Lauren Kalman: Coveted Objects
Exhibition Dates: September 13 – October 19, 2014
Coveted Objects, the first solo exhibition in Michigan by the Detroit-based artist and metalsmith Lauren Kalman, explores issues of taste and desire that inform our sensibilities towards the body and design objects. The exhibition consists of a selection of photographs and props used in staged vignettes featuring painted-gold bodies that contort, shape, and interact with Modernist furniture. In most of the images, Kalman undertakes these physical feats herself, drawing attention to the objectification of the female body and its relationship to the patriarchal lineage of Modernism. By positioning both the figures and objects within this context, the artist questions our constructs of beauty and the ideologies that underlie our contemporary built environment.
The works in Coveted Objects are from Kalman’s most recent series titled If The Crime is Beautiful…. The project is derived from the Viennese architect Adolf Loos’s infamous lecture Ornament and Crime from 1910, in which he proposed that ornamentation is an indication of a primitive and regressive society. His philosophy advocating the simplification of form and absence of decoration influenced the Modernist movements in art, design, and architecture—an aesthetic Kalman approaches with both critique and admiration.
Lauren Kalman received her MFA in Art and Technology from Ohio State University and a BFA with a focus in Metals from the Massachusetts College of Art. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The exhibition is part of an ongoing series curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, which presents the work of vibrant emerging and mid-career contemporary artists with a special focus on Detroit-based artists and graduates from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
This first comprehensive survey of Paul Evans's work, this exhibition will document Evans's role in the midcentury American studio furniture movement, his approach to furniture as sculpture and abstract composition, and his unremitting new approaches to metal. Opening earlier this year at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and then traveling to Cranbrook Art Museum—the only other venue for the exhibition—Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism will be comprised of some sixty-eight works, spanning the artist's entire career. It includes choice examples of Evans's early metalwork and jewelry, collaborative pieces made by Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell during the fifties when they shared a studio, as well as a comprehensive selection of Evans's studio work representing his sculpted steel; verdigris copper; copper, bronze and pewter; argenté sculpted bronze, and cityscape techniques. The show will also include examples of Evans's sculpture as well as a selection of work he produced for Directional Furniture Company. The presentation at Cranbrook Art Museum will include work by Evans’s contemporaries selected from Cranbrook’s permanent collection, including the celebrated Shuey Collection, placing his pioneering designs for furniture with the context of concurrent trends in midcentury art and design.
Paul Evans studied Metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1952 and 1953, working with Artist-in-Residence Richard Thomas.
For an interview with architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien on Paul Evans, please click here.
Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism was organized by the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and curated by Constance Kimmerle. The presentation at Cranbrook is supported, in part, by the David Klein and Kathryn Ostrove Exhibition Fund.
Warhol On Vinyl: The Record Covers, 1949-1987+
ArtMembers' Opening Reception: Friday, June 20, 2014
Public Exhibition Dates: June 21, 2014 – March 15, 2015
Andy Warhol envisioned the record cover as a means to popularize his name as an artist and, once he reached iconic status in the 1960s, used it to directly impact popular culture. Designed to be collected by the masses, the records—numbering more than fifty— reinforce his maxim “repetition adds up to reputation.” While only a fortunate few own a Warhol painting, millions own his design for Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers.
The exhibition is drawn from the Cranbrook Art Museum’s preeminent collection of record covers by Andy Warhol, a recent gift by Frank M. Edwards and Ann M. Williams, and premieres three recently discovered covers that have never before been exhibited, including a cover recently discovered last year. Cranbrook has also been loaned a copy of the one-of-a-kind "Night Beat" album cover, making this the most comprehensive exhibition of authenticated record covers to date. The album covers range from the extremely rare to the widely recognizable; together they offer a unique lens to survey the artist’s career from a young graphic designer to a cultural phenomenon. At the same time, the exhibition documents the history of the mass-produced vinyl record and the zeitgeist of these eras through the inclusion of music, video and artworks from the Art Museum’s extensive Andy Warhol collection. Listening booths in the gallery will allow viewers to play select albums, thereby producing an experience between the cover art and the music—rock, classical, opera, jazz, soul, experimental—the way Warhol intended. The exhibition also includes album covers by other musicians that have controversially appropriated Warhol’s imagery and testify to his influence on subsequent generations.
The world-premiere presentation of Warhol on Vinyl: The Record Covers, 1949 – 1987+ was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Curator of Contemporary Art and Design Laura Mott. The exhibition is sponsored by the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Exhibition Fund and the Clannad Foundation.
