While home is commonly used in reference to a physical space, the concept of home extends far beyond the parameters of any structure. It is a place, but also a feeling. According to social scientist Aviezier Tucker, “most people spend their lives in search of a home, at the gap between the natural home…and the particular ideal home where they would be fully fulfilled.”
The exhibition Homebody is rooted in a desire to unpack the layers of “home” by placing in conversation artistic interpretations of the word and the complex feelings it evokes. Several of the artists investigate technologies used in the home, including the digital realm that opens up borders between self and other, the public and the private. Artists also abstract and reimagine traditional objects of comfort and utility, tapping into the complex relationship between the domestic space and capitalistic society. “Home” is also considered from national and ethnographic points of view through works that explore immigrant perspectives that straddle two homes, often a world apart. Other artists contemplate home from a more bodily perspective, how we find belonging in our own skin and the spaces we inhabit.
Homebody seeks to unravel the ambiguous term of “home” by delving into connotations of comfort, nostalgia, alienation, and perpetual longing evoked by a word wrapped in promises. All of the artists featured in the exhibition have ties to Detroit, granting Homebody both a local perspective and a spectrum of backgrounds and interests that reflect the complexity of the city itself.
Artists featured include Tyanna Buie, Jason Carter, Mitch Cope, Lorena Cruz, Jessika Edgar, Sophie Eisner, Mario Moore, Martha Mysko, Dominic Palarchio, Rachel Pontious, Amy Fisher Price, Farah Al Qasimi, Jessica Rohrer, Victoria Shaheen, Darryl DeAngelo Terrell, Dessislava Terzieva, Corine Vermeulen, Meredith Walker, Ricky Weaver, and Renee Willoughby.
Homebody is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Kat Goffnett, Assistant Curator of Collections at Cranbrook Art Museum.
Eliel Saarinen was already an architect of renown in his native Finland before emigrating with his family to the United States in 1923.
He would meet George Booth, Cranbrook’s founder along with his wife Ellen Scripps Booth, through his son Henry who was studying architecture with Saarinen at the University of Michigan. Saarinen would commence building the Booths’ dream of Cranbrook in a series of astoundingly beautiful buildings, completing the historic campus in stages from 1927–1942. The result is one of the world’s most enchanted places—a total work of art, where every detail has been designed.
Over the last several years, photographer James Haefner has documented the art and architecture of Cranbrook, including the buildings featured in this exhibition: Kingswood School, the Academy of Art Library and Art Museum, and Saarinen House, as well as new images of Cranbrook School.
Designated in 1989 as a National Historic Landmark, Cranbrook Educational Community comprises 319 acres of stunning architecture, graceful fountains, and bucolic landscapes.
Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director, with support from ArtMembers of Cranbrook Art Museum and the Museum Committee.
Featuring 50 photographs by acclaimed Bloomfield Hills-based photographer James Haefner, this exhibition explores Michigan’s extraordinary legacy in architectural modernism.
Diverse in style and rich in significance, Michigan Modern documents landmark buildings throughout the state, from the innovative GM Tech Center designed by Eero Saarinen in Warren, Michigan and the refined beauty of Minoru Yamasaki’s McGregor Conference Center at Wayne State University in Detroit to Richard Meier’s iconic Douglas House in Harbor Springs and Zaha Hadid’s striking MSU Broad Art Museum in East Lansing.
At the confluence of art, industry, and education, Michigan has long played an outsized role in the evolution of modern architecture and design. The architects of the 34 projects documented by Haefner reads like who’s-who of modernism and includes the work of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alden B. Dow, Alexander Girard, William Kessler, George Nelson, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Gunnar Birkerts, and Kevin Roche, among many others.
In conjunction with this exhibition is a gallery of photographs by Haefner of Cranbrook’s historic landmark campus, highlighting the architecture of Eliel Saarinen.
The exhibition emerged from Haefner’s work documenting important examples of historically significant architecture throughout Michigan for the State Historic Preservation Office and is based on the book by its former chief officer, Brian D. Conway, Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy.
This exhibition is organized by James Haefner with interpretive texts by Brian D. Conway and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director, and is supported by ArtMembers of Cranbrook Art Museum and the Museum Committee.
The social activism of the 1960s and 1970s gave rise to an “underground press,” which provided an alternative way to publish writings on a variety of issues, including Black empowerment, the quest for civil liberties and workers’ rights, anti-Vietnam war sentiment, and critiques of capitalism. This was not a single press but rather a loose collection of independent magazines, alternative newspapers, fringe book publishers, and printing cooperatives, which helped democratize publishing by making the necessary equipment and processes available to ordinary citizens. Alternative presses were created to bypass reluctant commercial printers who simply did not agree with the ideas expressed or feared boycotts by the public or from other clients, as well as reprisals from the government.
