Designs of the Times is the third exhibition in the Cranbrook Archives ephemera series. The exhibition, which represents Cranbrook’s diverse audiences by exploring both design and history, illustrates the impact of new technologies and the information age on the poster medium as visual communication. Organized chronologically, the exhibition documents the curatorial, educational, musical, scientific, social, and theatrical events that have enhanced and enriched the Cranbrook community for more than a century. The posters provide a forum for study, not only of historical events but also of the way they are represented through the poster as a social and cultural medium, reflecting the evolution of poster design in response to the changing needs of society.

Designs of the Times: 100 Years of Posters at Cranbrook was organized by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and curated by Head Archivist Leslie S. Edwards and Archivist Gina Tecos. The Center, which includes Cranbrook Archives, is supported, in part, by its patrons, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Towbes Foundation of Santa Barbara, California.

Empire is the 1964 film by Andy Warhol that consists of eight hours and 24 minutes of continuous slow motion footage of the Empire State Building in New York City. The presentation at Cranbrook Art Museum will show in in Wainger Gallery, and relate to Lou Reed, Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe. According to Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum Christopher Scoates, Warhol’s Empire shares Reed’s rejection of conventional time. Like Warhol’s film, Reed’s Metal Machine Music relied heavily on sustained or repeated motifs (in this case sound, not images) to produce a work that relied on duration and the concept of time to experience the complete work. Warhol projected the film at a slower rate than it had been filmed, producing a repeated and sustained— almost hypnotic—“visual pitch” or “drone,” much like Reed’s Metal Machine Music.

No Object is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection is the provocative exhibition that will reopen the expanded and renovated Cranbrook Art Museum at Cranbrook Academy of Art on November 11, 2011. Inside and around the landmark building, designed by renowned Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, the exhibition will pair the work of 50 leading contemporary artists and designers with an equal number of objects from Cranbrook’s outstanding permanent collection of 20th- and 21st-century art and design. Visitors will discover a Nick Cave Soundsuit side-by-side with a tapestry by Arts and Crafts master May Morris. A conceptual partnership that Maarten Baas projects between himself and Marc Newson meets a very real early collaboration of Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames. And Whitney Biennalist Tony Mattelli’s hyperrealist sculpture, The Hunter, faces off with one of fellow sculptor Kate Clark’s ravishing taxidermy beasts with a human face.

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Cranbrook Academy of Art is delighted to present its annual exhibition of work by the 2012 class of Masters of Fine Arts and Masters of Architecture students in the newly renovated galleries of Cranbrook Art Museum. The Academy’s program is interdisciplinary in orientation, representing the crossing and merging of mediums as well as the investigation and use of content from diverse areas of thought. The exhibition of these 79 emerging artists reflects the culmination of their time spent at the Academy and ranges from painting and sculpture to video, photography and installation.

George Nelson is considered one of the most influential figures in American design during the second half of the twentieth century. Operating from the western side of Michigan as Design Director at the Zeeland-based furniture manufacturer Herman Miller for more than twenty years, Nelson had his sights firmly focused on Cranbrook, which was also playing a defining role in the development of Modernism.

Organized by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, George Nelson: Architect/ Writer/ Designer Teacher is the first comprehensive retrospective of Nelson’s work. It has been touring in Europe and most recently in the United States at the Bellevue Art Museum in Seattle. Cranbrook is the final stop in the US tour and the last opportunity to see this major exhibition before the work returns to Germany.

More than 120 three-dimensional objects including examples of chairs, benches, desks, cabinets, lamps, and clocks, as well as over 50 historical documents, such as drawings, photographs, architectural models, and films, form the core of the exhibition. Nelson was responsible for the production of numerous furnishings and interior designs that became modern classics, including the Coconut Chair (1956), the Marshmallow Sofa (1956), the Ball Clock (1947), the Bubble Lamps (1952 onwards).

George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher is an exhibition of the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany. The American tour of the exhibition has been generously sponsored by Herman Miller. Herman Miller also is the presenting sponsor of the exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum. Additional support for the exhibition at Cranbrook is provided by the Alden B. Dow Home & Studio. Promotion of the exhibition is supported by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.


