Past Exhibitions

2015 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Exhibition Dates: April 19–May 10, 2015

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The most innovative work from the next generation of architects, artists, and designers will be on display at the 2015 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art. The Degree Exhibition showcases pieces that are the culmination of two years of studio work from a diverse group of 69 graduates as they launch their careers.

The exhibition will fill nearly all of Cranbrook Art Museum’s galleries and surrounding grounds with some of the most innovative art and design work being produced in the nation. It opens to the public on April 19 and will run through May 10, 2015.

50 Years Strong: The Evolution of HUB at Cranbrook

Exhibition Dates: April 25–May 10, 2015

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Horizons-Upward Bound Theme Day, 1971.
Jack Kausch, photographer. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives

Horizons-Upward Bound, known as HUB, has its roots in a partnership with Cranbrook Schools that began in 1965.  Originally named Horizons, it was an experimental summer enrichment program to provide a private school experience on the Cranbrook campus for low-income boys from Detroit.  Funded by a three-year grant from the Ford Foundation, the first class consisted of 52 boys from three junior high schools in Detroit. The following year, Horizons incorporated the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound program and soon was renamed Horizons-Upward Bound.

Over the past fifty years, HUB has evolved into a year-round program which prepares both boys and girls with limited financial opportunities to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.  This exhibition sheds light on the history of the program and its continued affiliation with Cranbrook Schools and highlights key individuals and events that have helped make it the successful legacy it is today including the program’s directors Ben Snyder, Bill Washington, Eddie Green, and current director Darryl Taylor.  Through news clippings, program invitations, brochures and newsletters, student publications, and historic photographs, the exhibition presents a chronological history of the multi-faceted academic enrichment program known as HUB.

50 Years Strong: The Evolution of HUB at Cranbrook 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 the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Towbes Foundation of Santa Barbara, California, and many generous individual donors.

MR. MDWST – A REAL GOOD TIME by BEVERLY FRE$H

Exhibition Dates: February 7–March 22, 2015

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Beverly Fre$h, The Outskirts (video still), 2014. Courtesy of the Artist

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.

The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders: Artworks, Objects, and Natural Curiosities

Exhibition Dates: November 23, 2014–March 22, 2015

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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 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.

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.

Cranbrook Goes to the Movies: Films and Their Objects, 1925-1975

Exhibition Dates: June 21, 2014–March 22, 2015

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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 Moviesprovides 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.

Theater of the Mind

Exhibition Dates: November 23, 2014–March 15, 2015

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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 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.

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

Exhibition Dates: June 21, 2014–March 15, 2015

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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.

Iris Eichenberg: Bend

Exhibition Dates: November 23, 2014–January 25, 2015

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Iris Eichenberg, Bend Installation detail, 2014 Steel, 7 feet.
Courtesy of the Artist

Bend is a solo exhibition by contemporary jewelry artist Iris Eichenberg, Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Metalsmithing Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art.  As a point of departure, Eichenberg revisited her artistic practice, which is renowned for its diverse collections and challenges to the definitions of craft and jewelry; the result is an unconventional retrospective of her twenty-five-year career told through a body of new work. Decades in the making, this exhibition is an introspective look at the alchemic process of creation and the artist’s life-long research into the behavior of materials.

The exhibition’s title, Bend, speaks to the language of the body and the artist’s material choices—gold, brass, rusted steel, textile, and mirrored glass—as well as Eichenberg’s circuitous path as a jewelry artist.   Eichenberg has described her process as “drawing in materials” and for this exhibition she has sketched on a more monumental scale.  The exhibition features life-size enlargements of work the artist previously executed though the jewelry-making process, thereby becoming sculptural anomalies that enact the body and ornament at the same time.

Kinetic sensibilities and movement is integral to the work.  While some objects literally expand and collapse with the assistance of rotating motors, others simply anticipate action like a musical instrument without its sound.  Every object she creates denotes the action of a verb similar to the way the body is not understood until it moves: an elbow, for instance, is a thing but its ‘elbowness’ is dependent on its ability to bend.  Eichenberg’s years of experimentation with heat, gravity, malleability, and surface inform these character studies of materials and create portraits of both their potential and limits, while at the same time expanding our understanding of their relationship to the human form and temperament.