Detroit became a hub for such alternative thinking and publishing, both before and after the wake of the citizen uprisings against institutionalized anti-Black racism in 1967 as well as on the basis of its strong union presence in manufacturing. In 1969, a group of friends, including Fredy and Lorraine Perlman, purchased a used industrial printing press and set up shop in the city, eventually calling themselves the Detroit Printing Co-op.
Although lacking any formal printing or design training, Fredy Perlman found an innate connection to the visual possibilities of the printed page. His printing experiments ranged from creating striking collages and using overlapping ink colors to inventive treatments for texts and images on the page. Rejecting the convention of privately owned property, the Co-op also made its press available for like-minded others to use, and printed paid commissions to help cover expenses. The Co-op’s activities included Fredy and Lorraine Perlman’s book imprint called Black & Red, which published Guy Debord’s seminal text, Society of the Spectacle; printing one of the era’s defining magazines, Radical America; and collaboration with members of Black Star, the publishing arm of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and Detroit’s influential anarchist newspaper Fifth Estate.
The story of the Detroit Printing Co-op underscores the power of the press to voice dissent, organize communities of like-minded individuals, and to articulate a case for social change. In an era dominated by the printed word and graphic communications, the Detroit Printing Co-op offered a small but potent example of such power, one that finds echoes not only in some of today’s pressing social issues, but also in the resurgent interest in self-publishing and alternative printing methods in an age of screen-based social media
For more information about The Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing, click here.
Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing is based on a previous exhibition produced by 9338 Campau and subsequent research for a publication of the same title by Danielle Aubert, which was supported in part by the James L. Knight Foundation, Wayne State University, and AIGA. The exhibition was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and was curated by Andrew Blauvelt and Danielle Aubert with exhibition design by Jon Geiger.
Headspace: Jim Dine’s Glyptotek
Inspired by a 1984 trip to Glyptothek, Munich’s museum dedicated to antique Greek and Roman sculpture, artist Jim Dine set out to create a book of prints inspired by the collection. He produced forty drawings uniquely designed to function as transparencies in the production of héliogravure prints, a printmaking process used to reproduce the earliest photographs. Dine’s prints exist both as individual works and as a collection, bound together in the oversized book, Glyptotek. According to Dine, each individual image in his Glyptotek can stand alone, but when viewed together they form a singular narrative “about learning from the Ancient World.”
Headspace pairs Dine’s prints with sculptural works by other artists from Cranbrook Art Museum’s permanent collection. These pieces from the twentieth century draw aesthetic parallels to Dine’s gestural renderings. Many of the selected busts mimic Dine’s ancient source material, while other works abstract the figure and reduce the form to a simple suggestion of it represents.
Headspace: Jim Dine’s Glyptotek is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Kat Goffnett, the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow, and features works gifted by George Francouer and Gerald Earles.
Allie McGhee has been an important pillar of the Detroit art scene for more than five decades with a practice defined by his signature approach to abstraction. This retrospective is a long overdue presentation of significant past works from McGhee’s extensive and dynamic oeuvre, as well as the premiere of ambitious new paintings created for this auspicious occasion.
In the late 1960s, McGhee shifted his practice from representational depictions because he was drawn to the long communicative history of geometry and abstraction in the timeline of humanity. One constant inspiration has been traditional African sculpture and its forms of symbolism. The title of this exhibition—Banana Moon Horn—is the name McGhee has given to the recurring arcing forms that he has explored throughout his career. The Banana Moon Horn has associations ranging from the natural world, humor, and ancient art—myriad interpretations are both intentional and welcome. McGhee often overlaps and mixes mediums by incorporating found objects or bringing a three-dimensional quality to his paintings. To this end, his collapsed canvas works have conceptual ties to McGhee’s research into science and the cosmos, often alluding to the view into a microscope or possibly collapsing universe.
McGhee can be found in his studio “every single day except Christmas,” and this exhibition is a crescendo of his daily experiments over the years. McGhee’s vivacious mind has also rendered his studio as an important place for lively conversations across generations, particularly in the Black artistic community. The background of these discussions is often set to the sound of jazz, a musical ethos of improvisation and lyrical abstraction that also emerges throughout McGhee’s practice.
Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Tunde Olaniran is a multi-disciplinary artist, musician, singer and performer. Beginning in 2019, the museum partnered with Olaniran to help create their most ambitious project to date—the short film and exhibition Made a Universe. Olaniran worked with Detroit-based artists to create the film’s scenography, costuming, and props. These elements are re-imagined in the galleries along with a screening room, offering visitors an immersive, parallel journey through Olaniran’s creative universe.
