Sonya Clark: We Are Each Other is a mid-career survey of the artist’s work with a focus on her community-centered and participatory projects. Over her twenty-five-year career, Clark has been committed to issues of history, race, and reconciliation. Clark often undertakes this exploration through everyday fiber materials—hair, flags, found fabric—and craft practices. In Clark’s work, craft and community are intertwined, and the resulting projects facilitate new collective encounters across racial, gender, and socioeconomic divisions. The ethos of her participatory work is embedded in the title We Are Each Other. It is inspired by the poem about civil rights activist Paul Robeson (1971) by Gwendolyn Brooks, which ends with the phrase: “we are each other’s harvest: we are each other’s business: we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

In the Hair Craft Project, for example, Clark collaborated with hairstylists to use the hair on her own head as a canvas to highlight their skills, carefully documenting each creation over the course of a year. In works such as the Kente Flag Project, Unraveling, and Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know Clark explores the varied and often conflicted social and cultural histories that flags can represent. In other projects such as Beaded Prayers, which formed the basis of Clark’s Healing Memorial project in Detroit for losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, or Finding Freedom, a meditation on the plight of individuals fleeing slavery along the Underground Railroad, contributions made by numerous participants form the artwork itself.

Clark received her MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995 and has since achieved acclaim for her innovative practice. Her work has been exhibited in more than 350 museums and galleries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia. Clark is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a Pollock Krasner Award, an 1858 Prize, an Art Prize Grand Jurors Award, and an Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Clark is a Professor of Art at Amherst College in Massachusetts and previously served as Chair of the Craft/Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

The exhibition is a three-institution partnership between Cranbrook Art Museum in Metro Detroit, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. The collaboration is rooted in both audience and context as all three cities have substantial populations of residents with a lineage to the African diaspora, and each institution has a dedicated mission to contemporary art and craft traditions.

Sonya Clark: We Are Each Other is co-curated by Laura Mott, Chief Curator at Cranbrook Art Museum; Elissa Auther, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at The Museum of Art and Design; and Monica Obniski, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum.

The Cranbrook Art Museum presentation is supported by the Gilbert Family Foundation, the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation.

Sonya Clark Project Supporter Logos

The innovative work from the next generation of architects, artists, and designers will be on display at the 2023 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 graduates as they launch their careers.

The show opens to the public on Sunday, April 9, with a special ArtMembers’ Preview Day on Saturday, April 8.

PURCHASE GENERAL ADMISSION HERE

Bakpak Durden is a self-taught artist born and raised in Detroit. Durden’s hyperrealistic work draws upon diverse inspirations, including dramatic cinema and Dutch Baroque painting.

The Eye of Horus is Durden’s first solo museum exhibition and the inaugural show of the Cranbrook Art Museum’s Fresh Paint series, which highlights new work from Detroit-based artists. The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol and concept thought to have healing and protective powers. In addition to its appearance in ceremonial rituals and mythology, the icon was also used in ancient mathematical and neurological contexts. For this exhibition, Durden explores the physiological and psychological functions relating to vision and the mind. Their new installation of paintings and sculpture poetically dissect the physical processes of vision, therein presenting the anatomical magic that goes into shaping emotion and identity. Surrounding the installation are selections of Durden’s paintings that primarily feature the artist in moments of reverie and introspection in their daily life.

In addition to their studio practice, Durden is known for their large-scale murals throughout Detroit. As part of this project, Cranbrook Art Museum has partnered with the Ruth Ellis Center, a non-profit that creates a supportive community and provides trauma-informed services for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults of color. In collaboration with the organization, Durden will create a permanent mural for the new Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center in Detroit.

Bakpak Durden: The Eye of Horus is the inaugural show of Cranbrook Art Museum’s Fresh Paint series, which highlights new work from Detroit-based artists. 

