Cranbrook Art Museum Announces New Exhibition Series: The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders, Theater of the Mind, and Iris Eichenberg: Bend

November exhibitionsBLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Oct. 29, 2014 – Cranbrook Art Museum announces an ambitious new series of exhibitions today, designed to captivate the imagination, showcase the depth of the collections on Cranbrook’s campus, and highlight the pioneering work of Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Metalsmithing Artist-in-Residence.

The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders: Artworks, Objects, and Natural Curiosities draws its inspiration from sixteenth-century “Cabinet of Curiosities” or “Wunderkammers,” and will showcase art, natural oddities, and anthropological discoveries side-by-side – pulling items from the collections of both the Art Museum and Institute of Science. Theater of the Mind focuses on the imagination of the audience, with light and sound installations accompanying artworks from a broad range of artists, including Hans Rosenström, Anthony McCall, Bruce Nauman, Roni Horn, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and others. And Iris Eichenberg: Bend is Cranbrook Art Museum’s first solo exhibition featuring Cranbrook Academy of Art Metalsmithing Artist-in-Residence, Iris Eichenberg, and is a new body of work inspired by her 25-year career as a contemporary jewelry artist.

“The three exhibitions at Cranbrook Art Museum present a dynamic spectrum of artwork, design, and objects,” says Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design. “The Museum’s offerings range in date from newly-commissioned contemporary artwork to centuries-old natural objects. Together, the exhibitions allow for experiences of discovery and rediscovery, and delight for the senses and the imagination.”

The ArtMembers’ Opening Reception for all exhibitions is Saturday, November 22, from 6-8:30pm. Iris Eichenberg will deliver an exhibition introduction at 6pm, followed by exhibition previews with the curators and artists from 6:30-7:30pm. A celebration with live music will follow from 7:30-8:30pm. The general public will be able to attend the opening by purchasing a membership, which will be discounted by 50 percent that evening. The exhibitions open to the public on Sunday, November 23, and include a special lecture at 1pm by Hans Rosenström, who is unveiling new work in the Theater of the Mind exhibition created especially for Cranbrook.

Hall of WondersThe Cranbrook Hall of Wonders: Artworks, Objects, and Natural Curiosities
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; from Arts and Crafts pottery to taxidermied animals, The Cranbrook 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 exhibition will be accompanied by the Acts of Curiosity: Exhibition and Performance Series, a monthly program of events in which invited contemporary artists and scholars will respond to the installation with performances or “exhibitions-within-the-exhibition,” placing objects in unexpected new contexts with their own items of equal fascination. 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)

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. 

Theater of the MindTheater of the Mind
November 23, 2014 – March 29, 2015

Theater of the Mind is an exhibition that focuses on the imagination of the audience. 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, and design collective Dunne & Raby/Michael Anastassiades. Theater of the Mind also features new work by Marcelline Delbecq, Detroit-based artist Adam Lee Miller, and 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. Hans Rosenström’s installation is supported, in part, through grants from the Finlandia Foundation National and Frame Visual Art Finland. 

Iris EichenbergIris Eichenberg: Bend
November 23, 2014 – January 25, 2015

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; the result is an unconventional retrospective of her 25-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.

Iris Eichenberg: Bend was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design. It is sponsored, in part, by the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Exhibition Fund. The accompanying exhibition catalog, which will be available for purchase at the front desk, is supported, in part, through a grant from the Rotasa Foundation.

Coming to Cranbrook Art Museum in 2015

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

MDWST (a truncation of Mister Midwest) is a continuation of the adventures of Beverly Fre$h—a stylized autobiographical character that doubles as an artist persona and stage name for Zack Ostrowski, a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art (2D ’09). Like a postmodern tale of the picaresque, Fre$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.

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.

Bertoia jewelryThe Jewelry of Harry Bertoia
March 14 – October 11, 2015
Art Members’ Opening Reception:  Friday, March 13, 2015

Former Cranbrook Academy of Art student and metalsmithing instructor Harry Bertoia (1915–1978) has received international acclaim for his metal furniture and sculpture, but his exploration of the medium originated in jewelry design. Out of the hundreds of jewelry works attributed to Bertoia, the majority was produced during his years at Cranbrook, offering an early glimpse of a creative vision that would crystallize as his career matured. The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia examines the artist’s experimentations with form, dimension, and fabrication on a concentrated and bankable scale—establishing Bertoia as a pioneer of the American Studio Jewelry movement and a master of elevating fashionable adornment to objet l’art.

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 Albert 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.