Culture Breakers: The Living Structures of Ken Isaacs
ArtMembers' Opening Reception: Friday, June 20, 2014
Public Exhibition Dates: June 21 – October 5, 2014
Throughout a career spanning over half a century, former Cranbrook Academy of Art student and instructor Ken Isaacs (b. 1927) radically deconstructed conventional notions of modernism. His Living Structures—hand-made, low-cost, multifunctional furniture and architectural units—challenged ideas of how people could sit, work, and live within their own homes and the broader built environment. Culture Breakers: The Living Structures of Ken Isaacs highlights Isaacs’s time in the 1950s at Cranbrook as both student and head of the Design Department, his experimentations as an educator with environmental learning, and his role within the countercultural community of the 1960s and 1970s, when he gained wider recognition for his populist approach to design.
Featuring works on paper, photographs, film, architectural models, and several reproduced Living Structures—including his earliest configuration which was presented at the 1954 Cranbrook Academy of Art Graduate Degree show—this exhibition examines Isaacs’s role as a nonconformist who created simple, economical, functional systems of living that could be built by anyone. By spreading his designs through mass-instruction instead of mass-production, Isaacs encouraged a do-it-yourself outlook that empowered consumers through the act of making.
Organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Shelley Selim, Cranbrook Art Museum's 2013-2015 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow. Photo © John G. Zimmerman Archive www.johngzimmerman.com.
Download a copy of the Ken Isaacs gallery guide here.
Cranbrook Goes to the Movies: Films and Their Objects, 1925-1975
ArtMembers' Opening Reception: Friday, June 20, 2014
Public Exhibition Dates: June 21, 2014 – November 30, 2014
Cranbrook and the camera grew up together. In the 1920s, as George and Ellen Booth were realizing their dream of a community dedicated to art, science, and education, amateur filmmaking flourished as a newly affordable hobby. These two historical trajectories—that of an educational community and of a medium that has shaped the cultural experience of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—intersect in Cranbrook Goes to the Movies.
The vintage films featured in this exhibition bring the diverse history of Cranbrook’s campus alive in a way never before experienced; through the actual people and objects that populated it. Archival film can feel distant, a relic of days past, and historic objects are too often divorced from their time period and their context. Cranbrook Goes to the Movies reunites the material with the ephemeral, giving physical presence to the vintage films that document life at Cranbrook and placing some of Cranbrook’s treasures in their historic context. An immersive experience, Cranbrook Goes to the Movies provides an avenue into Cranbrook’s past built not on dry text and static images but on the vitality and movements of the people who lived it.
Cranbrook Goes to the Movies: Films and Their Objects, 1925-1975 is organized by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and curated by the Center’s 2012-2014 Collections Fellow Shoshana Resnikoff. The Center, which includes Cranbrook Archives, is supported, in part, by its Charter Patrons, the Towbes Foundation of Santa Barbara, California, and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.
Often referred to as the transient evidence of everyday life, ephemera is primary source material that spans the entire range of printing and social history, offering direct evidence of our cultural, social, industrial, and technological histories. Because the Cranbrook Archives’ collection of ephemera is so rich and varied, this exhibition focuses on ephemera that illustrates Cranbrook’s social life during the 20th century.
Ranging from printed matter for theatrical productions, family and alumni reunions, and school athletic events, to lecture series and science and art museum exhibitions, these documents present a visually compelling story of the way in which the Cranbrook community has represented its preoccupations, cultural perceptions, and identity over the past century. This is the first of several exhibitions that will feature ephemera from the collections of the Cranbrook Archives.
Ephemera: Fragments that Document Cranbrook’s Social Life was organized by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and curated by Head Archivist Leslie S. Edwards. The Center, which includes Cranbrook Archives, is supported, in part, by its Charter Patrons, the Towbes Foundation of Santa Barbara, California, and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.
Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings 790A and 790B: Irregular Alternating Color Bands
Exhibition Dates: Through October 12, 2014
Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawings 790A and 790B: Irregular Alternating Color Bands (1995) fill the Hartmann Gallery with serpentine bands of bold color applied directly to the wall. A pioneer of Conceptual Art, LeWitt conceived his wall drawings as a medium through which he could explore the concept of serial permutation while mining the tension between art and architecture. Wall Drawings 790A and 790B, like most of LeWitt’s wall drawings, exist only for the duration of the exhibition before being destroyed, privileging the conception of the work over its physical manifestation and demonstrating the artist’s dictum that “The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” Still, the physical form of the work retains an undeniable beauty: LeWitt’s sinuous line and fulsome color together serve as an arresting counterpoint to Eliel Saarinen’s airy interior space.