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.
In conjunction with the Flint Youth Media Project, the FIA will exhibit the award winners of the 2023 Flint Youth Film Festival. The Flint Youth Media Project introduces the art of filmmaking to people ages 13–30 and college students regardless of age. In addition to a series of free filmmaking workshops, the program provides opportunities for participants to share their work with peers, professional filmmakers, screenwriters, and the public.
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.
This exhibition presents a selection of paintings by the photorealist painter Rod Penner. A Canadianborn, Texas-based artist, Penner’s work captures the visual dichotomy of forgotten towns in southwest America. Painted in excruciating detail using a small paintbrush, he renders each paint-chipped facade, pavement crack, and aged sign in precise detail. The artworks in this exhibition present a cinematic-like view that explores the desolation and serenity of rural Texas and New Mexico.
Featuring artworks by Surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miro, and Leonora Carrington, as well as contemporary artists like Kenny Scharf, Sergei Isupov, and Peter Milton—Beyond Dreams: Surrealism and Its Manifestations illustrates that the ideology, themes, and techniques of Surrealism are still alive today. Working in a range of mediums like painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and film, these artists have tapped into alternative states of reality, seeking to liberate their imagination. Today, artists have continued to explore common surreal themes such as dreams, fantasy, the uncanny, strange juxtapositions, and the manifestation of fears and desires. The artists in this exhibition have explored these themes through nontraditional techniques and materials in an effort to explore the potential of an individual’s unconscious to create artworks that exist outside of reason.
This exhibition highlights selections from Detroit-based collectors Michael Farrell and Marc Herrick. Collecting together for 20 years, and individually before then, the two have amassed an ever-growing assemblage of artworks across an array of mediums, including paintings, drawings, prints, glass, ceramics, and silver. The artworks included in this exhibition, just a portion of their collection, reveals the pair's interest in the intimate and personal aspect of drawings. During the Renaissance, drawing became the foundation for the academic principles of art. Before artists learned to paint, they learned to draw. This tradition continues today and allows an artist to experiment, study detail, and draft out the main structure before arriving at the definitive work, or it can be the finished piece itself. Drawn to Collect includes preliminary sketches, landscapes, portraits, and narrative scenes from the Farrell-Herrick collection by artists including Isabel Bishop, Reginald Marsh, John Koch, and more.
59 Days is an experimental work by South Korean artist Seoungh Cho that combines lyrical image and sound collages. In his works, Cho focuses on the study of human subjectivity as well as isolation and alienation in relation to culture and landscape. The natural and urban landscapes that Cho depicts often move with a continuous fluidity, shifting from dreamlike abstractions of light to fleeting reflections of objects and people. Figures and their environments are mirrored and diffused through one another, silhouetted with a haunting anonymity that is echoed in the poetic texts and soundscapes that accompany each piece. Born in Pusan, South Korea in 1959, Cho received his BA and MA in Graphic Arts from Hong-IK University, Korea, and an MA in video art from New York University.
In 1974, during a university seminar devoted to cold-working glass techniques, American Studio Glass pioneer Harvey Littleton developed a new process for printing that he called vitreography. Unlike traditional printing methods that utilize wood or metal plates as a tool in image-making, vitreography uses glass plates.
Over the course of thirty years Littleon invited more than 110 visiting artists to his studio to make prints using this process. They experimented with tools like diamond point styluses, etching acids, assorted drawing or scraping instruments, as well as sandblasting. By utilizing these many different tools and techniques they discovered that they could achieve tonal variations, textures, fine lines, and detail. Traditional printmakers, painters, ceramic and glass artists, and sculptors quickly discovered that vitreography allowed them to express themselves in new and interesting ways. This exhibition features vitreograph prints by some of the most well known contemporary glass and ceramic artists.
Exhibition and programming support provided by the IFPDA Foundation
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.
Flameworking Demonstration & Discussion with Bishop Randall
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.
Sentences is a captivating, hypnotic meditation on the poetics of space and language. In 2019 multidisciplinary artist Sara Magenheimer released Beige Pursuit, a collection of writings that included a poem titled Sentences—which Magenheimer then adapted into this work. The video is a look into the elasticity of architectural and social spaces, drawing on and reanimating text from the poem. Sentences appear on screen, slowly warping and swaying to the music. Magenheimer has manipulated the footage so that it never rests, but rather gradually changes color and shape, reminding us that balance is an illusion and that space, like language, is ever changing.
The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama includes one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of 20th century African American art in the world, amassed over decades by Paul Raymond Jones, who was described by Art & Antiques magazine as “one of the top art collectors in the country.” Jones donated the 2,000-plus piece collection to the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama in 2008. The collection includes art in a variety of media from more than 600 artists, including Emma Amos, Jack Whitten, Sam Gilliam, Howardena Pindell, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence, all of whom are represented in this exhibition. These selections display the breadth and depth of the collection, showcasing artists working in a variety of materials and styles from the 1930s to the present day.
