The arts in Grand Rapids just keep getting better.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum announced Wednesday that they have entered into a partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City that promises to bring some of the finest American art to West Michigan.

My friend Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk of the Grand Rapids Press/Mlive, reports the three-year partnership will give Grand Rapids art lovers a taste of one of the world’s greatest collections of art with work by Jasper Johns, Andrew Wyeth and Andy Warhol.

It always takes local connections to pull something like this off and ours is Pamella DeVos, an Honorary Life Trustee of the Grand Rapids Art Museum who also serves as a Trustee on the board of the Whitney Museum.  She brought the two institutions together.

The Whitney Museum of American Art, the world’s leading museum of 20th century and contemporary art in the United States, features work of living artists.  The Whitney was founded by sculptor and arts patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, and has over 19,000 works by more than 2,900 artists in its collection in its current home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Robert Rauschenberg’s “Synapsis Shuffle,” which has been exhibited in only two other cities in the world—New York and Paris—is the first to arrive in Grand Rapids.

The exhibition consists of 52 large-scale panels, each a collage of images taken from photographs the artist took during his global travels. The title of the work and the number of paintings refer to a deck of cards, a signal of the work's installation method.

Stay tuned because the excitement continues.  There will be many more exhibitions from the Whitney to come.  They're known for the huge Edward Hopper collection so I'm sure part of that exhibition will be in Grand Rapids before you know it.