Bent, Cast & Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia
Exhibition Dates: March 14 – November 29, 2015
Art Members’ Opening Reception: Friday, March 13, 2015
In commemoration of the centennial of the artist’s birth, Bent, Cast & Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia is the first museum exhibition devoted to Harry Bertoia’s designs for jewelry. The former Cranbrook Academy of Art student and metalsmithing instructor has received international acclaim for his metal furniture and sculpture, but his exploration of the medium originated in jewelry design while still a high school student in Detroit. Out of the hundreds of jewelry pieces attributed to Bertoia, the majority was produced during his years at Cranbrook, and this display of over thirty works offers an early glimpse of a creative vision that would crystallize as his career matured. Additionally, several early monotype prints are featured to illustrate how the artist harnessed the same intuitive and experimental approach to making in his planographic compositions. The objects in this exhibition highlight Bertoia’s investigations of form, dimension, and material on a concentrated and bankable scale—establishing him as a pioneer of the American Studio Jewelry movement and a master of elevating fashionable adornment to objets d’art.
The exhibition will open with an exclusive ArtMembers’ reception on March 13, from 6-8pm, featuring a lecture from Celia Bertoia, Harry Bertoia’s youngest daughter and director of the Harry Bertoia Foundation. Memberships will be available for purchase at the door that evening at half-price.
Bent, Cast & Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Shelley Selim, the Art Museum’s 2013-2015 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow. The exhibition is sponsored, in part, by Wright Auction House, Kim and Al Eiber, and the David Klein and Kate Ostrove Exhibition Fund. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue published by Cranbrook Art Museum.
Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings 790A and 790B: Irregular Alternating Color Bands
Exhibition Dates: Ongoing
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.