Bakpak Durden: The Eye of Horus is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Kat Goffnett, Assistant Curator of Collections, and Laura Mott, Chief Curator at Cranbrook Art Museum. This exhibition is generously supported by the George Francoeur Art Museum Exhibition Fund and the Gilbert Family Foundation, with additional assistance from the Ruth Ellis Center and Playground Detroit.

The permanent collection of Cranbrook Art Museum has undergone many evolutions over its nearly 100-year existence. However, one facet of our holdings has remained consistent: the Cranbrook Collection, which is dedicated to works by artists, alumni, and artists-in-residence affiliated with our sister institution, Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Constellations & Affinities: Selections from the Cranbrook Collection gathers a broad and eclectic sampling of objects made by artists, architects, and designers associated with the Academy of Art. Arranged like a contemporary curiosity cabinet, the works on view span numerous media and represent a broad range of practices taught at the Academy. Works have been arranged in various constellations to compare and contrast certain affinities in materials, processes, and approaches among the artists while acknowledging the singular artistic vision of each maker. A spotlight has been shown on a few of the many diverse and fascinating artists that have called Cranbrook home over the decades.

Constellations & Affinities: Selections from the Cranbrook Collection is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Kat Goffnett, Assistant Curator of Collections. Exhibition design by Jon Geiger, Head Preparator and Exhibition Coordinator, and Andrew Satake Blauvelt, Director.

The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Clannad Foundation.

The Clannad Foundation

Cranbrook Art Museum, The City of Detroit, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Huntington Place have organized a large-scale memorial art installation to help our community heal from loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Healing Memorial is a site-specific adaptation of the Beaded Prayers Project by world-renowned artist Sonya Clark (CAA, MFA Fiber ’95), which has traveled the world for more than two decades. For this project, metro area Detroit residents have created small memorial pouches using fabric from their loved ones or donated material and folded inside a written commemoration, intention, wish, or prayer. The pouches were then sewn shut with decorative beads—each one a unique handmade object.

To date, more than 4,000 regional residents created personal pieces of art in honor of their losses. The Healing Memorial installation is open to the public:

Huntington Place (formerly TCF Center)

1 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI, Level 3

(Enter at the corner of Washington and Congress)

Monday – Saturday from 12- 5pm

The project remains open for submissions by all regional residents who have experienced physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, occupational, or environmental loss. To learn more about participation, please visit https://detroitriverfront.org/thehealingmemorial

The Healing Memorial is curated by Laura Mott, Chief Curator, Cranbrook Art Museum in collaboration with Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit, and Rachel Frierson, Director of Public Programming for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The project is made possible by the generous support of the Ford Fund, Huntington Bank, the City of Detroit, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and Cranbrook Art Museum. 

Flint-based artist Tunde Olaniran and Cranbrook Art Museum have partnered with MW Gallery to present a selection of works from the preeminent Mott-Warsh Collection, which focuses on art by artists of the African diaspora and those who reflect on it. This exhibition is an extension of a similarly titled show on view through August 20, 2022 at MW Gallery in downtown Flint.  This selection of artwork shares themes with Tunde Olaniran’s newly-commissioned film and installation Made A Universe, which is concurrently on view at the museum. 

The exhibition investigates how societal challenges, such as systemic disenfranchisement, racism, xenophobia, and isolation, can become pressing personal struggles about our health, wellness, economic stability, and more. Amid these personal and shared trials, myriad questions arise: How do we cope? Where do we go to seek relief? Who or what makes us feel better? How do we heal?

At Cranbrook Art Museum, the exhibition includes work by artists Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Nick Cave, Titus Kaphar, Glenn Ligon, Pope.L, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, and others. 

