Japanese Vase with Dragon, ca. 1900, Taisho period (1912-1926). Porcelain, silver and lacquer 8 13/16 × 4 5/8 in. (22.4 × 11.7 cm). Gift of Angela E. Garrett in memory of her daughter, Julie A. Garrett 1981.45

Decorative by Design: 250 Years of Japanese Objects

September 16, 2023 - April 23, 2024

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

For centuries little formal distinction existed between all types of Japanese art—from ceramics to sculpture and basketry to paintings. One art form was not more distinguished than another and everything played an equally vital role in the embellishment of people and spaces. The objects in this exhibition range in functionality; however each item reflects the importance of decoration. Whether they are highly detailed, minimalistic, or somewhere in between they each illustrate the concept of kazari, or the art of decoration and ornamentation. Stimulating the senses through viewing, using, or adorning a work of art, kazari highlights the dynamism of Japanese art and illustrates how the mundane world can be transformed into something extraordinary when aesthetics are considered. This exhibition features artwork from the 18th through 20th century from the FIA’s permanent collection and includes objects that were created for the Japanese market as well as for export to Europe and the United States. 

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Henry Wilmer Bannarn, American, 1910 – 1965. Ironing Day, 1949. Gouache on board, 20 × 16 in. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, Inlander Collection L2003.36

American Realism: Visions of America 1900–1950

September 9, 2023 - December 30, 2023

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

Drawn from the collections of the Flint Institute of Arts, Muskegon Museum of Art, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, American Realism highlights paintings, works on paper, and sculpture from the 1900–1950 that capture the evolving experience of 20th century America. The closing of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th century saw massive changes in the American Art scene, as artists, still heavily influenced by Western European art centers, began to aggressively seek to define a new “American Art.” Fueled by trade, industry, and immigration, New York grew into a dominant international city, easily rivaling its European counterparts as a hub of finance and culture. Artists responded to this transformative period with explorations of the changing social scene and growing urban landscape, resulting in a revolutionary time for American art. 

Drawing primarily from the collections of three Michigan museums–the Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art, the show begins in the early 1900s and continues through the 1940s, highlighting artists whose work sought to define the era. The exhibition will feature the works of such well-known artists like Robert Henri, George Bellows, Guy Pene du Bois, Edward Hopper, Peggy Bacon, Reginald Marsh, Hughie Lee-Smith, and many others, including Michigan artists who too sought to define the changing ways of living. Emphasis will be given to women and artists of color active during this period, sharing a deeper look into the stories and lives of the era. 

After its premiere at the Muskegon Museum of Art, American Realism will travel to the Flint Institute of Arts and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

Exhibition Dates:

Muskegon Museum of Art: May 11 – August 27, 2023

Flint Institute of Arts: September 9 – December 30, 2023

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts: January 21 – April 14, 2024

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Cameron Gray, Swiss, b. 1980. Thinking Hurts Too Much, 2013. Video. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, 2013.63

Thinking Hurts Too Much

September 1, 2023 - October 31, 2023

Security Credit Union Gallery

Thinking Hurts Too Much is a slowly scrolling video that incorporates found and manipulated internet footage, creating a panoramic collage of gyrating, pulsing, and writhing characters to expose America’s—and the world’s—desire for the sensational. Cameron Gray pieces together thousands of pop culture images to offer a provocative and poignant depiction of excess and the constant urge to seek new and more extreme visual stimulation. 

The video is an immersive experience that is constantly changing, as your eyes move from one area to the next, dancing across a screen that never stops shifting. In doing so, Gray makes us aware of the passage of time as we witness the reactions of other viewers standing next to us—reminding us of the separation that results from unshared memory.

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Lucienne Bloch, American, born Switzerland, 1909–1999. Progress, 1936 (later state of 1935 edition) Woodcut on paper, 101/2 x 83/4 inches. Gift of Constance Evanoff Knaggs, David G. Knaggs and Michael B. Evanoff in honor of Genevieve and Michael W. Evanoff, 2021.55

On Press: Women Printmakers of the Early 20th Century

July 15, 2023 - October 8, 2023

Graphics Gallery

Despite women taking an active role in the American art scene since the mid-1830s, they still faced many challenges in a male dominated field by the turn of the century. By the early 1900s, the prospect of formal training and having a career as a female artist had become a reality, in part by the support of institutions, programs, and groups that practiced a gender-inclusive and democratic approach to art such as the Art Students League of New York, the American Artists Group, and federally funded opportunities like the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. This exhibition presents works on paper by female artists, from 1900 through the 1950s, who were seizing on these new opportunities and laying the foundation for future generations of artists. The etchings, woodcuts, and lithographs included in the exhibition range from portraits to landscapes and genre scenes that reflect the social realities of the time. Artists in the exhibition include Peggy Bacon, Minna Citron, Lucienne Bloch, and more.

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Bishop Randall, Turtle Island, Waiting on Change, 2022. Sand carved borosilicate, glass and copper. Copper Electroplating: Ryan Fitt and Jared Cortland. Photo Credit: Jared Cortland

Torched: Glass Pipes

April 20, 2023 - October 1, 2023

Harris - Burger Gallery

Featuring glass pipes from some of the most renowned contemporary artists, this exhibition will explore the creative possibilities of functional glass. In the early 1980s, flameworking artist Bob Snodgrass began making small color-changing glass pipes to sell at Grateful Dead concerts. The market quickly grew and a small underground glass community emerged. When the movement began, cannabis was illegal across the United States so artists needed to protect their identities from authorities who might otherwise shut down their studios or pursue legal action. While they needed to keep their artwork covert, they sought new and interesting flameworking techniques, advanced technical aspects of borosilicate glass, and explored the creative possibilities of subject matter and design.

Over the next four decades laws began to change, artists continued to create, and the market for these elaborate objects increased. What was once a taboo artform has made its way to the mainstream artworld and pipes are now being acquired by museums, sold at auctions, and collected by many. Everyday thousands of artists gather their glass rods and light their torches to make pipemaking one of the fastest growing areas of glass production. Although functionality has always been important, artists are experimenting with color, pattern, and form, taking the pipe from a utilitarian object to fine art.

Related Programming:

Flameworking Demonstration & Discussion with Bishop Randall 

FREE Admission

September 16 & 17
SAT 11A – 2:30p | SUN 1 – 4p | HOT SHOP

Bishop Randall will demonstrate his unique flameworking techniques in the FIA’s Hot Shop while creating new original artworks.

SAT 3:30p | FIA Theater | DISCUSSION

Bishop Randall, one of the artists included in Torched: Glass Pipes, has been working in glass for 22 years and is deeply connected to history and place. Randall, who is also a poet and storyteller, will talk with artist and philanthropist Drew Kups about his career, inspiration, and the story of pipes from human’s early relationship with fire to the experiences and stories of contemporary pipemakers. 

Bishop Randall currently lives in Yuba watershed along the San Juan Ridge, California, where he has immersed himself in the history and cultural inheritance of his environment. In addition to working in glass and being a student of Zen, Randall tells stories through poetry. His upcoming book of poems called Animal Droppings has been described as, “a resurgence of collective thought that the place itself has been waiting to be retold. The ending of a time, forgotten tools, medicine, songs of healing, the vision of what might come next, through the lens of everyday life.” 

Drew Kups has been working in glass since 1997. He is the co-founder of the glass collective Urban Pheasant and the co-founder of The Michigan Glass Project. Since 2012, The Michigan Glass Project has hosted an annual festival highlighting pipe artists to raise funds for Art Road Detroit, a nonprofit that brings art classes back to schools. To date, the organization has raised over $500,000 and has assisted in reinstating art curricula for more than 2,200 children throughout Detroit.

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