Bloomfield Hills, Michigan – 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.
The pairings reinstate the challenging dialogue that has characterized Cranbrook since the revolutionary graduate school and museum opened more than 80 years ago. In so doing, No Object is an Island is an analog for Cranbrook Art Museum itself, the renovation of which transcends common notions of museum practice. At Cranbrook, the era of museum collections hidden in remote and dusty storage lockers is over. After the museum’s two-year, $22 million upgrade, the entire collection will now be visible—and accessible—to students, scholars, and visitors. Classes will occur in view of, or actually inside, the museum’s glass-walled vaults, where the art will reside in cabinetry custom-designed to display it exhibition-style at all times. Objects in the galleries will be keyed to additional collections materials readily available for study in a research center within the new 20,000 square-foot Collections Wing. The buildings and their holdings will become one integrated teaching and learning machine, an educational resource like no other.
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