This presentation of Whatever Gets You Through the Night: Selections from the Mott-Warsh Collection is curated by Tunde Olaniran; Stephanie James, Director, Curator, and Collection Educator, Mott-Warsh Collection; and Laura Mott, Chief Curator, Cranbrook Art Museum

Rebelling against the confines of the rectilinear canvas became a generative theme for several twentieth-century painters—Carmen Herrera, Lee Bontecou, Frank Stella, Blinky Palermo, Alan Shields, Kenneth Noland, Elizabeth Murray, and Sam Gilliam, for instance. While many of these pioneers adopted hard-edged geometric forms and flat fields of judicious color for their abstract compositions, Detroit-based painter James Benjamin Franklin has opted instead for an organic, irregularly edged canvas, the introduction of found textile materials, and a blend of fluid paint and strategic brushwork all rendered in a bold and lush color palette.

Turning the canvas into a thick-lipped, albeit vertically oriented, “tray” allows Franklin to hold a plethora of materials in a mix of painterly and sculptural practices—pieces of crochet afghan, old towels, swathes of fabric, or offcuts of pile carpet are assembled and overlaid with poured and brushed paint and occasionally dusted with glitter or sand. The organic shapes that he gives the canvases, the free and loose application of paint, combined with their rich and colorful textural surfaces imbue the works with an inventive materiality and a contemporary handcrafted sensibility.

For his first solo museum exhibition in Detroit, Franklin returns to the Cranbrook campus, where he studied at the Academy of Art, to create an entirely new body of work that further develops these exciting themes and innovative processes.

James Benjamin Franklin (b. Tacoma, Washington) is an artist based in Detroit, Michigan. His distinctive canvases push the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Franklin received his BFA from Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, in 1999 and his MFA in Painting in 2017 from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His work has been featured in exhibitions at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville; FRONT International, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; and Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City. His work has been featured in Bomb Magazine, Galerie Magazine, Hyperallergic, and the New York Times. The artist is represented by Reyes | Finn Gallery, Detroit, Michigan.

James Benjamin Franklin: Full Circle is curated by Andrew Satake Blauvelt and organized by Cranbrook Art Museum. The exhibition is generously supported by the Gilbert Family Foundation, the George Francoeur Art Museum Exhibition Fund, Dirk Denison and David Salkin, Karen and Drew Bacon, and Andrea Brown and Jonah Stutz. Promotional assistance provided by Reyes|Finn Gallery.

Scott Hocking: Detroit Stories is the first museum retrospective of the artist, who has been living and working in Detroit for more than twenty-five years and who was born in the adjacent community of Redford Township, Michigan.

Hocking’s acclaimed work spans sculpture and installation, photography and video, and is known for its repurposing of existing materials and found objects, which the artist uses in site-specific projects that delve into local histories and conditions of place. Hocking gained international attention for a series of works undertaken in various abandoned buildings around Detroit, where he would assemble large-scale sculptures from the surrounding detritus: a giant egg-shaped sculpture made from stacking hundreds of pieces of slab marble found at Michigan Central Station (2007–2013), or a giant ziggurat structure composed of thousands of wooden floor blocks at the Fisher Body Plant 21 (2007–2009). Produced through the artist’s lone labor over the course of many months and years, these powerful works are mostly known through the spectacular photographs that Hocking takes to document the final result. In addition to these monumentally scaled works, Hocking has also created public art projects such as Nike of the Strait (2021), a winged tower made from repurposed metal buoys, located along the Detroit Riverfront. Hocking documents the unique contexts and quirky nature of Detroit’s ever-changing urban landscape in, for instance, the hauntingly beautiful on-going series, Detroit Nights (2007– present), which depicts city scenes and landscapes photographed using only available light.

Emerging in the 2000s to become one of Detroit’s most important contemporary voices and chroniclers, Hocking possesses an embodied knowledge of the city and its idiosyncratic histories. While rooted in the city of Detroit, Hocking has also produced projects in different places around the world, responding to the particular circumstances of each location. His unique artistic process combines aspects of urban archeology— uncovering layers of history, meaning, and memory—with a historian’s sense of discovery and a writer’s craft of storytelling.

The exhibition will include pieces from Hocking’s major bodies of work, including his site-specific installations, large-scale sculptures, found object assemblages, photographic series, and videos of his journeys. Also known for his writings, Hocking will punctuate the galleries with some of his stories—tales of (mis)adventure, episodes from history, reflections of a changing city, ruminations on art and life, and more—offering a narrated tour for visitors on their own journey through the exhibition.

