Harry Sternberg, American, 1904 - 2001. Enough!, 1947. Aquatint and etching on paper, 17 3/16 x 13 1/8 in., Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Gift of the Marvin Felheim Collection, 1983/1.222.

The Power of Print

June 18, 2022 - August 21, 2022

Graphics Gallery

In the early 20th century, between the two world wars, a group of artists in the United States used printmaking to shed light on the major issues that faced the country, such as staggering levels of unemployment, economic instability, and poverty. This group, including such names as Adolf Dehn, Blanche Grambs, Harry Gottlieb, Harry Sternberg, and William Gropper were known as Social Realist artists since they used art to not only express their point of view but also as an instrument to bring about social change. Printmaking was an influential tool as it was more affordable and accessible than other forms of art—both for artists to create and for people to purchase. The Power of Print will feature works from Social Realist artists that address the major concerns of the early 20th century, many of which are still relevant today, including working conditions, fascism, racism, and women’s roles.

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Gerhardt Knodel, American, born 1940 The Journey: Departure, n.d. Mixed textiles 132 x 84 inches. Courtesy of the artist Photo credit: P D Rearik.

Minglings: A Journey Across Time

April 9, 2022 - October 9, 2022

Harris - Burger Gallery

Minglings: A Journey Across Time explores a contemporary fiber artist’s engagement with the past. Inspired by a tapestry remnant from China’s Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), Gerhardt Knodel embarked on an exploration into the potential of how this fabric from another time and place could inform his present work. While portions of the tapestry were deteriorating, Knodel isolated 40 separate fragments that included images of butterflies, flowering branches, undulating lines, and a blue sky. Each small piece of finely woven silk became a new composition of abstracted, incomplete subjects that he could re-create.

Featuring a series of drawings, fiber artwork, and mixed-media objects, the exhibition will lead you on a journey between cultures, beginning in China and arriving at the artist’s studio in Pontiac, Michigan. These works will also show how beautiful objects migrate through time, carrying with them their cultural identity but also being reinterpreted in the context of the current pandemic. Minglings demonstrates how the past is never dead in the hands of the artist, offering the opportunity for rediscovery and reconsideration.

Knodel’s studio practice spans nearly 50 years, 37 of them invested as Artist- in-Residence, then director, and now Director Emeritus of Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has exhibited internationally and is a recipient of numerous awards, including the American Crafts Council 2018 Gold Medal and the Distinguished Educators Award from the James Renwick Alliance of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Gerhardt Knodel gives a talk on his workshop and works.


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Maya Culture Guatemala. Cocoa Jar with Monkeys, ca. 800 – 1200 CE. Clay 20 x 10 in. Gift of Robert Drapkin 

Walk on the Wild Side

August 6, 2022 - February 5, 2023

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

Animals, both real and mythological, have occupied an important place in art from prehistoric to modern times, often carrying a rich variety of symbolic associations. These creatures have served as vehicles for allegory, moral instruction, and have stood as symbols for power and social status. The human relationship with other species is complex and ever-changing with images of animals in art continuing to entertain and inspire us. 

 From functional to decorative, the artworks in Walk on the Wild Side feature various animal groups from amphibians and reptiles to mammals and the fantastical hybrid creatures. The exhibition, drawn from the FIA’s permanent collection, explores animals and their place in culture through three-dimensional works of various time periods and media including stone, ceramic, and glass.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat, American, 1960 - 1988. Untitled (Self-Portrait), 1982-83. Oil on wood, 20 x 20 in. Courtesy of Rubell Museum 

Being Human: Contemporary Art from the Rubell Museum

May 14, 2022 - August 28, 2022

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

This exhibition explores the diverse world of contemporary art through the lens of the Rubell Museum’s collection. Art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries generally defy categorization and the “-isms” common in previous stylistic movements. However, the works selected from the Rubell Collection for this exhibition share the common theme of depicting the complexity of experiences that make us human.  Through painting, sculpture, and photography, these artworks ignite emotional responses to various issues, including gender, race, sexuality, embodiment, identity, love, life, and death. By contemplating the past, present, and future, artists interpret their own and others’ existence through a thought-provoking visual vocabulary that transcends the limits of language.

Not meant to be an exhaustive or universal picture of contemporary art, Being Human highlights some of the best works and artists from the Rubell Museum, located in Miami, Florida, some of which will be seen at the FIA for the first time. Nor is this exhibition meant to fully capture what it means to be human, but rather to show some of the ways artists have dealt with complex realities, pointing out willful or inadvertent blindness to what’s all around us. In an era of doubt, confusion, and disconnect, this exhibition presents unique perspectives, not necessarily providing answers, but offering the way art provokes contemplation, understanding, compassion, and introspection.

The Rubell Family Collection was established in 1964 in New York City, shortly after its founders Donald and Mera Rubell were married. It is now one of the world’s largest privately owned contemporary art collections. In addition to displaying internationally established artists, they also actively acquire, exhibit, and champion emerging artists working at the forefront of contemporary art.

Organized by the Flint Institute of Arts and the Rubell Museum

Sponsored by

   Friends of Modern Art

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