Graduate Exhibition2015 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art
April 19 – May 10, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 18, 2015,

The most innovative art and design being produced in the area takes over the entire 15,000 square feet of Cranbrook Art Museum for our annual Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art. See the culmination of two years of studio work from approximately 70 of today’s most promising artists, architects, and designers.


Nick-CaveNick Cave: Here Hear
June 20 – October 11, 2015
Art Members’ Opening Reception:  Friday, June 19, 2015

Artist Nick Cave is famed for his embellished costumes titled Soundsuits staged in public spectacle. The artist conceives some as fragile sculptural totems, and others as wearable costumes designed for sound, mobility, and dance.

The vision for the exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum includes a collection of Soundsuits, new sculptures and newly commissioned artworks arranged in dynamic vignettes throughout the galleries, one of which will feature a site-specific wall-based tapestry inspired by Cave’s childhood watching the night sky.  In an additional gallery, a Map in Action room will display the wearable Soundsuits that will come and go for performances during the exhibition period to locations throughout the city. Videos of the performances will be added to the room throughout the duration of the show, thereby becoming a living document of the entire project.

Cranbrook Art Museum received a Knight Arts Challenge Detroit grant, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, for the project: Nick Cave’s Biggest, Baddest Performance of All Time! The performance series for Nick Cave: Here Hear includes impromptu flash-mob Soundsuit Invasions throughout the city; Dance Labs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD); a new performance work by the artist; Heard Detroit with Detroit student dancers; costuming workshops with children; and the grand finale of it all, Figure This: Detroit, a legend-making performance downtown for an audience of thousands.

Nick Cave: Here Hear was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design.

Hours and Pricing

Museum Hours:

September – May
Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm

June – August
Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve & Day, New Year’s Eve & Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.

Admission :
ArtMembers and Children 12 & under, Always Free
General: $8
Seniors (65+): $6
Students with ID: $4

Barrier free access to the galleries of Cranbrook Art Museum can be accommodated through the adjacent New Studios Building. Visitors with disabilities are encouraged to call the Front Desk of the Art Museum at 248-645-3320 during regular museum hours for assistance. If you are planning your visit in advance, you may also call the Art Museum Administrative Offices at 248-645-3319 (Monday through Friday, 9 am-5pm) for additional information.

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.

About Cranbrook Art Museum
Cranbrook Art Museum is located at 39221 Woodward Avenue, on the campus of Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills. It is an integral part of Cranbrook Academy of Art, a community of Artists-in-Residence and graduate-level students of art, design, and architecture. The Art Museum, which was established in 1930 and opened in its current building in 1942, is Eliel Saarinen’s final masterwork at Cranbrook. Today, the Art Museum presents original exhibitions and educational programming on modern and contemporary architecture, art, crafts, and design, as well as traveling exhibitions, films, workshops, travel tours, and lectures by renowned artists, designers, artists, and critics throughout the year. In 2011, the Art Museum completed a three-year $22 million construction project that includes both the restoration of the Saarinen-design building and a state-of-the-art Collections Wing addition. Cranbrook Archives and the offices of the new Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research also are located within the Art Museum. For more information, visit

For high-resolution photos, email Julie Fracker at

Cranbrook and the American Look

Cranbrook Sighting # 11
Sighter: Shelley Selim
Sighted: Cranbrook Art Museum and Library
Location: the Internet
Date: March 10, 2014

The Internet Archive continues to be a hardy source of endearment for Shoshana and me, and this weekend I found myself traipsing through a favorite district of its offerings–Prelinger’s backlog of mid-century Populuxe videos. The term “Populuxe” was coined by cultural and design historian Thomas Hine for his 1986 book of the same name, which analyzed the hyper-consumerism that swept the United States in the 1950s and ’60s. Product styling–an extension of a collective fervor for material abundance and variety–became a wellspring of national pride during the Cold War, particularly as a means of counter-defining American capitalist prosperity against the Soviet Union’s Communist economy.

Many “Populuxe” promotional films were produced in the mid-century, and American Look, sponsored by General Motors’ Chevrolet Division, is a champion of its genre. It has it all: bright colors (in the ’50s, practically everything was offered in an array of colors, from home appliances to toilet paper), all the trappings of the new cult of domesticity  (housewives, home ownership, picnics, pools, backyard barbeques), and of course plenty of furniture and home goods created by Americans and our allies (particularly the Scandinavians).

See how many designs by Cranbrook graduates and former faculty members you can spot in this film, which is part one in a series of three. Spoiler: There are a bunch, including several chairs by Harry Bertoia, whose 99th birthday just happens to be today!

Posted by Shelley Selim
2013–2015 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow
Cranbrook Art Museum