“Vision and Interpretation: Building Cranbrook, 1904-2012” presents the architectural legacy of Cranbrook as an artistic narrative emerging from the visionary ideas of George Gough Booth. During the early 1900s, Booth’s vision was realized through collaborations with renowned architects and craftsmen, including Albert Kahn and Eliel Saarinen. More recently, the campus has been interpreted by contemporary designers offering contrasting and complementary projects on the National Historic Landmark site. “Vision and Interpretation” is a collaboration between Cranbrook Art Museum and Cranbrook Archives.

Also opening on November 17, 2012 and running through Sunday, March 17, 2013 is sculptor Soo Sunny Park’s large-scale installation SSVT (South Stafford, Vermont) Vapor Slide (2007). The exhibit combines quotidian materials – chain link fence, plastic cups, paper clips, river rocks – in imaginative ways, crafting a dazzling environment of ethereal light and space.

Park, a 2000 alumna of Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Sculpture Department, created the work in response to the undulating, snowy hills of South Strafford, Vermont. The installation uses chain link fence, a conventional boundary demarcation, to fashion a space through which viewers move rather than as a method of impeding access. In doing so, SSVT (South Strafford, Vermont) Vapor Slide becomes a spellbinding meditation on the interstitial spaces we encounter every day and the myriad possibilities hidden within.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Soo Sunny Park moved to the United States of the age of eleven and grew up in Georgia and Florida. Before studying at Cranbrook, she received her BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. She currently is a Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College and is preparing for a retrospective that will open at Rice University in Texas in April 2013, immediately after her installation closes at Cranbrook.

Within the wanderlust embodied in Alec Soth’s photographs is an impulse to uncover narratives that comprise the American experience. “From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America,” organized by the Minneapolis-based Walker Art Center, will open at Cranbrook Art Museum November 17, 2012, and run through March 30, 2013. It is the first major U.S. survey to explore the past 15 years of work by one of the most compelling voices in contemporary photography. While Soth’s practice has taken him throughout the world, the Cranbrook exhibition focuses specifically on his pictures made in the United States.

Featuring over 100 photographs, the presentation includes early black-and-white images of Minneapolis working-class taverns, as well as examples from his well-known series Sleeping by the Mississippi, NIAGARA,Fashion Magazine, The Last Days of W, Soth’s major new series, Broken Manual, as well as other bodies of work not exhibited until now. Soth will also debut a new body of work at Cranbrook that will be the result of a “road trip” the artist will be taking across Michigan in the weeks leading up to the presidential election in November.

Soth’s distinct perspective is one in which the act of wandering, the method of embracing serendipity when seeking out his subjects, and the process of telling are as resonant as the photographic record of his remarkable encounters. When considered together, these pictures probe the idiosyncrasies of people, objects and places he discovers on his journeys, and form an offbeat and absorbing portrait of the American experience.

From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and made possible by generous support from Carol and Judson Bemis, Jr., Marilyn and Larry Fields, Linda and Lawrence Perlman, and Geri and Dar Reedy.

What happens when emerging architects, artists, and designers get together and throw themselves a party? Find out at the “2013 Graduate Degree Exhibition,” one of the largest and most exciting exhibitions of art and design in the country, opening on April 21 at Cranbrook Art Museum.

The annual Degree Show of Cranbrook Academy of Art is the culmination of two years of studio work at the nation’s top-ranked independent graduate school of architecture, art and design. This is the same show that launched the careers of Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Massamichi Udagawa, Anne Wilson, Hani Rashid, Nick Cave, Tony Matelli, Ed Fella, Lorraine Wild, Martin Venezky, Beth Katleman, Sonya Clark, and many more.

The exhibition takes place in almost 15,000 square feet of galleries at Cranbrook’s historic Eliel Saarinen designed Art Museum. The Museum has recently undergone a $22 million renovation and expansion that is creating one of the most significant exhibition and research facilities in the United States.

The Cranbrook Academy of Art painting department was instrumental in shaping the artistic lives of hundreds of students through graduate student studio work, public exhibitions, and youth programs. Drawing entirely from the collections of the Cranbrook Archives, this exhibition is comprised of selections of historic photographs, exhibition announcements and catalogs, press releases, and artists’ correspondence. Highlights include the role Cranbrook painters played in the New Deal arts programs in the 1930s and 1940s, creating numerous murals for public buildings throughout Michigan.

Teaching and Exhibiting Painting at Cranbrook 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 its Charter Patrons, the Towbes Foundation of Santa Barbara, California, and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation