Exhibition Dates:  February 7 – March 22, 2015
Art Members’ Opening Reception:  Friday, February 6

MR. MDWST (a truncation of Mister Midwest) is a continuation of the adventures of Beverly Fre$h—a stylized autobiographical character that doubles as an artist persona and stage name for Zack Ostrowski.   Like a postmodern tale of the picaresque, Fre$h has traveled extensively over the last two years on a quest to understand, reconfigure, and interrupt the social constructs and cultural rituals of the rural Midwest.  He created impromptu, site-oriented performances alone and with strangers at carnivals, country fairs, front yards, and back roads, which were recorded for a documentary titled The Outskirts (2014).   This exhibition presents a series of new works inspired by his performative research in the region and features four character tropes he met during his travels: The Badass, The Innocent, The Professional, and The Seeker. 

Zack Ostrowski is a contemporary artist and musician raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently lives and work in Chicago, Illinois.  He has a BFA in Graphic Design/Interactive Media from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA from the 2D Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he was the 2009 recipient of the Daimler AG Emerging Artist Award.  He is an Assistant Professor and Area Head of Graphic Art at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. He has exhibited and performed throughout the United States and internationally, including China, Japan, Peru, Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Germany.

Mr. Mdwst – A Real Good Time by Beverly Fre$H was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design. The exhibition is part of an ongoing series that presents the work of vibrant emerging and mid-career contemporary artists with a special focus on graduates of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Detroit-based artists. Cranbrook Art Museum is supported, in part, by its membership organization, ArtMembers@Cranbrook; the Museum Committee of Cranbrook Art Museum; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

As part of the exhibition, Ostrowski will stage a series of public performances. These performances all take place against and on top of the sculptural stage he has created in the Art Museum.  The performances include:

Friday, February 6 at 6:30pm: Premiere at the ArtMembers’ Opening Reception
Sunday, February 8 at 5pm: Encore performance following a series of afternoon lectures
“MR. MDWST” is a forty-minute performance created from documentation and field notes taken during phase one of “OUTSKIRTS,” an ongoing series of site-oriented performances to understand, reconfigure, and interrupt the social and cultural rituals of the rural Midwest. Building on the tradition of the “one man show,” “MR. MDWST,” aims to both entertain and challenge the audience by drawing from the field of oral tradition and exploring devices that allow cultural material to be transmitted such as songs, jokes, sayings, and stories.

AFTER LAUGHTER Presented by BEVERLY FRE$H, Featuring Lynne West
Sunday, March 1 from 12:30pm-1:30pm
Beverly Fre$h presents “AFTER LAUGHTER” a guided session in Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga) conducted by certified Laughter Yoga Leader Lynne West, “The Mistress of Mirth.” This afternoon workshop will explore the various methods and benefits of prolonged voluntary laughter. There will be no complicated poses, just laughter and a real good time. Comfortable clothing and yoga mat suggested.

LANGUAGE IS A HOUSE Presented by BEVERLY FRE$H, Featuring Bry’n Lambert
Sunday March 1 from 4:30-5pm
“LANGUAGE IS A HOUSE” is an inspirational keynote presentation that wanders the unsteady ground between nightmare and ecstasy. Inspired by Heidegger’s claim that “language is a house in which man dwells,” this program demonstrates how language calls together our basic exigencies and builds a place for us to reside. In this presentation, Beverly Fre$h will introduce Bry’n Lambert, a former reporter who has reinvented himself as a visionary real estate agent. Bry’n will take the audience down his path of reinvention and present some of his latest concepts. This event is open to the public – real estate agents, architects, contractors, and interior designers are especially encouraged to attend.

Note: On March 1, between Ostrowski’s two performances, Cranbrook Art Museum will host the Ann Arbor Film Festival from 2-4pm. 

Ostrowski will also host the following public lecture in deSalle Auditorium:

Sunday, February 8

Using Power Point, a state-of-the-art presentation software designed especially for effective communication, Beverly Fre$h (Zack Ostrowski) will discusses his most recent work including “OUTSKIRTS” and “MR. MDWST.” These works expose audiences to new methods of examination, focusing on the peripheral elements of American culture and the often-marginalized context of the rural Midwest.

Anthony McCall. You and I, Horizontal (2005). Installation view at Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, France, 2006. Photograph by Blaise Adilon. © Anthony McCall. Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York.

Theater of the Mind 
Exhibition Dates:  November 23, 2014 – March 29, 2015

Theater of the Mind sets its scene in the imagination with artworks that conjure time-based dramaturgies that play out in the mind and entice speculative thinking.  The term “theater of the mind” is used to describe a strategy of self-hypnosis in which one visualizes themself as an actor projected on a screen, thereby simultaneously becoming the protagonist and the audience.  Similarly, the artists and designers in the exhibition each have created works that are actualized in the viewer’s imagination and produce narratives that are not tangibly visible, yet lucid and vibrant.

