Edward Gorey’s masterful pen-and-ink drawings that illustrate his captivating books conjure a vaguely Edwardian world of handcars, boater hats, and Dickensian children. With titles such as The Hapless Child, The Loathsome Couple, and The Fatal Lozenge, Gorey’s protagonists often meet an untimely demise. Despite the subject matter, his work transcends the mere macabre, offering instead a dark humor that has found contemporary resonance with cultural phenomena from Goth and steampunk to Lemony Snicket and Tim Burton. Although Gorey’s métier was the illustrated novel, his talent and reach extended to other creative realms, including his Tony Award-winning and hauntingly beautiful stage sets and costumes for a 1977 Broadway production of Dracula. Unsettled: The Work of Edward Gorey features many of his famed publications, including several elaborately designed artist’s books and other assorted ephemera and memorabilia.
Unsettled: The Work of Edward Gorey is curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director of the Cranbrook Art Museum, and Judy Dyki, Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art Library, and features works on loan from a local collector. 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.
Often referred to as the transient evidence of everyday life, ephemera is primary source material that spans the entire range of printing and social history, offering direct evidence of our cultural, social, industrial, and technological histories. Because the Cranbrook Archives’ collection of ephemera is so rich and varied, this exhibition focuses on ephemera that illustrates Cranbrook’s social life during the 20th century.
Ranging from printed matter for theatrical productions, family and alumni reunions, and school athletic events, to lecture series and science and art museum exhibitions, these documents present a visually compelling story of the way in which the Cranbrook community has represented its preoccupations, cultural perceptions, and identity over the past century. This is the first of several exhibitions that will feature ephemera from the collections of the Cranbrook Archives.
Ephemera: Fragments that Document Cranbrook’s Social Life was organized by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and curated by Head Archivist Leslie S. Edwards. The Center, which includes Cranbrook Archives, is supported, in part, by the Towbes Foundation of Santa Barbara, California, and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.
The most innovative work from the next generation of architects, artists, and designers will be on display at the 2016 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 80 graduates as they launch their careers.
Photographs of all the artworks in the exhibition are viewable on the Cranbrook Academy of Art website.
See the Exhibition
Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawings 790A and 790B: Irregular Alternating Color Bands(1995) fill the Hartmann Gallery with serpentine bands of bold color applied directly to the wall. A pioneer of Conceptual Art, LeWitt conceived his wall drawings as a medium through which he could explore the concept of serial permutation while mining the tension between art and architecture.Wall Drawings 790A and 790B, like most of LeWitt’s wall drawings, exist only for the duration of the exhibition before being destroyed, privileging the conception of the work over its physical manifestation and demonstrating the artist’s dictum that “The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” Still, the physical form of the work retains an undeniable beauty: LeWitt’s sinuous line and fulsome color together serve as an arresting counterpoint to Eliel Saarinen’s airy interior space.
The 2014 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art opens to the public on April 22, and will showcase work from the next generation of architects, artists and designers who are shaping the future of art and design. The exhibition features pieces that are the culmination of two years of studio work from a diverse group of 75 graduates.
Visitors can see installations such as an outdoor chandelier composed entirely of small bags of water, participate in an interactive virtual video work based on their movements in the gallery and experience a self-activated mechanical arm that brings speakers directly to the listener.
The exhibition will fill the entire 15,000 square feet of Cranbrook Art Museum and surrounding grounds. It is the most diverse exhibition offered all year as it showcases work from across all of the Academy’s 10 departments – 2D and 3D Design, Architecture, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture.
Witness an exploration of Modernism through the examination of two contemporary artworks: Amie Siegel’s The Modernists, a reassembled personal archive of found travel photographs and film footage of an unknown couple during the 1960s-80s; and Terence Gower’s Ciudad Moderna, a re-imagining of a popular 1966 Mexican film where the architecture is presented as the protagonist.
Organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Curator of Contemporary Art and Design Laura Mott.
Cranbrook and the camera grew up together. In the 1920s, as George and Ellen Booth were realizing their dream of a community dedicated to art, science, and education, amateur filmmaking flourished as a newly affordable hobby. These two historical trajectories—that of an educational community and of a medium that has shaped the cultural experience of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—intersect in Cranbrook Goes to the Movies.
