Cranbrook Sightings

Happy Birthday, May Morris!

Cranbrook Sightings BlogInside the Vault

On the 152nd anniversary of her birth (editor's note: plus one day, because this editor is on a research trip and didn't have time to get to the blog yesterday!), all of us at Cranbrook Art Museum are excited to wish artist and designer May Morris a very happy birthday! Born March 25, 1862 in Bexley Heath, England, May Morris grew up in an artistic community fueled by the beliefs of her father William Morris, a founder of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Intellectually committed to her father’s movement, she learned needlecraft at the feet of her mother Jane, a Pre-Raphaelite model and muse for Morris and others.


Tagged: Arts and Crafts Movement, Cranbrook House, May Morris, Shoshana Resnikoff, Textiles

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Music-Mushrooms-Manuscripts: John Cage at Cranbrook

Cranbrook Sightings Blog

In early April of 1974, artist-composer John Cage traveled to Cranbrook to celebrate the opening of Music–Mushrooms–Manuscripts at the Art Museum, an exhibition of his drawings, photographs, books, poems, prints, and sound recordings. Featured works included his 1969 series of Plexigrams, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, and the Mushroom Book, both printed by Irwin […]


Tagged: Chuck Baughman, Doug Huston, Graphic Design, John Cage, Michael McCoy, Prints, Shelley Selim, Stephen Milanowski, Steve Tennent

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Cranbrook and the American Look

Cranbrook Sightings Blog

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 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” […]


Tagged: Advertisements, Film, Harry Bertoia, Populuxe, Shelley Selim

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Happy Birthday Albert Herter!

Cranbrook Sightings BlogInside the Vault

A day late but with no less affection, we here at the Cranbrook Art Museum wish a very happy birthday to Albert Herter, born on March 2, 1871. The son of Christian Herter, one half of New York's famed Herter Brothers design and decorating firm, Albert went on to become a successful artist and decorator in his own right. Over his lengthy career he painted portraits of the Bouviers, executed many private and civic murals in the United States and Europe, opened and decorated an exclusive Montecito hotel for America's elite, and in 1908 founded the Herter Looms weaving company.


Tagged: Albert Herter, Arts and Crafts Movement, Cranbrook House, Gerhardt Knodel, Shelley Selim, Textiles

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Catherine Murphy’s Nighttime Self-Portrait

Cranbrook Sightings BlogInside the Vault

From this gusty tundra of unrelenting frigidity (-20 degrees with windchill today!), we here at Cranbrook Art Museum would like to extend our warmest and most heartfelt congratulations to Catherine Murphy, the 2013 winner of the Robert De Niro, Sr., Prize, awarded to one outstanding mid-career artist each year. Since the 1960s, Murphy’s representational paintings have been widely exhibited and prolifically produced, but the artist’s talent for nuanced channels of perception remains at times underappreciated.


Tagged: Catherine Murphy, Painting, Shelley Selim

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Cars, the Cranbrook Way

Cranbrook Center for Collections and ResearchCranbrook Sightings Blog

There are few things that history buffs love more than archives, and there is almost no archive that can rival—digitally at least—the Internet Archive for sheer volume and accessibility. Looking for a late 19th-century trade catalogue for a New York lantern company? They probably have that. Interested in Princeton University’s 1886 Scientific Expedition? Well, read all about it. What about former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit to Morocco in 1957? Enjoy!


Tagged: Advertisements, Eliel Saarinen, Oldsmobile, Shoshana Resnikoff

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Valentine’s Day at Cranbrook

Cranbrook Sightings BlogInside the Vault

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by taking a leisurely stroll around the Cranbrook campus in sub-zero temperatures, photographing ice formations and footprints in the snow? In 1977, artist Shiro Ikegawa (1933–2009) did just that, commemorating one of America’s most beloved and reviled holidays with a suite of eighteen photo-lithographs and silk-screened prints. Cranbrook Academy of Art’s printmaking department invited Ikegawa for a two week visit, during which time he led critiques and became an acting art director of sorts, supervising students as they executed his works on the lithographic press.


Tagged: Prints, Shelley Selim, Shiro Ikegawa

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Architecture in Helsinki: Places Like This

Cranbrook Sightings Blog

CRANBROOK SIGHTING #9 Sighter: Shelley Selim Sighted: Eliel Saarinen, Helsinki Central Railway Station Location: Helsinki, Finland Date: July 4, 2012 There was a two week block of last summer when at any given moment I could be found clapping, beaming, and prancing with merriment; arms open to our joyous earth’s embrace. No, I hadn’t finally […]


Tagged: Architecture, Eliel Saarinen, Helsinki, Helsinki Central Railway Station, Helsinki, Finland, Shelley Selim

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Chicago: On Beans and Dumplings

Cranbrook Sightings Blog

I spent the recent Memorial Day holiday in the Chicago area, seeing several awesome things for the first time: the Bean, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, and the Art Institute of Chicago among many others. As I traipsed through Millennium Park on my way to the AIC, frankly giddy at the prospect of viewing Grant Wood’s American Gothic, I stopped cold in my tracks, captivated by a series of large-scale ceramic sculptures that looked vaguely like giant ice-cream pops.


Tagged: Chad Alligood, Chicago, Cranbrook Sightings, Dango sculptures, IL, Jun Kaneko, Millennium Park, Sculpture

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A Once-Modern Marvel

Cranbrook Sightings Blog

Taking a cue from Chad’s road trip, I decided to seek out Cranbrook-related architecture during my recent spring break trip “up north” to our family’s summer home in Goodhart. Since my family has summered up north for over 40 years, I already knew that many Cranbrook artists and architects vacationed there as well. In fact, many built their own homes and cottages just down the road from ours. This time I was in search of the MacDonald building in Harbor Springs – a design that I recently discovered was a Swanson and Associates project. The Swansons had a long association with Cranbrook – J. Robert F. (“Bob”) was a classmate of Harry Booth’s at University of Michigan’s School of Architecture, and he acted as interpreter for Swedish-speaking Eliel Saarinen, a visiting professor in 1923. When Harry and Bob returned to Bloomfield Hills, they established an architecture firm called Swanson and Booth, and designed the first Academy of Art building on our campus in 1925. Bob’s wife and business partner, Pipsan, was none other than the daughter of Eliel and Loja Saarinen and sister to Eero Saarinen!


Tagged: Architecture, Harbor Springs, Leslie S. Edwards, MacDonald Building, MI, Pipsan Saarinen, Robert F. Swanson

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New Spring Hours