The exhibition includes seminal artworks by Bruce Nauman, Roni Horn, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Anthony McCall, the British design collective Dunne & Raby/Michael Anastassiades, among others.  Theater of the Mind also features new work by Marcelline Delbecq and Adam Lee Miller, as well as an ambitious site-specific commission by Finnish artist Hans Rosenström, who will create an immersive sound installation based on personal and archival research at Cranbrook.

Theater of the Mind was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design.  Cranbrook Art Museum is supported, in part, by its membership organization, ArtMembers@Cranbrook; the Museum Committee of Cranbrook Art Museum; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. 


Bridget Riley, Ch'i-Yün, 1974; Leopardus pardalis (Ocelot), mid-twentieth century; Wharton Esherick, Spiral Three-Step Ladder, 1966; Coracias garrulus (European Roller), early twentieth century; Fluorite crystal; Confronted Najas (Cobras), early twentieth century. Photo by PD Rearick.


The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders: Artworks, Objects, and Natural Curiosities
Exhibition Dates:  November 23, 2014 – March 22, 2015

The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders draws its inspiration from the precursor to the modern museum: the “Cabinet of Curiosities” or “Wunderkammer,” a sixteenth-century collecting and display technique in which art, ornate functional objects, natural oddities, and anthropological discoveries co-existed together as a microcosm of knowledge. This contemporary interpretation is a floor-to-ceiling installation featuring Cranbrook Art Museum’s preeminent collection of artworks, design, and craft objects from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, exhibited alongside cultural properties from Cranbrook’s historic campus, and inspired selections from the vast holdings of Cranbrook Institute of Science. From the sculpture of Claes Oldenburg to antique navigational tools to Arts and Crafts pottery, the Hall of Wonders combines seemingly disparate objects to explore new avenues of display and context, shaping compelling vignettes that—in the spirit of its Renaissance-era predecessors—seek to captivate, provoke, and amaze.

Throughout the duration of the show, invited artists and scholars will create performances or new exhibitions-within-the-exhibition in response to the installation. As part of the series, new contexts will be created with the addition of contemporary artworks of equal fascination, thereby welcoming continuous acts of reconsideration and curiosity within the exhibition. The schedule includes:

Sunday, December 14, 2014, 4pm:  Exhibition by artist Marie T. Hermann (Detroit) and mass-hypnotism performed by artist Marcos Lutyens (Los Angeles)

As part of the "Acts of Curiosity," ceramicist Marie T. Hermann presents a new installation in response to The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders. Her stunning display consists of plaster cast shadows of every object in the exhibition based on a ratio found in Joseph Alber’s Homage to the Square (1967). Her exhibition will remain on display through March 22.

Marie T. Hermann is originally from Copenhagen, Denmark and now works in Detroit. She received an MFA from the Royal College of Art in London. She has exhibited internationally, and her work is represented in numerous collections including the Sèvres Museum in France and the Jingdezhen Ceramics Museum in China.

Artist Marcos Lutyens will conduct a mass hypnotism revolving around The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders exhibition. The performance will turn the viewer into a kind of living collection that undergoes the stages of search and acquisition.

Marcos Lutyens is based in Los Angeles and in Europe. Lutyens has exhibited internationally, including 340 performances at dOCUMENTA(13) as well as with many other institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Royal Academy, the National Art Museum of China, and PS1, New York. Currently he is undertaking a creative role as part of the curatorial team for the 14th Istanbul Biennial.

Thursday, January 29, 2015, 6pm:  Exhibition by designer Jack Craig (Detroit) and lecture on the history of the Wunderkammer by Jennifer Nelson (Ann Arbor), Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Michigan

Friday, February 6, 2015, 6-8pm: Exhibition by sculptor Patrick Hill (Detroit)

Friday, March 6, 2015, 7pm: Performance by dancer Biba Bell (Detroit) with musician Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (New York)

The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders: Artworks, Objects, and Natural Curiosities was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, and Shelley Selim, 2013–2015 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow. The exhibition was designed by Mark Baker, Head Preparator and Exhibition Designer.  Cranbrook Art Museum is supported, in part, by its membership organization, ArtMembers@Cranbrook; the Museum Committee of Cranbrook Art Museum; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Warhol On Vinyl: The Record Covers, 1949-1987+
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.

Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings 790A and 790B: Irregular Alternating Color Bands
Exhibition Dates: Ongoing
Hartmann Gallery

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.


Current Exhibitions