George Nelson:
Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher

Saturday, June 16 Through Sunday, October 14, 2012

George Nelson is considered one of the most influential figures in American design during the second half of the twentieth century. Operating from the western side of Michigan as Design Director at the Zeeland-based furniture manufacturer Herman Miller for more than twenty years, Nelson had his sights firmly focused on Cranbrook, which was also playing a defining role in the development of Modernism.

Organized by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, George Nelson: Architect/ Writer/ Designer Teacher is the first comprehensive retrospective of Nelson’s work. It has been touring in Europe and most recently in the United States at the Bellevue Art Museum in Seattle. Cranbrook is the final stop in the US tour and the last opportunity to see this major exhibition before the work returns to Germany.

More than 120 three-dimensional objects including examples of chairs, benches, desks, cabinets, lamps, and clocks, as well as over 50 historical documents, such as drawings, photographs, architectural models, and films, form the core of the exhibition. Nelson was responsible for the production of numerous furnishings and interior designs that became modern classics, including the Coconut Chair (1956), the Marshmallow Sofa (1956), the Ball Clock (1947), the Bubble Lamps (1952 onwards).

George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher is an exhibition of the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany. The American tour of the exhibition has been generously sponsored by Herman Miller. Herman Miller also is the presenting sponsor of the exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum. Additional support for the exhibition at Cranbrook is provided by the Alden B. Dow Home & Studio. Promotion of the exhibition is supported by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.


2012 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Saturday April 21 Through Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cranbrook Academy of Art is delighted to present its annual exhibition of work by the 2012 class of Masters of Fine Arts and Masters of Architecture students in the newly renovated galleries of Cranbrook Art Museum. The Academy’s program is interdisciplinary in orientation, representing the crossing and merging of mediums as well as the investigation and use of content from diverse areas of thought. The exhibition of these 79 emerging artists reflects the culmination of their time spent at the Academy and ranges from painting and sculpture to video, photography and installation.


No Object is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection
November 11, 2011 - March 25, 2012

No Object is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection is the provocative exhibition that will reopen the expanded and renovated Cranbrook Art Museum at Cranbrook Academy of Art on November 11, 2011. Inside and around the landmark building, designed by renowned Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, the exhibition will pair the work of 50 leading contemporary artists and designers with an equal number of objects from Cranbrook's outstanding permanent collection of 20th- and 21st-century art and design. Visitors will discover a Nick Cave Soundsuit side-by-side with a tapestry by Arts and Crafts master May Morris. A conceptual partnership that Maarten Baas projects between himself and Marc Newson meets a very real early collaboration of Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames. And Whitney Biennalist Tony Mattelli's hyperrealist sculpture, The Hunter, faces off with one of fellow sculptor Kate Clark's ravishing taxidermy beasts with a human face. For the full release please click here.



Material Workshop
Cranbrook for Alessi
March 3 - 25, 2012

Archives Reading Room (lower level gallery of Cranbrook Art Museum)

The exhibition "Cranbrook for Alessi," features prototypes created in a collaborative workshop initiated by the Italian design factory Alessi at Cranbrook Academy of Art. The 2009 workshop brought together artists and designers from the Academy’s Metalsmithing and 3D Design departments for a week of open-ended explorations of metal forms and techniques. The resulting prototypes are a mix of material studies, product proposals, and pre-production samples that demonstrate both the hands-on craft and cutting-edge design work. Alessi has approved four designs for the consumer market which will be launched in the latter half of 2012.

Workshop Leaders: Iris Eichenberg, Artist-in-Residence, Metalsmithing Department and Scott Klinker, Designer-in-Residence, 3D Design Department

Workshop Participants: Suzanne Beautyman, Richard Elaver, Patrick Gavin, Katie MacDonald, Jonathan Muecke, Seth Papac, Maria Phillips, David Schafer, Adam Shirley, and John Truex.

Special thanks to Alberto Alessi, Gloria Barcellini, and the entire Alessi team, as well as Quality Metal Craft of Livonia, Michigan for supporting this exhibition and workshop.

Past Exhibitions