South India, Karnataka/Maharashtra. Tussi/Thushi Necklace, late 19th century. Gold, precious stones, 19 in. Gift of Dr. Prasad and Jayashree Kommareddi. 2021.277

Meditations in Gold: South Asian Jewelry

May 16, 2024 - February 2, 2025

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

From prehistoric necklaces made of shells and bones to contemporary ornaments of gold and gemstones, jewelry is a universal form of adornment and one of the most accessible forms of art. Since the beginning it has had many functions; to represent cultural beliefs, to indicate status and wealth, to act as a fashion statement, to serve religious purposes, to symbolize relationships and rites of passage, to serve as a type of currency, and as heirlooms connecting families to their heritage, or in some cases to protect the wearer.

With its own mines yielding gold, diamonds, and many other precious and semiprecious stones India has been a vibrant center for wearable arts for centuries. Whether it is an opulent creation covering much of the body or a simple amulet worn around the neck on a cotton string, every detail holds important cultural connections. This exhibition will include jewelry worn for religious, ceremonial, and daily purposes and because every element of jewelry design in India is intentional, it will consider the importance of motifs from the natural and spiritual world. It will also explore why materials—like gold and pearls—are deeply symbolic and how they are utilized to create meaning beyond aesthetics.

Related Programming:

Splendors of South Asia

Saturday, October 19, 2024 | 6:00pm 

Free and open to the public. Registration required  

 7:00pm - Exclusive Cocktail Reception & Intimate Dinner 

 Ticketed event, sponsorship opportunities available. 

 Dress Code: Cocktail/party attire, traditional South Asian attire encouraged 

 The Flint Institute of Arts Museum + Art School (FIA) is pleased to announce the first ever Splendors of South Asia celebration scheduled for Saturday, October 19, 2024. The event celebrates the art, history, and culture of South Asia and aims to further the FIA’s mission of connecting diverse communities through fun, creative and inspiring visual art experiences. The springboard for the Splendors of South Asia celebration began in 2021 with the Kommareddi Family Lecture series and continues with the Meditations in Gold: South Asian Jewelry exhibition on view from May 16, 2024 to February 2, 2025.  The evening will feature a lecture that is free and open to the public, followed by a ticketed event that includes cocktails in the museum and an intimate dinner in Isabel Hall.  Proceeds from the celebration will support education programs and expand the South Asian art collection at the FIA.

[Click here for event registration]

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Colima Mexico. Dog, ca. 200 BCE – 200 CE. Ceramic, 10 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 16 in. Gift of The Ted Weiner Family 2022.134

From Earth to Sky: Ancient Art of the Americas

May 11, 2024 - August 25, 2024

Hodge Gallery Temporary Exhibition Gallery

No written record was left by indigenous peoples living in west Mexico 2,000 years ago, but the clay objects in this exhibition offer clues about how they viewed themselves and their environment. Ceramic sculptures depict men and women in various roles and activities, spanning ages from infancy to old age. Ancestors and rulers are shown to legitimize and memorialize important families. Daily life, whether ceremonial or informal, is suggested with figures who are eating, drinking, playing music and ballgames. Familial and societal bonds are represented through mother-and-child, man-and woman, and warrior figures. Facial gestures, bodily postures, and bodily ornament all suggest unique or group identities.

Spiritual beliefs are reflected in the predominance of shaman figures, symbolic objects, and, most importantly, the fact that these ceramics were buried with the deceased. Like other ancient cultures, these peoples held a strong belief in the afterlife. They buried not only objects conveying social status, but also items to use in the afterlife like clay vessels, shells, and clothing. In west Mexico during this period, burials for honored dead or beloved ancestors took the form of a vertical shaft leading down to a horizontal chamber, which was often underneath the home. Possibly burial chambers were reentered to pay homage to the dead with annual gifts of food and drink, a precursor for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) annual celebration.

