Asya Reznikov, American, born Russia, 1973. Mapping: 23 minutes, 23 tongues. Single channel, looped video. 23 minutes. Museum purchase, 2007.142


December 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

Asya Reznikov’s work explores how culture, tradition, language, and a sense of home shape and define our identity, as well as the ways immigration, emigration, and travel alter that identity. Mapping records Reznikov writing the names of the seven continents in 23 languages to form the world map. As a childhood political refugee, she is particularly aware of her cultural identity. The imagery is inspired by the myth of the Tower of Babel, personal experience, and data about contemporary language extinction. Reznikov’s use of languages is also an examination of the experience of both otherness and perception.

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Liberty & Co., British, founded London, 1875. Chalice, ca. 1890. Pewter and glass. 6 x 5 x 5 inches. Gift of Janis and William Wetsman, 2016.23

Useful and Beautiful: Decorative Arts Highlights

November 16, 2019 - July 26, 2020

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

Highlighting decorative arts from the FIA collection, this exhibition demonstrates that art can be both beautiful and useful. Decorative arts includes objects such as vases, teapots, dinnerware, and musical instruments. These objects were made with a wide variety of materials, including glass, ceramics, metal, and wood. Decorative arts as a category was created in Europe after the Renaissance in distinction from the “fine arts” of painting and sculpture by designating objects that are utilitarian but also artfully crafted. During the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement in England and the United States, there was a greater appreciation for the decorative arts, with many championing the idea that there was no meaningful difference between fine and decorative. In other cultures, like China, this distinction would not have been relevant, as the most valued works include those that could be categorized as “decorative.”

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Cristallerie de Pantin, French, 1850–1915. Salamander, 1878. 4 1/2 inch diameter. Photo: Paul Dunlop


November 16, 2019 - July 26, 2020

Decorative Arts Corridor

Visitors will delight in the rare and spectacular paperweights in this “postscript” to the Small Worlds exhibition from the FIA collection and private collections. One example is a paperweight similar to one that was featured in a 2012 episode of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. In this exhibition (Rose, Pansy, and Thistle Bouquet by Clichy) features a bouquet of flowers containing Clichy’s signature pink millefiori rose, two thistles cupped by a thick green ring of spurs, and a purple and pale yellow pansy. Similar arrangements of flowers are known, and the Roadshow’s host suggested that it acts as a commemoration of the alliance between England, Scotland, and France during the Crimean War (1853–56).

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William Morris, American, born 1957. Zande Man, 2001. Blown glass, steel stand. 26 x 16 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, L2017.120. Photo credit: Douglas Schaible Photography

Double Take

October 26, 2019 - February 23, 2020

Harris - Burger Gallery

Artists often manipulate the properties of one medium to appear like something else and use the medium to question the subject matter. The contemporary objects in this exhibition build on the historical tradition of trompe l’oeil, which translates from French to “deceive the eye.” While some artists intentionally try to make one material look like another, others are simply exploring the versatility of the medium. These works, such as Robin by Margaret Keelan, employ tradition as inspiration, mimicking objects made in different mediums from various cultures. 

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Karel Appel, Dutch, 1921–2006. Floating Face, 1969. Lithograph on paper. 21 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches. Gift from the Collection of Myron and Barbara Levine, 2018.79. © 2019 Karel Appel Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / c/o Pictoright Amsterdam

Harmony in Expression: The Myron and Barbara Levine Print Collection

October 19, 2019 - January 12, 2020

Graphics Gallery

This exhibition highlights the recent gifts of Myron and Barbara Ruth Levine, who, as collectors, acquired works that held expressive meaning for them. Many of the artists were part of a group in the late 1940s called CoBrA (taken from the first letters of the cities in which they lived: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam), including three of the movement’s founders, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and Guillaume Corneille, who are featured in this exhibition. CoBrA artists were interested in automatism—the act of creating art without conscious thought. In their manifesto, the group stated that they practiced “freedom of color and form.” Other CoBrA artists used the idea of the freedom of form and expression in their works.

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Robert Spear Dunning, American, 1829 - 1905. Still life with Apples, Grapes, and Other Fruits, 1868. Oil on canvas. 17 1/4 x 23 1/4 in. (43.8 x 59.1 cm). Manoogian Collection

Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850-1940

October 5, 2019 - December 30, 2019

Hodge Gallery

From sweeping landscapes to still-life paintings, the striking images in this exhibition reveal the variety of ways artists envisioned American life. Created between 1850 and 1940, the 40 paintings presented take inspiration from both private and public spaces and capture significant events and places in the country’s history. These works offer a glimpse into American life during this period, allowing viewers to reflect on a time gone by. 

Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850-1940 is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and made possible by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Collection. This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative. Generous support is provided by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation.

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Robert Riggs, American, 1896–1970. Limestone Kilns, Wyandotte Chemical Company, Michigan, ca. 1947–48. Tempera on panel. 21 3/4 x 26 1/2 inches. Museum purchase with funds from an anonymous donor in honor of Barbara and the late Bruce Mackey, 2011.322


October 5, 2019 - December 30, 2019

Henry Gallery

The development of industry in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries greatly affected artists striving to capture the spirit of the nation by using local subject matter. This exhibition reflects artists’ reactions to the rapid industrial changes, in both straightforward and complex ways. Some artists portrayed these scenes optimistically, such as Robert Riggs and Alexander Levy, who praised the monumentality of the machine. Other artists, such as Arthur Lehmann, portrayed industry in a more critical light, depicting the human and environmental impact as a dark, foreboding presence.

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