Iris Eichenberg graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where she later became head of the Jewelry Department.  Since 2007, she has been the Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Metalsmithing Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art.  Her work is represented in numerous national and international museum collections including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Schmuck Museum in Pforzheim, Germany; the Fondation National d’Art Contemporain in Paris; The Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden; the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina; and the Rotasa Foundation in Mill Valley, California.

Iris Eichenberg: Bend 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.

Lauren Kalman: Coveted Objects

Exhibition Dates: September 13–October 19, 2014

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Lauren Kalman, Composition with Ornament and Object (19). 2014. Inkjet print. 20 x 16"

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.

Organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Curator of Contemporary Art and Design Laura Mott.

Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism

Exhibition Dates: June 21–October 12, 2014

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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.

Culture Breakers: The Living Structures of Ken Isaacs

Exhibition Dates: June 21–October 5, 2014

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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.

Download a copy of the Ken Isaacs gallery guide here.

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.

Modern / Moderna: Amie Siegel and Terence Gower

Exhibition Dates: June 21–August 31, 2014

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Witness an exploration of Modernism through the examination of two contemporary artworks: Amie Siegel’s The Modernists, a reassembled personal archive of found travel photographs and film footage of an unknown couple during the 1960s-80s; and Terence Gower’s Ciudad Moderna, a re-imagining of a popular 1966 Mexican film where the architecture is presented as the protagonist.

Organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Curator of Contemporary Art and Design Laura Mott.

2014 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Exhibition Dates: April 22–May 11, 2014

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The 2014 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art opens to the public on April 22, and will showcase work from the next generation of architects, artists and designers who are shaping the future of art and design. The exhibition features pieces that are the culmination of two years of studio work from a diverse group of 75 graduates.

Visitors can see installations such as an outdoor chandelier composed entirely of small bags of water, participate in an interactive virtual video work based on their movements in the gallery and experience a self-activated mechanical arm that brings speakers directly to the listener.

The exhibition will fill the entire 15,000 square feet of Cranbrook Art Museum and surrounding grounds. It is the most diverse exhibition offered all year as it showcases work from across all of the Academy’s 10 departments – 2D and 3D Design, Architecture, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture.

My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process

Exhibition Dates: November 16, 2013–March 30, 2014

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Tony Orrico. Photo by Bill E. Meyers. Courtesy of the artist and UB Art Gallery.

My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process is an original exhibition debuting at Cranbrook Art Museum that brings together 22 artists from around the world to redefine the notion of drawing as a thinking process in the arts and sciences alike. Sketches on paper are the first materialized traces of an idea, but they are also an instrument that makes a meandering thought concrete.

Inspired by the accompanying exhibition The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot, the exhibition uses multiple sources to show how drawings reveal the interdependency of mark making and thinking. It brings together artists and scientists, basketball coaches and skateboarders, biologists and Native American Indians to show how tracing lines is a prerequisite for all mental activity.

Featured artists include David Bowen, John Cage, Stanley A. Cain, Oron Catts, Benjamin Forster, Front Design, Nikolaus Gansterer, legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson, Patricia Johanson, Sol LeWitt, Mark Lombardi, Tony Orrico, Tristan Perich, Robin Rhode, Eero Saarinen, Ruth Adler Schnee, Carolee Schneemann, Chemi Rosado Seijo, Corrie Van Sice, Jorinde Voigt, Ionat Zurr, and many more. It will also integrate work from the collections of Cranbrook Institute of Science and the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

The title of the exhibition derives from a quotation by American philosopher, mathematician and scientist Charles Sanders Peirce, whose work involving the over- and under-laying of mathematical formulas with pictographic drawings will be presented for the first time.

Organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by independent curator Nina Samuel. Nina Samuel is a German art and science historian based in New York and Berlin. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue, published by Cranbrook Art Museum, and designed by Cranbrook Academy of Art Artist-in-Residence Elliott Earls.

The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking

Exhibition Dates: November 16, 2013–March 30, 2014

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Benoît Mandelbrot. Scribbled arrows showing the technique of magnifications of details. Computer-generated prints with scribbles. Collection Aliette Mandelbrot.

Focusing primarily on the work of Benoît Mandelbrot (1924–2010), one of the most notable mathematicians of the twentieth century, this exhibition explores the role of images in scientific thinking. With their capacity to generate and shape knowledge, images are at the very core of scientific investigation: charts, graphs, notebooks, instrument readings, technological representations, even mental abstractions–all make up the essential stuff of which ideas are made.