Scott Hocking: Detroit Stories is curated by Andrew Satake Blauvelt and organized by Cranbrook Art Museum. The exhibition is generously supported by Gilbert Family Foundation, the George Francoeur Art Museum Exhibition Fund, the David Klein and Kate Ostrove Exhibition Fund, and Samara (Johnson) Furlong and Mark Furlong. Promotional assistance provided by David Klein Gallery.

The innovative work from the next generation of architects, artists, and designers will be on display at the 2022 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 graduates as they launch their careers.

The show opens to the public on Sunday, April 24, with a special ArtMembers’ Preview Day on Saturday, April 23. In compliance with safety and health regulations, in-person events are subject to change.

PURCHASE GENERAL ADMISSION HERE

Master of Architecture:

Ryan Andrew David
Michelle Jing-Ying Su

Master of Fine Arts:

2D Design
Peter Bjorndal
Maria Bologna
Lizz Caicedo
Chen Gao
Kaiya McCormick
Edward Armstrong Ryan
Katie Elizabeth Clift Severson

3D Design
Fabiana Chabaneix
Madeline Isakson
Jian-Ming Lin
Jenna Teresa VanFleteren
Jiangyu Wu

4D Design
Emily Louise Bommarito
Ryan T. Genena
Zhiheng Gong
Vikramaditya Raju Kalidindi
Christopher A. McKay
Merel Noorlander

Ceramics
Gabriela Sofía Gutiérrez
Sage Antonella Rucci
Lyric Shen
Cooper Wray Siegel
Claire Russell Thibodeau
Mark Benjamin Vander Heide

Fiber
Eleanor Anderson
Mitch Frank
Deja Milany Jones
Kira Keck
Meirav Sylvia Ong

Metalsmithing
Yi Ding
Mingyan Liu
Cassie Stone
Kexin Wen
Qinyue Xue

Painting
Elliot Walter Avis
Batoul Ali Ballout
Jake Goelman
Ki Yeun Kim
Ian Miller
Douglas Christopher Pendleton
Nick Pizaña
Mieyoshi Ragernoir
Brian Szeto

Photography
Julian Jamaal Jones
Katie McGowan
Diana S. Noh

Print Media
Tanner Blackwell
Douglas Randell Jones
Ashley Elizabeth Karnowski
Linda Grace Kentoffio
Madeline Rudy McGinn
Cass Penegor

Sculpture
Kelly Agius
Chelsea Romeo Allen
Isabelle Balabis
Noelle Amanda Choy
Carmichael Jones
Kelly Lynn Kroener
Jo Lobdell
McKenna Quandt

Every tiger has its own pattern of stripes. For artist Tyrrell Winston, the concept of a tiger’s stripes translates to the unique identity, pride, and legacy many feel about their favorite sports team. Best known for his gridded assemblages of found basketballs, Winston’s work is rooted in themes of memory, nostalgia, found objects, and sports culture. His particular focus on sports is, in part, because it is a collective act that society undertakes together.

Cranbrook Art Museum is hosting Winston’s first solo museum presentation. A Detroit-based artist, Winston collected weathered and torn basketball nets from around the city for his series, Network. He replaced old nets with new ones and transformed the worn nets into new dynamic textile works. He has created a new series of Protection Paintings, which juxtapose lacquered panels of metallic automotive paint and found discarded tarps (often used to protect cars from the elements), and a new Michigan-based series of Punishment Paintings, which replicate the autograph signatures of famous athletes over and over again.

Winston will also construct new sculptural works from outdoor bleachers, one of which will serve as a forum for conversations, transforming the object’s typical function of seating opposing teams into a space of dialogue and creative exchange.

Tyrrell Winston: A Tiger’s Stripes is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Chief Curator. The project is supported by a residency facilitated by Library Street Collective.