With the narrative arc of a hero’s journey, this contemporary horror film takes its inspiration from archetypes like those found in storylines from The New Mutants, an X-Men spin-off comic book series. Within this premise, the character’s often perceived weakness translates into their unique superpower. The film examines what it means to unlock your power in the face of fear and repression, and how one must unify various fragments of their psyche to connect with the world and themselves on a deeper level.
The series, shot on location throughout Detroit, is co-written, directed, and scored by Olaniran and Paige Wood, and features collaborations across artistic mediums with several multidisciplinary, award-winning artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Ellen Rutt, Natasha Beste, Lisa Waud, Amy Fisher-Price, Emma Davis, Skyylar Taylor, Talicia Campbell, Matthew Osmon, Terra Lockhart, Rachelle Baker, and Katy Dresner.
An experimental short film and 4D installation featuring original music from Tunde Olaniran and Yo-Yo Ma, and new work conceptualized by artists Ellen Rutt, Lisa Waud, Amy Fisher-Price, Skyylar Taylor, Natasha Beste, and Emma Davis.
TUNDE – Tunde Olaniran
LEON – Andrew Otchere
MIKE – Michael Hatten
AARON – Segun “Delusion” Delu
BREE – Morgan Hutson
TIAH – Ash Arder
GLADYS – Carol
MW EVELYN – Ann Burns
RYAN – Richard Newman
Segun “Delusion” Delu, Bree Gant, Celia Benvenutti, Derrick Finley.
Director – Tunde Olaniran
Producer – Paige Wood
Co-Writers – Tunde Olaniran and Paige Wood
Cinematographer / DP – Jeremy Brockman
Art Director / Editor – Katy Dresner
Field Producer – Ryah Aqel
Assistant Director – Jackson Ezinga
First Assistant Camera – Abigail Lynch
Steadicam Operators – @steadibart and Greg Johnson
DIT / Assistant Editor – Nadeem Persico-Shammas
Gaffer – Justin Ward
Key Grip – Andy Westra, Caleb Richardson
Dolly Grip – Costa Kazaleh Sirdenis
Swing – Kirk Yoshonis, Caleb Richardson
Sound Recordist – Wayne Ramocan Jr.
Set Design: Ellen Rutt, Lisa Waud, Amy Fisher-Price, Natasha Beste, Katy Dresner
Assistant Art Director – Duncan Burns
Materials Research – Alana Weiss-Nydorf
SFX Coordinators – Devin Durocher, David Baile
Production Assistants – Karen Cardenas, Costa Kazaleh Sirdenis, Kat Goffnet, Meredith Walker, Josue Fierro, Abigail Barnett
Camera Equipment Provided By – Stratton Camera
Lighting Equipment Provided By – Courtesy Flag LLC., Detroit Power and Light
Key Hairstylist – SaRyn Byers-Johnson
SFX Make-Up – Miranda Collins Assistant
MUAs (to Skyylar Taylor) – Naomi Zeman, Jordan Stephens
Clothing and Jewelry Provided By – SMPLFD, Noir Leather, SKNDLSS, Devon Parrott Titles – Matthew Osmon RAIVAN
Original Artwork – Matthew Osmon, Rachelle Baker Catering: Fried Chicken and Caviar, Stay Fresh Express
SPECIAL THANKS to The Library Street Collective, The Jam Handy, Foster Financial, and Said and Wadha Aqel for allowing us to film in your space(s).
Produced in conjunction with Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Chief Curator, Laura Mott. Made possible through support from The Knight Foundation, The National Endowment of the Arts, The Library Street Collective, Jennifer and Dan Gilbert, and Don Manvel.
Tunde Olaniran: Made A Universe is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Chief Curator, Laura Mott. The film series is produced by Paige Wood. The project is generously supported by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Jennifer and Dan Gilbert, Don Manvel, and additional support by Library Street Collective.
Tunde Olaniran: Made A Universe is presented by Flagstar Bank.
Olga de Amaral, one of the most recognized names in Latin American art, lives and works in her native Bogotá, Colombia. Tracing the artist’s career over five decades, Olga de Amaral: To Weave a Rock is the artist’s first major museum retrospective in the United States, consisting of some 60 works that elucidate her seminal influence and technical innovations. The artist was first introduced to the medium of fiber during her studies with Marianne Strengell at Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1954-1955. Since that time her work has prolifically evolved beyond the functional qualities of weaving into more experimental and sculptural woven forms.
Amaral’s woven sculptures are the result of a lifetime of experimentation and material studies drawing on techniques like plaiting and wrapping, using materials as varied as horsehair and gold leaf. Amaral has formed a unique visual language of abstraction that draws upon Colombia’s landscape and history as well as the artist’s own identity. Taking its title from an assignment Amaral had given to her students at the famed Haystack craft school in 1967, the exhibition Olga de Amaral: To Weave a Rock poetically expounds on her expansive views of textile practice. Still practicing in her eighties, Olga de Amaral’s work offers a prescient exploration of the expressive potential of fiber at a moment of renewed interest in the medium by contemporary artists and historians alike.
Shapeshifters explores the artist’s ability to redefine themselves, transgress their chosen medium, and transcend the world around them in utterly unique ways. Through the lens of artistry, these transformations are examined in a broad range of artworks from the museum’s permanent collection, presented in four galleries, each with a distinct focus. “Freeze Frame” panels are located throughout the galleries that focus on specific artists and tell their stories of artistic risk and innovation.
Hard Edge/Blurred Lines considers abstraction as an aesthetic strategy to unearth a wealth of individual approaches and philosophies, ranging from ancient sacred geometries to urgent societal concerns. For instance, post-war artists such as Jo Baer and Agnes Martin embrace their own versions of abstraction as a form of visual language that transcend patriarchal narratives—beyond nation, gender, and societal hierarchy. Martin in particular saw her work as a lineage from ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, and Arabic artists. Similarly, Ato Ribeiro (Cranbrook Academy of Art ’17) creates wooden compositions that are informed by the ancestral communication set into the patterns of Ghanaian Kente cloth and African American quilts. Alternately, an adjacent gallery investigates the amorphous possibilities of abstract painting to create an alternate expression of the world. Processes that embrace movement and spontaneity are evident in the work of Joan Mitchell, Sam Gilliam, and José Joya, while the painterly glazed surfaces of ceramicist Toshiko Takaezu are experimental collaborations with the fire of the kiln.
If abstraction in art promised to transcend conventional depictions of reality, then photography offered to capture it. But such an expectation are subverted by artists who use photographic processes and images in their work to expand the definition of their respective medium. Exploding the Frame presents artworks that utilize alternative methods and unconventional strategies. For example, Brittany Nelson (CAA ’11) employs camera-less photography based on nineteenth-century darkroom techniques, merging them with the digital to expand photography beyond the representational, while Robert Rauschenberg’s collage-based works appropriate images from existing photographs to bridge the gap between documentation and invention.
Transformation as an act of claiming agency and asserting dignity in contemporary art is thematically explored in Sea Change. Through processes of foregrounding, altering, shielding, and abstracting the human figure, these artists create works that psychologically mirror the complexity of societal constructs and inequalities. Richard Yarde brings center stage larger than life figures from African American culture, setting them in the scale of monumental portraiture historically reserved for colonizers. From a new generation of masterfully skilled figurative painters, Conrad Egyir (CAA ’18) presents himself in three different shades of skin color challenging the systemic hierarchies of identity, while Marianna Olague’s (CAA ’19) portraits feature individuals from her personal history living on the US-Mexico border, giving prominence to those often marginalized.
Exhibited for the first time at the museum, Nick Cave’s (CAA ’89) Up Right: Detroit is a short film created during the artist’s exhibition and performance series Nick Cave: Here Hear in 2015. Commissioned by Cranbrook Art Museum, the film features a powerful transformation of selfhood orchestrated with participants from the Ruth Ellis Center, a center for LGBTQ+ youth, and the Mosaic Youth Theatre from Detroit. In a rite of passage ceremony, “Practitioners” dress “Initiates” in Cave’s canonical Soundsuits created especially for this work. The participants undergo a metamorphosis through the initiation, emerging as strong and fearless beings.
Shapeshifters features works from the collection by Richard Anuszkiewicz, Jo Baer, Ebitenyefa Baralaye, Romare Bearden, McArthur Binion, Susan Goethel Campbell, Anthony Caro, Nick Cave, Nicole Cherubini, Sonya Clark, Liz Cohen, Conrad Egyir, Beverly Fishman, Kottie Gaydos, Sam Gilliam, Kara Güt, Carole Harris, Matthew Angelo Harrison, José Joya, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Allie McGhee, Marilyn Minter, Brittany Nelson, Kenneth Noland, Marianna Olague, Robert Rauschenberg, Ato Ribeiro, James Rosenquist, Beau Sinchai, Julian Stanczak, Frank Stella, Maya Stovall, Toshiko Takaezu, Carl Toth, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, and Richard Yarde, among others.
For more information about Shapeshifters: Transformations in Contemporary Art, click here.
Shapeshifters is indebted to the significant gifts on view from the Dr. John and Rose Shuey Collection, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and recent acquisitions from the Estate of George Francoeur and Gerald Earls.
Cranbrook Art Museum is generously supported by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the MASCO Foundation, and the Museum Committee and ArtMembers at Cranbrook.
The most innovative work from the next generation of architects, artists, and designers will be on display at the 2021 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 public on Sunday, April 18, with a special ArtMembers Preview Day on Saturday, April 17. In compliance with safety and health regulations, all visits must be scheduled in advance.
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