The vintage films featured in this exhibition bring the diverse history of Cranbrook’s campus alive in a way never before experienced; through the actual people and objects that populated it. Archival film can feel distant, a relic of days past, and historic objects are too often divorced from their time period and their context. Cranbrook Goes to the Movies reunites the material with the ephemeral, giving physical presence to the vintage films that document life at Cranbrook and placing some of Cranbrook’s treasures in their historic context. An immersive experience, Cranbrook Goes to the Movies provides an avenue into Cranbrook’s past built not on dry text and static images but on the vitality and movements of the people who lived it.
Cranbrook Goes to the Movies: Films and Their Objects, 1925–1975 is 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.
Throughout a career spanning over half a century, former Cranbrook Academy of Art student and instructor Ken Isaacs (b. 1927) radically deconstructed conventional notions of modernism. His Living Structures—hand-made, low-cost, multifunctional furniture and architectural units—challenged ideas of how people could sit, work, and live within their own homes and the broader built environment. Culture Breakers: The Living Structures of Ken Isaacs highlights Isaacs’s time in the 1950s at Cranbrook as both student and head of the Design Department, his experimentations as an educator with environmental learning, and his role within the countercultural community of the 1960s and 1970s, when he gained wider recognition for his populist approach to design.
Featuring works on paper, photographs, film, architectural models, and several reproduced Living Structures—including his earliest configuration which was presented at the 1954 Cranbrook Academy of Art Graduate Degree show—this exhibition examines Isaacs’s role as a nonconformist who created simple, economical, functional systems of living that could be built by anyone. By spreading his designs through mass-instruction instead of mass-production, Isaacs encouraged a do-it-yourself outlook that empowered consumers through the act of making.
Organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Shelley Selim, Cranbrook Art Museum’s 2013-2015 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow.
Andy Warhol envisioned the record cover as a means to popularize his name as an artist and, once he reached iconic status in the 1960s, used it to directly impact popular culture. Designed to be collected by the masses, the records—numbering more than fifty— reinforce his maxim “repetition adds up to reputation.” While only a fortunate few own a Warhol painting, millions own his design for Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers.
The exhibition is drawn from the Cranbrook Art Museum’s preeminent collection of record covers by Andy Warhol, a recent gift by Frank M. Edwards and Ann M. Williams, and premieres three recently discovered covers that have never before been exhibited, including a cover recently discovered last year. Cranbrook has also been loaned a copy of the one-of-a-kind “Night Beat” album cover, making this the most comprehensive exhibition of authenticated record covers to date. The album covers range from the extremely rare to the widely recognizable; together they offer a unique lens to survey the artist’s career from a young graphic designer to a cultural phenomenon. At the same time, the exhibition documents the history of the mass-produced vinyl record and the zeitgeist of these eras through the inclusion of music, video and artworks from the Art Museum’s extensive Andy Warhol collection. Listening booths in the gallery will allow viewers to play select albums, thereby producing an experience between the cover art and the music—rock, classical, opera, jazz, soul, experimental—the way Warhol intended. The exhibition also includes album covers by other musicians that have controversially appropriated Warhol’s imagery and testify to his influence on subsequent generations.
The world-premiere presentation of Warhol on Vinyl: The Record Covers, 1949 – 1987+ was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Curator of Contemporary Art and Design Laura Mott. The exhibition is sponsored by the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Exhibition Fund and the Clannad Foundation.
This first comprehensive survey of Paul Evans’s work, this exhibition will document Evans’s role in the midcentury American studio furniture movement, his approach to furniture as sculpture and abstract composition, and his unremitting new approaches to metal. Opening earlier this year at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and then traveling to Cranbrook Art Museum—the only other venue for the exhibition—Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism will be comprised of some sixty-eight works, spanning the artist’s entire career. It includes choice examples of Evans’s early metalwork and jewelry, collaborative pieces made by Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell during the fifties when they shared a studio, as well as a comprehensive selection of Evans’s studio work representing his sculpted steel; verdigris copper; copper, bronze and pewter; argenté sculpted bronze, and cityscape techniques. The show will also include examples of Evans’s sculpture as well as a selection of work he produced for Directional Furniture Company. The presentation at Cranbrook Art Museum will include work by Evans’s contemporaries selected from Cranbrook’s permanent collection, including the celebrated Shuey Collection, placing his pioneering designs for furniture with the context of concurrent trends in midcentury art and design.
Paul Evans studied Metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1952 and 1953, working with Artist-in-Residence Richard Thomas.
Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism was organized by the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and curated by Constance Kimmerle. The presentation at Cranbrook is supported, in part, by the David Klein and Kathryn Ostrove Exhibition Fund.
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