A look at the Cranbrook Art Museum’s Fall 2021 exhibitions

VSRanbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills has a range of new exhibits for fall 2021. James Haefner: Modern Michigan and Cranbrook Building: Saarinen, Michigan, which opened earlier this month, are architecture-focused photo exhibits, and Allie McGhee: Banana Moon Horn and Olga de Amaral: Weaving a Rock, will debut this weekend and feature the work of two artists with ties to the Detroit metro area.

“This season’s exhibitions underscore the dual mission of the Cranbrook Art Museum, one related to collecting and interpreting the work of influential alumni of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and the accomplishments of Detroit-based artists. Olga de Amaral and Allie McGhee are prominent examples of this mission,” said Andrew Blauvelt, director of the Cranbrook Art Museum, in a press release. “At the same time, we celebrate the impact that Michigan played in the development of modernism in America, and in this regard, Eliel Saarinen’s Cranbrook campus and the more than 40 examples of significant architecture found across the state and captured by photographer James Haefner offer a resounding case for such excellence.

Check out the exhibits below and stop by the Cranbrook Art Museum from 6-9 p.m. tomorrow for a fall 2021 season opener. The event is free for museum members and $20 for visitors. general admission.

James Haefner: Modern Michigan

(Clockwise from left) Melvyn Maxwell and Sara Smith House, W. Hawkins Ferry House, McGregor Memorial Conference Center and Cranbrook Educational Community are among the buildings that photographer James Haefner captured. // Photographs by James Haefner

Photographer James Haefner presented his photo project highlighting Michigan’s Midcentury Modern movement at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum in Saginaw County. Now his work can be seen at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

On view until January 9 James Haefner: Modern Michigan includes photographs of more than 40 buildings, including the GM Tech Center in Warren, the McGregor Conference Center at Wayne State University in Detroit, and the Douglas House in Harbor Springs. Visitors to the exhibition will also find interpretative texts by Brian D. Conway, author of the 2018 book Michigan Modern: an architectural heritage, which features Haefner’s photos.

A public conference with Haefner and Conway will be held at 6 p.m. on November 4. For this event – ​​along with the others associated with the Fall 2021 exhibits – Cranbrook will hold the discussion in person at the museum and stream it live. Interested persons can register online.

Cranbrook Building: Saarinen, Michigan

cranbrook architecture
Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan showcases the work of architect Eliel Saarinen on the Cranbrook campus. // Photographs by James Haefner

Eliel Saarinen is the architect behind the Cranbrook campus. In collaboration with Modern Michigan, the museum also features a gallery of photographs by Haefner of buildings by the Finnish architect.

On view until January 6, Cranbrook Building: Saarinen, Michigan features photographs of Kingswood School, the Art Academy Library and Art Museum, Saarinen House, and more. At 6 p.m. on December 2, the museum will hold a public lecture with Blauvelt, who will discuss the architecture featured in the exhibition.

Allie McGhee: Banana Moon Horn

Allie McGhee, “Fall Rush”, 2013, acrylic and enamel on paper. // Photograph courtesy of the artist and the Hill Gallery

Abstract mixed-media artist Allie McGhee has been part of Detroit’s art community since the 1960s. Her work has been featured in exhibitions across the country and is in the collections of the St. Louis Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Studio Museum of Harlem, etc.

Allie McGhee: Banana Moon Horn – his largest retrospective to date – will feature some of his important past works as well as new pieces created specifically for the exhibition. “I look forward to showcasing the arc of my creative practice through the exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum,” McGhee said in a press release. “For the first time, I will be able to show a wide selection of my work over decades and highlight connections between years of practice.”

The exhibition opens to the public on October 30 and will be at the museum until February 13. McGhee will join Laura Mott, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and Design at the Cranbrook Art Museum, in a conversation at 6 p.m. on November 11 to discuss her work.

Olga de Amaral: Weaving a Rock

Olga de Amaral
Olga de Amaral, “Estelas (Stelae)”, various dates, linen, gesso, gold leaf. // Photography © Diego Amaral

Also starting on October 30 and running until February 13, this exhibition features the work of Latin American artist Olga De Amaral. A student of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the 1950s, Amaral is a textile and visual artist who creates large abstract sculptures. She now lives in Bogotá, Colombia.

Olga de Amaral: Weaving a Rock comprises 40 pieces and spans over five decades of Amaral’s career. The exhibition, which was on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston before traveling to Cranbrook, is the artist’s first major museum retrospective in the United States.

The museum will host a curators’ conference on the exhibition at 6 p.m. on October 30. Mott and Anna Walker, former assistant curator of decorative arts, crafts and design at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, will discuss how Olga de Amaral: Weaving a Rock came together.

For more information on exhibitions and events, visit cranbrookartmuseum.org.

Mildred D. Field