Mario Moore, American, born 1987. The Drum Rolls on, 2021. Oil on canvas 66 x 48in. Collection of Nancy and Sean Cotton

Revolutionary Times

January 21, 2024 - April 14, 2024

Hodge Gallery Temporary Exhibition Gallery

Revolutionary Times draws from three bodies of work by detroit-native Mario Moore; presenting paintings, silverpoint drawings, and works on paper that focus on American history and current connections to the past. The exhibition begins with his 2021 series New Republic, looking at the role of how Black Union Soldiers saved the nation during the Civil War. By placing contemporary figures in historical contexts, Moore outlines the similarities between the past and our country's current racial and political divisions. Through depictions of anti-slavery abolitionists, his 2022 series Midnight and Canaan explores the relationship between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, and their intertwined history related to the Underground Railroad and the prospect of freedom. His newest series, produced in 2023, looks at the relationship between the Detroit fur trade and the use of Black enslaved bodies for the export and transport of products. In each work Moore is re-inserting Black struggles and triumphs into the canon of art history. The series are tied together by the hard work, labor, liberation and ingenuity of Black citizens that have revolutionized those time periods in comparison to contemporary problems the United States faces as a nation.

Funded by a grant from The McCombs Family Flint Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint

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Shirley Witebsky American, 1925 - 1966,  Sea Star, ca. 1950 Etching on paper, 13 1/4 × 9 in. (33.7 × 22.9 cm), Gift of Jane M. Bingham, 2018.154 

Atelier 17: A Legacy of Modernist Printmaking

January 18, 2024 - April 28, 2024

Graphics Gallery

In 1927 artist Stanley William Hayter opened an experimental printmaking school and studio in Paris. Located on 17 rue Campagne-Première, it became known as Atelier 17 (French for workshop). Unlike other studios at the time, Hayter emphasized collaboration between artists and urged them to explore experimental and innovative printmaking techniques. Throughout the studio’s sixty years in existence, Atelier 17–trained printmakers pushed the boundaries of what was previously thought possible for graphic arts. They pioneered and perfected new methods of marking, inking, and printing matrices that revolutionized printmaking and brought it in line with modernist expression. Key achievements include the revival of engraving, the expansion of soft ground etching beyond its traditional use, and the development of “simultaneous color printing” or “viscosity printing” which produces multicolor prints with a single pass through the press.

The technical experimentation that Hayter fostered at Atelier 17 put the workshop in the vanguard of a development that was to become increasingly important in 20th century art. This exhibition includes artists who studied at the Atelier during their career, focusing on artworks made with the new techniques that were developed out of the studio.

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Georgia b. Smith, American, b. 1989. Cavernous Bodies, 2022.

Video On loan courtesy of the artist

Cavernous Bodies

January 2, 2024 - February 29, 2024

Security Credit Union Gallery

Combining her background in dance and metal fabrication, Georgia b. Smith’s Cavernous Bodies is a performative experiment preoccupied with the bonds and borders between living bodies and nonliving environments. Smith braids speculative design, soft robotics, and object theater together with mechanical automation and human choreography. The set through which performers move, adorned with silicone wearables and tethered to air compressors, is made up of a synthetic tree with pulsing fruit, disembodied lungs, and a landscape of miniature biospheres, isolated within membranes that appear to breathe. Inflatable silicones are programmed to “breathe” alongside human performers, challenging the notion of separateness between beings and things. 

This surreal scene is presented with a droning, mechanical soundtrack accompanied by eerily “natural” clicking sounds made by Smith’s robotic pieces. These wearables, through choreographic transitions, variously appear to be medical, fashionable, symbiotic, or parasitical. 

Smith is an interdisciplinary artist that creates sculptural environments which she activates through performance. Her sculptures become prosthetic parts of performers' bodies or perform themselves through motors, lights, and sound. To Smith, the film is often the end point of each project, becoming an extension of the choreography and capturing a world where the performers, props, and stage are all equally active participants in the performance. Smith received her MFA from the University of Michigan in 2022.

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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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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 14, 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. 

Please note due to unforeseen circumstances this exhibition is closing one week early on April 14, 2024. 

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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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