Featuring works on paper, photographs, objects, and films, the exhibition gives viewers a chance to take an inside look at the role images played in the making of the new world of scientific thought that became popularly known as fractal geometry and chaos theory, as exemplified in Benoît Mandelbrot’s Fractal Geometry of Nature (1982).

The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot is accompanied by a catalogue published by Yale University Press.

This exhibition has been organized by the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, New York, and curated by Nina Samuel.

A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car

Exhibition Dates: June 14, 2013–March 30, 2014

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A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car explores the ways in which Cranbrook has played a role in the automobile industry since the start of the twentieth century. Looking at figures such as automobile designer James Scripps Booth and Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate Suzanne Vanderbilt, the exhibition highlights how Cranbrook has helped to define the ultimate symbol of modern America: the car.

A Driving Force was 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.

Waylande Gregory: Art Deco Ceramics and the Atomic Impulse

Exhibition Dates: November 16, 2013–March 23, 2014

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Waylande Gregory, Water, 1938, from the Fountain of the Atom, New York World’s Fair, 1939. Collection of Cranbrook Art Museum, partial gift of Patricia Shaw. Photography by R. H. Hensleigh and Tim Thayer.

Waylande Gregory (1905-1971) redefined American ceramics in the 1930s and 1940s, creating monumental ceramic sculptures and helping to shape Art Deco design in the United States. Featuring over 60 works by the artist, Waylande Gregory: Art Deco Ceramics and the Atomic Impulse highlights Gregory’s role as the chief designer and lead sculptor at Cowan Pottery from 1928 to 1932, his brief but influential tenure as Resident Ceramic Sculptor at Cranbrook’s Arts and Crafts Studios (the earliest iteration of Cranbrook Academy of Art), and his work with the Works Progress Administration, an experience that served as the foundation for his groundbreaking Fountain of the Atom at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

With artwork from every stage of his career, the exhibition reunites sculptural pieces from the Fountain of the Atom, including Cranbrook Art Museum’s own Water sculpture. The staging of Waylande Gregory: Art Deco Ceramics at Cranbrook will include objects and archival material unique to Cranbrook and Gregory’s time at the institution.

Waylande Gregory: Art Deco Ceramics and the Atomic Impulse was organized and circulated by the University of Richmond Museums, Virginia, and curated by independent ceramics scholar Dr. Thomas C. Folk. Support for the presentation of the exhibition at Cranbrook has been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Stogniew, an anonymous donor, Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan J. Belding, Mr. Francis J. Brady, Dr. Thomas C. Folk, Mr. Gerald Maschino and Mrs. Shirley Wynne Maschino, and Richard Rossello Fine Arts Advisory Services, Inc. The exhibition is accompanied by a new monograph on the work of Waylande Gregory, which is available for purchase at Cranbrook Art Museum.

What to Paint and Why: Modern Painters at Cranbrook, 1936 – 1974

Exhibition Dates: June 14, 2013–March 16, 2014

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Wallace Mitchell, Double Pennants, 1949, casein on watercolor board, 20 1/8 x 27 3/8 inches.
Gift of Joan and LeRoy Bence

At Cranbrook Academy of Art, fundamental questions about painting emerged during the midcentury through the productive tension between the styles of its early painting instructors: Zoltan Sepeshy, a figurative painter, and Wallace Mitchell, an abstractionist. This exhibition mines the dynamic contrast between these two foundational figures in Cranbrook’s history, tracing the effects of their legacy through their own work and that of their students—several of whom went on to careers of national renown.

What to Paint and Why was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Chad Alligood, 2012-2013 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow. The exhibition is sponsored, in part, by The Clannad Foundation. The accompanying catalog is sponsored by Joan and Roy Bence; Sheri and Jonathan Boos; Jeffrey and Holly Mitchell; and Reuel Ruder, Rhine Ruder, and Rhea and Jim Sleeman.  

From the Archives: Forging Cranbrook’s Gatescape

Exhibition Dates: October 5, 2013–March 16, 2014

Cranbrook has a rich history of gate design and fabrication, beginning with George Booth’s 19th-century work as a designer for Barnum Wire & Iron Works in Windsor, Ontario.

From peripheral entrance gates to interior ornamental gates executed in wood, wrought iron, cast iron and steel, over 80 gates have been installed on the campus. These gates—Cranbrook’s “gatescape”—are the focus of the second exhibition in the From the Archives series.

Forging Cranbrook’s Gatescape presents the historical and contemporary uses of gates, and explores the relationship between designer and fabricator, and how the gates of Cranbrook define space and create a visual bridge between the visitor and the architecture.
For more information, please click here.

Anders Ruhwald at Saarinen House: The Anatomy of a Home

Exhibition Dates: May 1–October 31, 2013

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For his first solo exhibition in Michigan, Danish ceramist Anders Ruhwald will present a series of “site-sensitive” installations in Saarinen House, the “total work of art” designed by the Finnish American architect Eliel Saarinen in 1930. Saarinen House, which Cranbrook Art Museum operates as a historic house museum, will provide the ideal backdrop for Ruhwald’s continued investigations into the nature of Modernism—specifically Scandinavian Modernism—and will serve to heighten the dialogue that his work promotes within the overlapping fields of art, craft, and design. Ruhwald serves as an Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Ceramics Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Although Ruhwald has presented other site-sensitive installations in Europe, his interventions into the domestic spaces of Saarinen House, from the iconic dining room to the private rear courtyard, will allow the artist to fully explore Modernism’s construction of the everyday, and what happens to that ideal when it is frozen in time in the fictive environment of a house museum. The exhibition will only be accessible through Cranbrook’s campus tour program, which necessarily means the experience will be mediated by an Art Museum staff member or a volunteer docent—further underlining the tension between the reconstructed historic environment and Ruhwald’s intervention.

The installation will also explore the interpersonal relationships of the Saarinen family, including the father-son dynamic of Eliel and Eero and the link between the two provided by the work of Alvar Aalto.

A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition, which is organized as a collaboration between Cranbrook Art Museum and the new Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

Anders Ruhwald at Saarinen House was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum in association with the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and curated by Art Museum and Center Director Gregory Wittkopp. The accompanying catalog is sponsored by Jeanne and Ralph Graham and Danish Crafts. Cranbrook Art Museum receives funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.  

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America

Exhibition Dates: June 14–October 13, 2013
(Upper Galleries)

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In Michigan, industry and design intertwined creating an epicenter of modern design. Michigan’s visionaries touched nearly every aspect of American life. Detroit’s automobile manufacturers didn’t just produce automobiles; they styled them to become synonymous with the American dream. The state’s furniture manufacturers didn’t just manufacture furniture; they revolutionized the look of the American office and home. Michigan architects Albert Kahn, Eero Saarinen, and Minoru Yamasaki didn’t just design buildings; they defined an era.

Michigan’s industry, prosperity, and educational institutions created a synergy that attracted the design talent that formed the foundation for modern American design. This exhibition celebrates Michigan’s outstanding contributions to Modern design and the stories of the people who made it happen. For more information about the Michigan Modern project, click here.

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America is organized by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office in association with Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by MPdL Studio. A symposium celebratingMichigan Modern will be held at Cranbrook, June 13-16, 2013.

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America is supported by the State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Kresge Foundation, Cranbrook Art Museum and Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, the McGregor Fund, Herman Miller, Eleanor & Edsel Ford House, Knoll, Robert W. Daverman, AIA, the Detroit Art Deco Society, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and the Michigan History Foundation.

From the Archives: Teaching and Exhibiting Painting at Cranbrook, 1930-1970

Exhibition Dates: June 14–September 29, 2013

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The Cranbrook Academy of Art painting department was instrumental in shaping the artistic lives of hundreds of students through graduate student studio work, public exhibitions, and youth programs. Drawing entirely from the collections of the Cranbrook Archives, this exhibition is comprised of selections of historic photographs, exhibition announcements and catalogs, press releases, and artists’ correspondence. Highlights include the role Cranbrook painters played in the New Deal arts programs in the 1930s and 1940s, creating numerous murals for public buildings throughout Michigan.

Teaching and Exhibiting Painting at Cranbrook 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

2013 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Exhibition Dates: April 21–May 12, 2013
(Upper , Lower Galleries and Cranbrook Art Museum Ground)

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What happens when emerging architects, artists, and designers get together and throw themselves a party? Find out at the “2013 Graduate Degree Exhibition,” one of the largest and most exciting exhibitions of art and design in the country, opening on April 21 at Cranbrook Art Museum.

The annual Degree Show of Cranbrook Academy of Art is the culmination of two years of studio work at the nation’s top-ranked independent graduate school of architecture, art and design. This is the same show that launched the careers of Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Massamichi Udagawa, Anne Wilson, Hani Rashid, Nick Cave, Tony Matelli, Ed Fella, Lorraine Wild, Martin Venezky, Beth Katleman, Sonya Clark, and many more.

The exhibition takes place in almost 15,000 square feet of galleries at Cranbrook’s historic Eliel Saarinen designed Art Museum. The Museum has recently undergone a $22 million renovation and expansion that is creating one of the most significant exhibition and research facilities in the United States.

From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America

Exhibition Dates: November 17, 2012–March 30, 2013

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Within the wanderlust embodied in Alec Soth’s photographs is an impulse to uncover narratives that comprise the American experience. “From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America,” organized by the Minneapolis-based Walker Art Center, will open at Cranbrook Art Museum November 17, 2012, and run through March 30, 2013. It is the first major U.S. survey to explore the past 15 years of work by one of the most compelling voices in contemporary photography. While Soth’s practice has taken him throughout the world, the Cranbrook exhibition focuses specifically on his pictures made in the United States.

Featuring over 100 photographs, the presentation includes early black-and-white images of Minneapolis working-class taverns, as well as examples from his well-known series Sleeping by the Mississippi, NIAGARA,Fashion Magazine, The Last Days of W, Soth’s major new series, Broken Manual, as well as other bodies of work not exhibited until now. Soth will also debut a new body of work at Cranbrook that will be the result of a “road trip” the artist will be taking across Michigan in the weeks leading up to the presidential election in November.

Soth’s distinct perspective is one in which the act of wandering, the method of embracing serendipity when seeking out his subjects, and the process of telling are as resonant as the photographic record of his remarkable encounters. When considered together, these pictures probe the idiosyncrasies of people, objects and places he discovers on his journeys, and form an offbeat and absorbing portrait of the American experience.

“From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America” is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and made possible by generous support from Carol and Judson Bemis, Jr., Marilyn and Larry Fields, Linda and Lawrence Perlman, and Geri and Dar Reedy.

Vision and Interpretation: Building Cranbrook, 1904–2012

Exhibition Dates: June 16, 2012–March 24, 2013

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“Vision and Interpretation: Building Cranbrook, 1904-2012″ presents the architectural legacy of Cranbrook as an artistic narrative emerging from the visionary ideas of George Gough Booth. During the early 1900s, Booth’s vision was realized through collaborations with renowned architects and craftsmen, including Albert Kahn and Eliel Saarinen. More recently, the campus has been interpreted by contemporary designers offering contrasting and complementary projects on the National Historic Landmark site. “Vision and Interpretation” is a collaboration between Cranbrook Art Museum and Cranbrook Archives.

Soo Sunny Park: Vapor Slide

Exhibition Dates: November 17, 2012–March 17, 2013

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Also opening on November 17, 2012 and running through Sunday, March 17, 2013 is sculptor Soo Sunny Park’s large-scale installation SSVT (South Stafford, Vermont) Vapor Slide (2007). The exhibit combines quotidian materials – chain link fence, plastic cups, paper clips, river rocks – in imaginative ways, crafting a dazzling environment of ethereal light and space.

Park, a 2000 alumna of Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Sculpture Department, created the work in response to the undulating, snowy hills of South Strafford, Vermont. The installation uses chain link fence, a conventional boundary demarcation, to fashion a space through which viewers move rather than as a method of impeding access. In doing so, SSVT (South Strafford, Vermont) Vapor Slide becomes a spellbinding meditation on the interstitial spaces we encounter every day and the myriad possibilities hidden within.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Soo Sunny Park moved to the United States of the age of eleven and grew up in Georgia and Florida. Before studying at Cranbrook, she received her BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. She currently is a Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College and is preparing for a retrospective that will open at Rice University in Texas in April 2013, immediately after her installation closes at Cranbrook.

George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher

Exhibition Dates: June 16–October 14, 2012

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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.

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2012 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Exhibition Dates: April 21–May 13, 2012

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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.

Material Workshop Cranbrook for Alessi

Exhibition Dates: March 3–March 25, 2012
Archives Reading Room (lower level gallery of Cranbrook Art Museum)

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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.

Alessi

No Object is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection

Exhibition Dates: November 11, 2011–March 25, 2012

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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.