Looking Beyond the Traditional

Timelines by Christine Mauersberger (detail) Photo: Steve Wagner

The exhibition Beyond Materials: Woven Values at the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan's Work Gallery. Takes a look at textile art outside the traditional. Beyond Material is curated by Kate Garman.  
Beyond Material has been shown in two other iterations before the Ann Arbor venue and featuring other artists, at Grand Valley State University Padnos Art Gallery and East Lansing’s Scene Metrospace gallery. The show features artwork that reflects the history of fiber work (which has traditionally been viewed as a "craft") as textile based art moves forward as an ever evolving, viable art medium. The exhibition is up until October 3, 2015. 

Timelines by Christine Mauersberger. Photo by the artist.

Interactive Art

 These photos are from the Nick Cave exhibition HereHear at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The exhibition is up until October 15, 2015. The show has featured interactive happenings throughout the metro Detroit area and there are still a couple of events coming up. You can check the Cranbrook museum website for more information.

Kehinde Wiley in Cleveland

  Kehinde Wiley, Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps (Self-Portrait),Oil on canvas, 2005

 Artist Kehinde Wiley will speak at Cleveland Museum of Art's Gartner Auditorium, Saturday August 29th at 2:00. His beautiful work harks back to an earlier style while creating very modern portraits. Wiley's recent one man exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum was very well received by the art world and the public, alike. The Cleveland lecture is part of the Cleveland Public Library's The Lockwood Thompson Dialogues.

Kehinde Wiley Triple Portrait of Charles I, oil and enamel on canvas. Triptych, 2007, 

A Phoenix in Saginaw

The Saginaw Art Museum in Saginaw, Michigan is a perfect example of a group of people who came together because they did not want to see another loss in a city and state that has already lost so much. I grew-up in a suburb of Flint, Michigan so I understand how hard it has been for these places to hold on in the wake of the loss of jobs, people, tax support, state support, etc. However, a group of Saginaw citizens led by a strong and generous board and a savvy leader, not only saved this museum, but brought it back promising to be much more than it was ever before. You can read about the renaissance here and if you find yourself in the Mid-Michigan area, you will definitely want to drop in. I am currently working with the museum  as a consultant to re-establish and re-open their gift shop. Our plan is to have the shop fully stocked with unique products in September.

The Last Hurrah

Rooms to Let in Slavic Village in Cleveland

There was a uplifting art happening in Cleveland last weekend called "Rooms to Let."  It was the second such event where foreclosed and abandoned houses in a hard hit area of Cleveland (houses that are scheduled to be demolished) are turned over to artists, who give them one last celebratory and dignified, send-off.

 Artist: Dana Depew
 Artist: Dana Depew
The houses are all roughly a hundred years old and the last few years have been less then their best years. They are filled with character, beautiful wood, built-in china cabinets, window seats, etc., but what the artists focus on, for the most part, are that the houses are also filled with the lives of their former occupants. The houses sheltered people whose lives cry out to be celebrated before the tangible evidence of their exsistence is gone forever. We as a society, especially one hard hit by its changes like Cleveland's Slavic Village, are too quick to erase the past as we rush toward the future and we often don't realize what has been lost until it is no longer there. "Rooms to Let" stops us in our tracks and makes us look at these places, see the beauty, enjoy some music, laugh and talk with people, honor these structures and the families who lived and loved in them.

 Artist: Christine Mauersberger
 Artist: Christine Mauersberger
 Artist: Christine Mauersberger
Having become blighted and a burden on the neighborhood, the city has no choice but to tear them down. This has been the story for many rust belt cities who deal with a loss of population and aging housing stock. For one more weekend though, people filled rooms, created music, gathered around them and enjoyed life. It was a celebration of the service of the houses as dwellings and the lives of the people who lived in them.

 Artist: Jeff Chiplis
 Artist: Paul Sydorenko

Traveling to Paradise

Angel Fish, menu cover, 1939 by Frank Macintosh for the S.S. Lurline, Matson Line.

Before the advent of jet engine travel tourists made the trip to Hawaii by cruise liner. The S.S. Lurline owned by the Matson line was the flagship of the line. Frank Macintosh created lovely idealized scenes of Hawaiian life in the art deco style.

Good News

The Wedding Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, c. 1566, Detroit Institute of Arts.

The New York Times reports that the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts is no longer in danger of being sold as part of the Bankruptcy filed by the City of Detroit. This is very good news for not only the DIA, Detroit and Michigan, but for any art lover that enjoys access to masterpieces through public museums. Do yourself a favor and visit this collection if you can, there are some very fine pieces and you won't regret it.

Capturing Beauty

There is an exhibition of the work of Sandusky, OH artist Charles Courtney Curran at The Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, now through February 1, 2015. He studied in Paris and split his time between New York and North Central Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. The exhibition is titled Charles Courtney Curran: Seeking the Ideal and his definitely captures an idealized and beautiful life full of lovely settings and people, but don't we all like a look into an ideal world once in a while?

The Price We Pay

Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Holman Hunt, 1868

Many years ago a friend and I attempted to visit The Delaware Art Museum. We drove up from Baltimore during the day and when we arrived at the museum, we found the building was closed because a protestor had chained himself to the front entrance to protest the DuPont Annual Meeting taking place inside the museum. Now, at that time in the early 1990's the DAM had the best collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the US and having just completed a thesis on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, I was anxious to see their collection - I never got to.

I read an article in the New York Times in August that the Delaware Art Museum was arbitrarily and against the advice of the American Association of Museum Directors, divesting themselves of many of the most important pieces in their collection based on monetary, rather than curatorial, decisions. My feelings about the museum came to the surface again, disappointment and disbelief.

The image above is the painting they sold which they anticipated getting upwards of 13 million for, but it only realized 4.2 million (before auction commissions) I wonder if they think it was worth it now. The word is that two more pieces of the collection will go up for sale soon to pay a debt incurred for a construction project, soon there will be less to adorn those new walls.

Saving The Past for the Future

St. Hedwig by Joseph Felix Męcina-Krzesz, 1914, Location of Original Unknown.
The Museum of Divine Statues in Lakewood, OH is housed in the old St. Hedwig Catholic Church and this lithograph image of the Saint for whom it is named was gifted to the museum. The museum features rescued and restored Catholic religious statuary from many of the churches in the area that have been closed in the last few years. It also has a fine collection of stained glass, as well as, furnishings, fixtures, and other artwork from many area churches.