Keith Haring: The End of the Line will open at Cranbrook Art Museum 30 years after the artist created his landmark temporary mural at the museum in 1987. He considered that project one of his best, and it marked a new direction in his visual language that continued until his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 31. Documentation of this pivotal project will be presented alongside two bodies of work anticipated by the mural and made in collaboration with acclaimed beat poet William S. Burroughs—Apocalypse (1988) and The Valley (1989).

Haring became a widely-celebrated artist for his comic-like drawings and paintings in the New York subways in the 1980s. At his lecture at Cranbrook on September 25, 1987, Haring discussed his intentions in these early subway explorations: “I started making drawings that were figurative after doing abstract work for almost five years, and for the first time, it seemed like I had made something that made sense to be in public because it had a kind of communicative power. [It] seemed like they should be in places where people could see them and think about them.” Haring’s Subway Drawings were ephemeral works that were documented by his friend and fellow artist Tseng Kwong Chi. A selection of these photographs along with a rare, surviving example of one Haring’s large-scale subway drawings, still intact on its advertising panel, will be on view.

The End of The Line concentrates on the last years of Haring’s life, when his work and activism got intensely personal after being diagnosed with AIDS. The Cranbrook mural introduced stylistic shifts of intentional drips and blotches, but it also depicted characters he continued to explore in Apocalypse and The Valley, such as jesters, masks, skulls, martyrs, and other religious icons. Entrenched in thoughts and philosophies about the end of times, Haring’s later works have art historical kinship with the chaotic storytelling of Hieronymus Bosch and violent playfulness of his friend and contemporary Jean-Michael Basquiat. The ominous texts by Burroughs stationed alongside them complement the energy of Haring’s drawings, which have the frenzy of an artist trying to process life before its end.

Keith Haring: The End of the Line is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum with the assistance of the Keith Haring Foundation, whose mission is to sustain, expand, and protect the artist’s legacy art, and ideals. The Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, research and care related to AIDS. Additional assistance provided by Muna Tseng and the Estate of Tseng Kwong Chi.

Keith Haring: The End of the Line is presented at Cranbrook Art Museum contemporaneously alongside three other solo exhibitions by artists that all operate at the intersection of art and street culture: Ryan McGinness: Studio Views; Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 (traveling from MCA Denver); and Maya Stovall: Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films.

Cranbrook Art Museum presents Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films by Detroit-based artist Maya Stovall, an innovator who works across the disciplines of dance, theory, anthropology, ethnography, and contemporary art. The museum will feature films from this series of site-specific dance interventions that began in 2014, as well as premiere a new film created in summer 2017 for the exhibition.

In Liquor Store Theatre, Stovall situates her stage in the public parking lots, sidewalks, and streets in front of liquor stores in her McDougall-Hunt neighborhood in Detroit. In an area with few operating storefronts, the liquor stores have become the de-facto centers of commerce, including groceries and electronics, and a place for residents to socialize. The unannounced performances include herself and several dancers that perform a meditative-style of ballet and jazz with the occasional bystander joining in the movement. Beyond the dancer’s bodies, the performance ruptures the stilted choreography of daily life for the people in the neighborhood—a moment of curiosity and spectacle just for them. After each performance, Stovall engages her audience in conversation and documents their personal experiences, musings, and predictions on Detroit’s socioeconomic condition and future. Dance is not the objective, but a conduit for communication and reflection.

Maya Stovall: Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films is presented at Cranbrook Art Museum contemporaneously alongside three other solo exhibitions by artists that all operate at the intersection of art and street culture: Ryan McGinness: Studio Views; Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980
(traveling from MCA Denver); and Keith Haring: The End of the Line. Like early interventionist graffiti by Basquiat and Haring before her, Stovall works against the surface of the street and her movements are a form of ephemeral markmaking. Public space is reimagined by these artists as canvas, stage, and
site for collaboration with everyday life.

Maya Stovall is a fourth generation Detroiter and currently a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Anthropology and Performance Studies at Wayne State University. Works from the series were recently presented as part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

Cranbrook Art Museum is the first tour stop of the exhibition Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

The exhibition includes the entire cache of works made by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the year he lived with his friend Alexis Adler in a small apartment in the East Village. This archival material provides rare insight into the artistic life of Basquiat before he was recognized as a prominent painter in the early 1980s. While living in this apartment, Basquiat’s creative impulses moved fluidly from his SAMO tags on the surrounding streets and neighborhood into a more sustained practice in their shared home. Through paintings, sculpture, works on paper, a notebook, and other ephemera, as well as Adler’s numerous photographs from this period, this exhibition explores how the context of life in New York informed and formed Basquiat’s artistic practice.

