the Kruizenga Art Museum. The entire Ihrman collection is accessible through the museum’s collection webpage, accessible via the museum’s website at hope.edu/kam, and will soon be featured on a dedicated website.

The Kruizenga Art Museum functions as an educational resource for Hope College and the greater West Michigan community. The museum features two public galleries as well as a study room and climate-controlled storage space for its 8,000-object permanent collection. It is named in honor of a leadership gift from the late Dr. Richard and Margaret Kruizenga of Holland, both of whom graduated from Hope in 1952.

The Kruizenga Art Museum is located at 271 Columbia Ave., between 10th and 13th streets. Public visiting hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is always free.