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Pablo O'Higgins
American 1904–1983
El Mercado (The Market) from Mexican People portfolio, 1946
Lithograph on paper
15 x 17 5/8 inches 
Gift of Jack B. Pierson, 1987.31.8 

© 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City


May 9, 2024 - September 8, 2024

Graphics Gallery

Considered the most influential and progressive printmaking collective of its time, the Taller de Graficá Popular (TGP) was established in Mexico City in 1937. Following in the footsteps of Jose Posada, Los Tres Grandes and other political artists such as Francisco Goya and Honoré Daumier, the artists of the TGP used the medium of printmaking to address social and political issues as well as to explore their cultural heritage and create a Mexican identity. In 1946 the portfolio Mexican People was published, featuring 12 prints from artists of the TGP. This exhibition will examine the history of the TGP, the portfolio and their messages. 

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Natalia Rocafuerta

American, b. Mexico, 1993

Dream Machine Archive: A Pocha Dream, 2021

Video, 11:34 minutes

Dream Machine Archive: Pocha Dream

May 1, 2024 - July 31, 2024

Security Credit Union Gallery

Dream Machine Archive: Pocha Dream is an excerpt from a “psychodynamic audio and video tool” created by Mexican-American artist Natalia Rocafuerte to assist immigrant women with their own dream interpretation. Using a hotline that was open from 2020 to 2022, Rocafuerte collected dreams from callers in the Detroit metropolitan and South Texas border areas. She then created audio-visual pieces inspired by the dreams, layering distorted sounds and sights, manipulated voices, bright colors, and found images.

Pocha Dream includes a dream titled Dream of Emma and Tony, which won Best Michigan Filmmaker 2021 at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the longest running experimental film festival in the nation. This excerpt also includes advertisements the artist distributed to recruit callers. Natalia Rocafuerta is a graphic artist, video editor, and recent graduate of the University of Michigan (MFA 2022). She grew up on both sides of the Rio Grande Border in Tamaulipas and Texas and became a naturalized US citizen in 2019.

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David Bennett, American, born 1941. Twisting Aries Dancer, 2004 Blown glass, bronze 86 × 48 × 25 in. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation. Photo credit: Douglas Schaible Photography. L2017.29

Fragile Bodies: The Figure in Glass and Clay

October 21, 2023 - June 30, 2024

Harris - Burger Gallery

Of the countless subjects rendered throughout the history of art, none have been more popular than the human body. Fragile Bodies: The Figure in Glass and Clay explores artwork from the FIA’s permanent collection by contemporary artists who have taken the human form as their subject. Whether they are accurately replicating the proportions of the skeleton, its musculature, and details, or presenting something more fluid and abstract, each artist captures one of the most enduring themes in art. 

Whether they are modeling faces out of clay or creating arms, legs, and torsos with molten glass, each artist represents the human form in their own unique manner. The artworks in this exhibition—male and female, clothed and nude, young and old—illustrate the human form’s powerful symbolic potential to embody an idea, to express an ideal, or to embrace that which is vulnerable and human.

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Desiree Kelly. American, born 1990. Shields, 2018. Oil and spray paint on traffic sign 35 × 35 in. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment 2019.13

Made in Michigan

August 19, 2023 - June 2, 2024

Dow Gallery

The artworks in this exhibition were created by artists who were either born in Michigan or spent an extended period of time living and working in the state. It shows the depth of Michigan artists who have depicted landscapes, industrial scenes, and the human form through both realism and abstraction.

Michigan has had a long history of fostering creativity through its various teaching and cultural institutions. These efforts began in the late 19th century when Michigan’s cities became increasingly industrialized. Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and other cities were becoming manufacturing centers, attracting thousands of immigrants from Europe, Canada, and surrounding states. In just a few years, fields gave way to factories, and many Michigan’s cities became sophisticated, urban centers. The powerful individuals who were shaping this new society, confident in its future, sought to extend their interests and influence into all aspects of life, including education, politics, and culture. In this climate of change the first signs of an emerging art community could be seen. Today, this tradition continues as contemporary artists emerge from or move to Michigan.

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