Whitfield Lovell, American, born 1959. Epoch, 2001. Charcoal on wood and found objects. 77 1/2 x 55 x 17 1/2 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards, by exchange, 2002.13

Community

January 26, 2020 - April 19, 2020

Hodge Gallery Henry Gallery

Community is defined as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, especially one practicing common ownership.” In a museum, community is not simply people living in the same place, but individuals coming to a shared space to enjoy the common ownership of their museum collection. In this spirit, Community celebrates works by African American artists in the Flint Institute of Arts collection. 

This exhibition features works in various mediums by some of the most important artists from the 20th century to present day, exploring themes related to community, including ideas of history and place, identity and representation, and social justice and self-expression. Works by Romare Bearden, Chakaia Booker, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith, Renee Stout, Kara Walker and Yvonne Wells, among many others, are included. 

Unique to this exhibition, visitors may vote for one of three works on loan by artists not currently in the collection. Voting will take place through March 8, 2020. Using funds raised by the Community Gala, the work with the largest number of votes will be purchased by the museum. The voting process and subsequent purchase reinforce the notion that the objects in the FIA’s collection belong to the public while emphasizing the collection’s capacity for change and future growth.

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Still from Red Sourcebook, 2018, HD video. Courtesy of the artist.
Ilana Harris-Babou, American. Red Sourcebook, 2018. 4 minutes, 12 seconds. Single channel video.

Red Sourcebook

February 1, 2020 - February 29, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

Red Sourcebook was one of three videos exhibited at the 2019 Whitney Biennial by artist Ilana Harris-Babou. In all three, she uses humor and the language of advertising to draw attention to the ways high-end home furnishing brands often gloss over histories of oppression and inequality in the United States. Red Sourcebook juxtaposes imagery and text from Restoration Hardware catalogues with manuals on redlining, the discriminatory mortgage lending practice that effectively prevented many African Americans from buying homes.

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Viola Frey, American, 1933-2004. The Decline and Fall of Western Civilizations, 1992. Ceramic and glazes. 95 x 2020 x 66 inches. Artists’ Legacy Foundation, Oakland, CA. 2019 © Artists’ Legacy Foundation / Licensed by ARS, New York.

Monumental: The Art of Viola Frey

March 14, 2020 - June 14, 2020

Harris - Burger Gallery

Over the course of her 50-year career, Viola Frey (1933–2004) produced an impressive body of artwork, including ceramic sculpture, bronze sculptures, paintings, and drawings, and explored the mediums of glass, ceramic, and photography. Frey found her unique style and visual vocabulary in her lifelong fascination with art history, the human form, and the mass-produced trinkets she collected at flea markets. From small glass vessels to her 17 foot long ceramic masterpiece The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization (1992), this exhibition will include artwork from her Western Civilization series, many of which have never been on display in the Midwest.

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Robert Arrington, American, born 1950. Self-Portrait, 1985. Etching and silkscreen on paper. 12 13/16 x 9 15/16 inches. Gift of Mr. Jack B. Pierson, 1986.3

Political and Personal: Images of Gay Identity

April 18, 2020 - July 12, 2020

Graphics Gallery

This exhibition features selections from the Jack B. Pierson Print Collection, which contains 856 works on paper by 404 artists from around the globe. A native of Flint, Pierson was employed by General Motors following WWII, and later moved to Long Island with his life-long partner, Robert Martin Purcell. In 1976, following Purcell’s death, Pierson began donating his print collection to the FIA, and continued to do so until his death in 1997. Political and Personal sheds light on the important role sexual identity played in informing his collecting habits, and highlights the work of several gay artists. In addition, the works of heterosexual artists are featured, contextualized through their homoerotic subject matter or the supportive context of their political message.

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Alexis Rockman, Forces of Change

Alexis Rockman: Great Lakes Cycle

May 9, 2020 - August 16, 2020

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

A multi-faceted exhibition by New York-based artist Alexis Rockman will examine the forces—past, present, and future—shaping the Great Lakes, one of the most emblematic and ecologically significant environments in the world. The project features all new work by the artist based on his travel, interviews and extensive research in the Great Lakes Region.

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle is organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, with support generously provided by the Wege Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Frey Foundation, and LaFontsee Galleries and Framing.

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Nathalia Edenmont, Swedish, born Ukraine, born 1970. Eden, 2012. C-type print mounted to glass. 60 1/4 × 68 7/8 in. (153 × 175 cm)

Beauty and Pain: Photographs by Nathalia Edenmont

May 9, 2020 - August 16, 2020

Henry Gallery

In this exhibition, Nathalia Edenmont explores the themes of fruitfulness and loss, as well as beauty and pain, through her large-scale photographs of women and nature. Edenmont is a Swedish-Ukrainian artist who draws on her life experience, using the camera as a tool to create a unique vision of the world. Her photographs feature carefully staged elements focused on a solitary (usually female) figure against a solid color background. At first the works appear simply to be beautifully orchestrated creations, however, upon further contemplation, these photographs reveal deeper meanings. 

In her studio in Stockholm, Sweden, Edenmont works with a team of eight to twelve people over ten to twelve hours to compose a single “shot.” Using a large-format Sinar camera with 8 x 10 film and many lenses, she has two camera assistants—both professional photographers—a hair stylist, and a dressmaker. It is Edenmont herself behind the camera, communicating, talking with the model, and waiting for the perfect instant to capture the model’s soul on film. 

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Lauren Kelley, American, born 1975. Pickin’, 2007. Color-coupler print. Courtesy of Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture

January 24, 2021 - April 18, 2021

Hodge Gallery Henry Gallery

Posing Beauty in African American Culture explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through a diverse range of media including photography, film, video, fashion, advertising, and other forms of popular culture such as music and the Internet. Throughout the Western history of art and image making, the relationship between beauty and art has become increasingly complex within contemporary art and popular culture. The exhibition challenges contemporary understanding of beauty by framing notions of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular cultures, and politics.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture is curated by Deborah Willis and organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.

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