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.

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.

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.

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.

John Glick is a people’s potter. In a career spanning over five decades, the ceramist has remained committed to the art and craft of functional vessels and their incorporation into the rituals of daily life. John Glick: A Legacy in Clay is the first major exhibition and publication to survey the immense range of ceramic vessels, tableware, and sculpture that has made Glick one of today’s premier figures in American studio pottery. Mounted as the artist closes his historic Plum Tree Pottery in Farmington Hills, Michigan, the exhibition will include nearly 200 pieces representing all phases of his work, from the early vessels and tableware dating to Glick’s time as a student at Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA in Ceramics, 1962), to his conceptual ceramic sculptures from the last decades.  The exhibition and accompanying catalogue are part of the John Glick Legacy Project, which also encompasses the placement of the ceramist’s most important works in public museum collections around the world. The catalogue includes essays by Exhibition Curator Shelley Selim, Independent Curator Jo Lauria, and Ezra Shales, Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Preview the Exhibition

John Glick: A Legacy in Clay is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Cranbrook’s Jeanne and Ralph Graham Assistant Curator, Shelley Selim. California-based independent curator Jo Lauria was a curatorial advisor for the John Glick Legacy Project. The exhibition is made possible with support from the Clannad Foundation, William Manahan, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for the Arts, and Marilyn and Timothy Mast.

Liz Cohen’s artistic practice is rooted in both photography and performance, and she is perhaps best known for her immersive, ten-year project BODYWORK, which explored low-rider and custom car culture. This exhibition launches a new body of work that draws from her continued interest in exhibitionism, subcultures, and acts of belonging. Her point of departure is an ongoing collaborative research project with a self-described eunuch, who has undergone radical surgical transformations. Cohen will utilize classic documentary tools—interviews, photographs, and video—that will then be drastically altered into textile, sculptural, and image-based forms. Liz Cohen has been the Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art since 2008.

February 28, 2016 4:00pm
Liz Cohen, Artist-in-Residence and Head of Photography, Cranbrook Academy of Art
Eric Crosley, Artist and Poet

Please join us for a special lecture by Liz Cohen, Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a poetry reading by Eric Crosley, the motivation for her current exhibition, Him, currently on display at Cranbrook Art Museum. Cohen’s work and Crosley’s writing wrestle with the labor of everyday existence and defining “self” as a constantly shifting narrative.

This exhibition is made possible with the support of Gretchen and Ethan Davidson.

Cranbrook Art Museum will present the audio installation of Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe, a live ambisonic 3-D sound installation inspired by Lou Reed’s controversial 1975 double album Metal Machine Music. Originally presented by the University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach (UAM, CSULB) in 2012, where Lou Reed worked in collaboration with the acoustic specialists at the Arup Engineering SoundLab in New York, Reed was able to recreate, for museum visitors, this groundbreaking composition from exactly the same acoustic perspective he had while performing it onstage.

The installation at Cranbrook Art Museum will use twelve loudspeakers in an ambisonic arrangement to create a fully immersive sound experience. The live recording of Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe took place at the Blender Theatre in New York in 2009. The improvising trio included Lou Reed, Ulrich Krieger and Sarth Calhoun.

Metal Machine Trio Musicians
Lou Reed – guitar, continuum fingerboard , electronics
Ulrich Krieger – electric saxophone, electronics
Sarth Calhoun – continuum fingerboard, electronics

The exhibition at Cranbrook is presented by Cranbrook Art Museum in collaboration with Sister Ray Enterprises, Inc., Arup Engineering SoundLab and HARMAN and is curated by Christopher Scoates, who now is the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, and Raj Patel, a leading international acoustics, audio-visual, and multimedia consultant and designer with Arup. The exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum is made possible with the support of Julia Reyes Taubman and Robert Taubman.

Read Image, See Text is an exhibition that explores the various creative approaches to the artist book—an artistic structure that often is a playful investigation of the verbal and visual, the tactile and legible. Within the exhibition, the communicative value of the book is complemented or subverted by design, concept, or objecthood. The exhibition will feature sculpture and print works that explore the aesthetics of language and artist books by contemporary artists and designers, including selections from the collections of Cranbrook Art Museum and the Cranbrook Academy of Art Library. The title of the exhibition Read Image, See Text, is taken from an iconic poster titled See/Read by former Artist-in-Residence and Co-Head of the Design Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Katherine McCoy. Two areas within the exhibition will celebrate Detroit and Cranbrook-related artists, featuring books that can all be handled by viewers.

Artists and Publishers included in Read Image, See Text include: assume vivid astro focus, Andrew Blauvelt, Corrie Baldauf, Brighton Press (Michele Burgess with Chard deNiord, Martha Serpas, Ian Tyson, and Nancy Willard,), Jon Geiger, Susan Goethel Campbell, Megan Heeres, Davi Det Hompson, Allen Hori, Margaret Kaufman, Allan Kaprow & Carl Solway, R.B. Kitaj, Darice Koziel, Ronald Allen Leax, Jane Lackey, Glenn Ligon, Katherine McCoy, Michael McCoy, Christian Patterson, Perishable Press, Ed Ruscha, Small Editions NYC, Anne Vieux, Lucy Helton, Sheryl Oppenheim, Patrick Gantert & Nicole Killian, Claire Van Vliet, and Kara Walker.

The reading room of Detroit and Cranbrook-related artist books and publishers include selections from Davin Brainard, Butter Press, Center for Abandoned Letterhead (Maia Asshaq & Danielle Aubert), Good Weather, Hearty Greetings, Alex Nichols, Haynes Riley, Carl Schurer, Cedric Tai, 12 Zines, Corine Vermeulen, Sergej Vutuc, and Katie Wynne.

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.

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.