CRANBROOK SIGHTING #9 Sighter: Shelley Selim Sighted: Eliel Saarinen, Helsinki Central Railway Station Location: Helsinki, Finland Date: July 4, 2012 There was a two week block of last summer when at any given moment I could be found clapping, beaming, and prancing with merriment; arms open to our joyous earth’s embrace. No, I hadn’t finally completed my master’s degree (that would come later—with commensurate celebrating in its own right), but rather had landed on Nordic soil, where I completed the remainder of my graduate coursework studying Scandinavian design amidst the incredible apples and countrysides of Sweden and Finland. How befitting that on our American day of independence, I disembarked in Finland, a country that was also shaped by the struggle for its own autonomy (a struggle which persisted for centuries longer than that of the Tories and the Patriots, I might add). That morning I launched my tour-laden itinerary with a walk to the hub of ...Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING #7 Sighter: Leslie S. Edwards Sighted: MacDonald Building, J. Robert F. Swanson, Architect, and Pipsan Saarinen Swanson Interiors Location: Harbor Springs, Michigan Date: April 2, 2013 Taking a cue from Chad’s road trip, I decided to seek out Cranbrook-related architecture during my recent spring break trip “up north” to our family’s summer home in Goodhart. Since my family has summered up north for over 40 years, I already knew that many Cranbrook artists and architects vacationed there as well. In fact, many built their own homes and cottages just down the road from ours. This time I was in search of the MacDonald building in Harbor Springs – a design that I recently discovered was a Swanson and Associates project. The Swansons had a long association with Cranbrook – J. Robert F. (“Bob”) was a classmate of Harry Booth’s at University of Michigan’s School of Architecture, and he acted as interpreter for Swedish-speaking ...Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING #6 Sighter: Chad Alligood Sighted: Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church, 1940-42; Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church, 1964; Harry Weese’s Cummins Engine Company Tech Center, 1968 Location: Columbus, IN Date: February 22, 2013 Part one of my road trip from Michigan to Kentucky brought me to the doorstep of Eero Saarinen’s Miller House in Columbus, IN. Here, then, I submit for your consideration part two: the rapid-fire highlights of my whirlwind, self-cobbled tour of Cranbrook in Columbus.3:02 PM, Friday afternoon: I need to be in Louisville, KY—about 75 miles away—by 5 PM. Short on time but long on curiosity, I decide to hit as many of the Cranbrook-related local gems of modern architecture as possible before I hit I-65 South. 3:04 PM: I wander out of the Columbus Area Visitor’s Center, map in hand, attempting to plot an architecturally significant route while walking. As I ponder which cool building is closest, I look up from ...Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING #5 Sighter: Chad Alligood Sighted: Eero Saarinen’s Miller House, 1953-57 Location: Columbus, IN Date: February 22, 2013 I love a good road trip. Chintzy roadside attractions, late-night caffeine stops, full-blast radio singing—I’m quite at home behind the wheel at 65 MPH. Road trips satisfy my compulsion to wander while feeding my admiration of classic American kitsch. My recent talk at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft provided the perfect excuse for a meandering journey from Michigan to Kentucky in my trusty ’91 Toyota Camry. At the behest of our preparator extraordinaire and resident design nerd Mark Baker, I scheduled a stop in Columbus, Indiana on the way down. Why Columbus, you might ask? The answers are so awesome and numerous that they require two blog posts. The first, and perhaps awesomest, is Eero Saarinen’s Miller House. Eero completed a relatively small number of residential commissions in his lifetime; Miller House certainly counts among ...Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING #3 Sighter: Chad Alligood Sighted: Daniel Libeskind’s World Trade Center site, 2003- Location: New York City Date: January 3, 2013 Over the recent holiday, I spent a glorious week in New York City, where I had lived for three years before accepting my position at Cranbrook. During my stay, I caught up with good friends and former colleagues, revisited old stomping grounds, and reconnected with important burritos of my past (El Centro in Hell’s Kitchen). Of course, as a museum professional and art historian, I also reveled in the sheer breadth of art experiences available to denizens of Gotham. At Ann Hamilton’s installation at the Park Armory, I swung on a giant swing in the company of pigeons and robed monklike actors. At the divine Ferdinand Hodler show at Neue Galerie, I faced the artist’s unflinching, obsessive portraits of his dying lover and muse. And at the Rosemarie Trockel retrospective at the New ...Read More
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