As Adler notes, “From mid-1979 to mid-1980, I lived with Jean in three different apartments, but for most of that time in an apartment that we moved into and shared on East 12th St. This was a time before Jean had canvases to work with, so he used whatever he could get his hands on, as he was constantly creating. The derelict streets of the East Village provided his raw materials and he would bring his finds up the six flights of stairs to incorporate into his art. Jean was able to make money for paint and his share of the rent, which was $80 a month, by selling sweatshirts on the street. He knew that he was a great artist.”

The exhibition and accompanying catalogue present New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s through the prism of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art and provide a window into the art-rich time that he emerged from as well as impacted so profoundly. It will sharpen and deepen our understanding of this artist at a vital yet mostly unknown, or at least under-discussed, moment of his career. Ultimately, this exhibition will attest to Basquiat’s virtuosity in formation—the creative impulses that yielded a distinctive voice, but also the many diversions or paths he explored as he was developing a signature style.

Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 is presented at Cranbrook Art Museum contemporaneously alongside three other solo exhibitions by artists that all operate at the intersection of art and street culture: Ryan McGinness: Studio Views; Keith Haring: The End of the Line; and Maya Stovall: Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films.

Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 is curated by Nora Burnett Abrams. Presenting sponsors include Henry and Lorie Gordon and a generous gift from Daniel Benel and Lena Fishman.

Organized by Cranbrook Art Museum with assistance from Library Street Collective.

Wayfinding: An Art Installation + Skate Park by Ryan McGinness and Tony Hawk

Acclaimed contemporary artist Ryan McGinness is coming to the Detroit area with an ambitious exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum and public project in downtown Detroit that mines the city’s creative past for the present. At Cranbrook Art Museum in November 2017, he will premiere the exhibition Ryan McGinness: Studio Views, which consists of a large-scale installation based on his studio practice and a presentation of drawings and iconography created from artworks in the Museum’s collection.

McGinness’s creative origins are from skateboarding culture in the mid-1990s that evolved into an expansive graphic design and studio art career. From early on, he understood the power of iconography and was influenced by the symbols one encounters in street signage, corporate logos, and popular culture. Whether creating simple design graphics or cacophonously layered paintings, the core of McGinness’s creative process consists of distilling imagery ranging from everyday objects to dreamscapes—the mundane and the absurd—into its basic characteristics of shape, form, and composition. He creates forms of communication that are not dependent on spoken language, but are rather visual ideograms of contemporary life.

In mindful proximity to the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Ryan McGinness: Studio Views is an exhibition about artistic process and a glimpse into McGinness’ studio practice. The Main Gallery at Cranbrook Art Museum will consist of 35 new paintings that immerse the viewer inside a stylized panorama of the artist’s studio. With a shared horizon of the studio floor, each painting depicts a scene of artworks and objects under construction; however, this visualization of process is in fact the final artwork. In the center of the gallery, McGinness has bolted together used silkscreens to create a physical maze for viewers to explore and discover a series of small sculptures. In an adjacent gallery, McGinness will present Collection Views, a series of new icons inspired by art and design objects that the artist has selected from the museum’s collection. The display will also include the artist’s preparatory sketches created in the development of this new iconography.

Throughout all of these projects, McGinness makes legible the individual elements of each subject—whether the artist’s studio, the museum’s collection, or a piece of the city’s history—offering the viewer new insights into how the artist approaches the world like a visual puzzle.

Ryan McGinness: Studio Views is presented at Cranbrook Art Museum contemporaneously alongside three other solo exhibitions by artists that all operate at the intersection of art and street culture: Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 (traveling from MCA Denver); Keith Haring: The End of the Line; and Maya Stovall: Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films.


Cranbrook: A New Domestic Landscape examines the role of designed objects that define and animate our interior environments. The exhibition features contemporary furniture and furnishings by recent alumni and Artists-in-Residence of Cranbrook Academy of Art that challenge conventions of use, explore new materials and techniques, and blur the boundaries between art, craft, and design.

Long a hotbed of experimental design, Cranbrook has played an important role in envisioning artifacts for living—from the handcrafted production of the Arts and Crafts period and the birth of mid-century modernism in America to the art furniture movement of the 1980s. Today, this progressive approach continues with artists, architects, and designers who expand these legacies of handcrafted production, custom fabrication, and experiments in form, materials, and processes in their own unique ways.

The exhibition takes its title from the landmark 1972 exhibition, Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, curated by Emilio Ambasz for the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Just as Ambasz had argued for a heterogeneous approach to design that challenged its modern orthodoxy of “form follows function,” contemporary producers continue many of its avant-garde experiments, but with a renewed sense of material experimentation and a continued contestation of an object’s symbolic meaning, ritual use, and functional constraints.

The exhibition features work from:

Vivian Beer (Metalsmithing ’04)
Aaron Blendowski (3D Design ’06)
Nina Cho (3D Design ’15)
Jack Craig (3D Design ’12)
Mark Dineen (3D Design ’13)
Brian DuBois (3D Design ’11)
Sharan Elran (Ceramics ’12)
Evan Fay (3D Design ’16)
Kristina Gerig Hunter (3D Design ’11)
Ross Hansen (3D Design ’11)
Ania Jaworska (Architecture ’09)
Doug Johnston (Architecture ’07)
Seth Keller (3D Design ’11)
Scott Klinker (3D Design ’96, and current 3D Design Artist-in-Residence)
Mark Moskovitz (3D Design ’05)
Jonathan Muecke (3D Design ’10)
Michael Neville (3D Design ’14)
Jay Sae Jung Oh (3D Design ’11)
Begüm Cana Özgür (3D Design ’13)
Anders Ruhwald (Current Ceramics Artist-In-Residence)
Christopher Schanck (3D Design ’11)
Reed Wilson (3D Design ’11) & Lilian Crum (2D Design ’12)
Zero Craft Corp. with Ebitenyefa Baralaye (Ceramics ’16)


Cranbrook: A New Domestic Landscape is made possible with generous support from the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation. The exhibition was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum; curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director of Cranbrook Art Museum, and Steffi Duarte, Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow; and designed by Mark Baker (3D Design ’11).

In recognition of Finland’s centennial of independence, Cranbrook Art Museum presents Finland 100: The Cranbrook Connection, an exhibition examining the profound influence this country has had on the development of the arts in America.

Design has always been a special strength of Finnish culture, exemplified by the Cranbrook campus itself. When designing Cranbrook, architect Eliel Saarinen blended vernacular Finnish romanticism from his native Kirkkonummi, Finland, with the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles prominent in America at the time. Saarinen’s comprehensive philosophy that one should design in the context of the next larger thing—from the chair to the room to the house to the city—meant that no element of the built environment should be overlooked. Thus, he and his talented family designed Cranbrook as a “total work of art,” which the New York Times has called “one of the greatest campuses ever created anywhere in the world.”

The exhibition features many treasures of Cranbrook’s history, including exquisite architectural renderings by Eliel Saarinen, intricate weavings by his wife Loja, and furniture and furnishings by his children, Eero and Pipsan. Also included are works by Finnish-born artists-in-residence at Cranbrook, such as Maija Grotell, head of ceramics, and Marianne Strengell, the head of the fiber department. Visitors to Cranbrook, such as the great Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, also exerted an important influence in the development of modern design at Cranbrook and beyond.

The exhibition is made possible with support from the Clannad Foundation.
Finland 100: The Cranbrook Connection is curated by Steffi Duarte, the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow.

Cranbrook Art Museum presents the U.S. debut of this career retrospective of Alexander Girard (1907–1993), one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. Girard worked across the fields of architecture, interior design, textiles, and graphics to create stunning environments that greatly enriched the visual language of mid-century modernism. Girard returned color, texture, decoration, the handmade and even opulence to classic modernism, making him an important touchstone for today’s artists and designers. After to moving to Michigan in 1937, Girard established a design office and retail space in Grosse Pointe. Although he relocated to New Mexico in 1953, Girard kept his ties to Michigan as head the textile and fabric division of Herman Miller, headquartered in Zeeland, Michigan—a major purveyor of modern design worldwide. He collaborated with many designers and architects such as Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and George Nelson, among others.

This landmark exhibition presents hundreds of examples of Girard’s work, including furniture, textiles, graphics, architecture, and sculptures, as well as drawings and collages never shown before. In addition, the show presents hundreds of folk art objects that he collected from all over the world and from which he drew inspiration.

This exhibition is organized by the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany. The global sponsors for the exhibition are Herman Miller and Maharam.

The most innovative work from the next generation of architects, artists, and designers will be on display at the 2017 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 more than 60 graduates as they launch their careers.

We are counting down the days to the opening by presenting artwork by each of the exhibiting students on Instagram!
[instagram-feed type=hashtag hashtag=”#CAAGradCountdown” num=3 cols=3 showcaption=true excludewords=”@repostapp” includewords=”@cranbrookedu” num=10]

Presenting Sponsor

From the Vault is a series of exhibitions drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection of nearly 6,000 works of modern and contemporary art, architecture, craft, and design. For this installment of the series, we have chosen to focus on a small but significant sampling of recent and promised gifts to the Museum that help highlight key aspects of our unique and diverse collection.

On display are key works from distinguished graduates of Cranbrook Academy of Art, one of the nation’s leading graduate programs, which constitutes a major focus of our collection. You will also find other outstanding examples of modern and contemporary art by key figures of the twentieth century that enhance our ability to tell a more comprehensive story.

Work by important twentieth-century masters such as Richard Serra, Louise Nevelson, Anni Albers, Josef Albers, and Robert Rauschenberg will be on display alongside work by acclaimed Cranbrook Academy of Art artists and alumna Eero Saarinen (Instructor, 1939-1941), Charles Eames (Student, Architecture, 1938–1939, CAA Instructor of Design, 1939–1941), Harry Bertoia (Student, Silver and Metalsmithing, 1937; CAA Manager and Instructor in the Metalcraft Shop, 1937–1943; CAA Instructor of Graphic Art, 1942–1943), Ebi Baralaye (Ceramics ’16), Donald Lipski (Ceramics ’73), Ed Fella (Design ’87), McArthur Binion (Painting ’73), José Joya (Painting ‘57), and Sonya Clark (Fiber ’95).

Without the generosity of donors, whose names you will find on individual wall labels in this exhibition, we would not be able to share with you and future generations the art of our time.

From The Vault: Recent Gifts to the Collection was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director and Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design. Cranbrook Art Museum is supported, in part, by its membership organization, ArtMembers@Cranbrook; the Museum Committee of Cranbrook Art Museum; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Cranbrook Time Machine: Twentieth-Century Period Rooms draws its inspiration from traditional museum period rooms, reinventing that presentation model by featuring distinct spaces that examine key moments in Cranbrook’s history. As a contemporary interpretation of such spaces, this exhibition features four distinct rooms that examine key moments in the evolution of the twentieth-century domestic landscape:

The Naturalist’s Athenaeum

Devoted to the Arts and Crafts movement that inspired Cranbrook’s founders, George and Ellen Scripps Booth, in the early 20th century, The Naturalist’s Athenaeum explores the ethos of the movement and the study of the natural world. The athenaeum, a sanctuary reserved for literary and scientific learning, is inhabited by artworks, handicraft objects, rare books and natural specimens that speak to a mindset that champions the intricacies of nature and human skill without the interference of technological production and artificiality.

The Bachelor Pad

Evoking mid-century modernism in America birthed at Cranbrook Academy of Art, The Bachelor Pad consists of two spaces: an exterior courtyard sculpture garden and an interior environment indicative of an idealized unmarried man. This space contrasts a familiar design narrative with a subtext of how a new modernist masculinity was constructed through consumer goods. The room is populated with furniture by modern masters such as George Nelson, Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames and seemingly benign objects—ashtrays, tumblers, cocktail shakers—that were propagated by magazines like Playboy as assertions of maleness.

The Cosmic Cave

A look into the experimental living environments of the 1970s, The Cosmic Cave is an immersive experience that takes its inspiration from speculative thinking of the era, including time travel, transcendental meditation, and the Afrofuturist philosophies of Sun Ra. A psychedelic living environment by Cranbrook alum Urban Jupena (Cave Rug, 1970) envelops the space and is accompanied by artworks ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to a sound work by contemporary artist Ingrid LaFleur. The space is a physical experiment in collapsing the past, present, and future.

A Semiotic Funhouse

The exploration of how an object’s form could be derived from its content or meaning, referred to as “product semantics,” was pioneered at Cranbrook in the 1980s. In A Semiotic Funhouse, pluralistic notions of taste are addressed in a room of furniture, graphics, and product models dedicated to the postmodernist sensibilities of historical reference, linguistic play, geometric formalism, and the anti-aesthetic of bad taste.

Cranbrook Time Machine: Twentieth Century Period Rooms
includes work by Cranbrook Academy of Art artists Pipsan Saarinen Swanson (Instructor of Weaving and Textile Design, 1932–1933, 1935), Eero Saarinen (Instructor, 1939-1941), Urban Jupena (Fiber ’70), Terence Main (Design ’78), Paul Montgomery (Design ’87), David Gresham (Design ’86), Kenneth R. Krayer, Jr. (Design ’88), Lisa Krohn (Design ’88), David Frej (Design ’89), Tony Rosenthal (Sculpture ’39), Lyman Kipp (Sculpture ’54), Peter Stathis (Design ’89), Toshiko Takaezu (Ceramics ’54), and Michael McCoy (Artist-in-Residence and Co-Chairman, Department of Design, ’71–’95).

This exhibition is the third installment in a series of shows, including the Cranbrook Hall of Wonders and The Cranbrook Salon, which showcase works from our collections presented through contemporary interpretations of historical museum display techniques.

Cranbrook Time Machine: Twentieth-Century Period Rooms was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director; Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design; and Shelley Selim, former Jeanne and Ralph Graham Assistant Curator. The exhibition was designed by Mark Baker, Head Preparator and Exhibition Designer. Cranbrook Art Museum is supported, in part, by its membership organization, ArtMembers@Cranbrook; the Museum Committee of Cranbrook Art Museum; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Cranbrook Art Museum's Lower Level Galleries are open. Enjoy Pay-As-You-Wish Admission through October 29.