Artists frequently draw on their own experiences to create unique works of art, incorporating personal themes such as identity and memory, as well as aspects of the universal human experience. Through styles that range from narrative and figurative to conceptual and abstract, the artists in this exhibition have explored these themes in various ways, and include names such as David Driskell, Karsten Creightney, Tyree Guyton, and Therman Statom.
Expressions presents a selection of works on paper by African American artists acquired by the Flint Institute of Arts over the last decade. Several of these artworks were created through traditional techniques such as drawing, woodcut, lithography, screen printing, and etching. While others have experimented with innovative materials and methods like vitreography and sculpturegraph. Despite their differences in method, all of these works can be seen as personal expressions of the artists who created them.
This volume features four video works by artist Ezra Wube’s, each uniquely referencing time, urban experience and cross-cultural mobility. Born in Ethiopia, Wube is a mixed media artist that lives and works in New York City. His work focuses on the notion of past and present, the constant changing of place, and the tensions between “here” and “there”.
The Wake was filmed at the Invertebrate Zoology department of the Carnegie Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh. In the department there are old cabinets full of categorized butterfly specimens, neatly ordered in drawers. According to the artist, Dana Levy, “ I released 100 live butterflies [into the space] that flew among the dead specimens. The result is as if these dead specimens have now come to life. The work explores themes such as resurrection, life/death, release from captivity to freedom, and the transition from sleep to new consciousness. Leaving behind old memories and ideas to explore new ones. Conveying hope for a new discovered freedom.”
Dana Levy was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and lives and works in New York City. Her work includes cinema, video installations, and photography. Levy earned her Mast of Arts in Electronic Imaging at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee, Scotland and her Bachelor of Arts from University of the Arts London: Camberwell College of Arts.
The process of glass casting has a long, complex history. Although this technique dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome, contemporary artists continue to push its boundaries and create innovative artworks. Unlike blown glass that is manipulated by hand while hot, cast glass
is formed by using a mold. Once the glass is cooled and removed from the mold, artists can further manipulate the surface using coldworking techniques like grinding and polishing. This exhibition will consider the impact of contemporary European glass artists on the history of cast glass.
In the early 20th century several glass manufacturers were making a name for themselves across Europe. They hired artists and designers to create items for production, which in turn, fueled the need for more trained professionals. Schools like Železný Brod Glassworks in the Czech Republic began training the next generation of artists who broke away from manufacturing to focus on glassmaking (including cast glass) as fine art. Because of this, multiple generations of European studio glass artists have adopted the technique and used it to create artwork that emphasizes aesthetics as well as cultural, political, and spiritual themes.
Eager uses clay and stop-motion photography to create a riotous fantasy world populated by a cast of human and non- human creatures united in a state of continuous transformation as they dance, slice each other open, and wear one another’s bodies. Using puppets, in-camera effects, and incorporating materials such as clay, wood, fabric, glue, paint, and wire, Allison Schulnik builds her stop motion clay-mation worlds alone and without any digital manipulation. For this work Schulnik commissioned close friend and composer Aaron M. Olson to create a three-part musical score. Schulnik then choreographed, animated, and edited the film around his song and worked with cinematographer Helder King Sun on cinematic lighting and technical wizardry. Schulink choreographs her characters in compositions that embody the spirit of macabre, where comedy, tragedy, beauty, love, and death fantastically merge in a celebration of life and otherness. Discussing her practice, Schulnik contends, “I like to blend earthly fact, blatant fiction to form a stage of tragedy, farce, and raw, ominous beauty – at times capturing otherworld buffoonery, and other times presenting a simple earthly dignified moment.”
For hundreds of years, artists have been inspired by the imaginative potential of fantasy. Unlike science fiction, which is based on fact, fantasy presents an impossible reality—a universe where dragons breathe fire, angels battle demons, and magicians weave spells. With examples of archetypes from the last few millennia, Enchanted offers a thoughtful appraisal of how artists from long ago to the present have brought to life mythology and fairy tales, as well as modern epics like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. The exhibition includes themes such as children's tales, gods and monsters, knights in shining armor, and much more. Enchanted traces the development of fantasy art from Golden Age illustrators like Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth, to classic cover artists like Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo, as well emerging talents like Anna Dittmann and Victo Ngai.
Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Non-flash photography or video with a hand-held camera or mobile device solely for private, non-commercial use, is permitted in the galleries unless otherwise specified. Selfie sticks are not permitted in the galleries.
“No matter how dark a situation may be, a camera can extract the light and turn a negative into a positive. In creating Flint Is Family In Three Acts, I see the role of photographs as empowering and enacting visible change: in Act I, the photographs bear witness and reclaim history; in Act II, the photographs reveal a hidden narrative; in Act III, the photographs are a catalyst for obtaining resources.” —LaToya Ruby Frazier
Flint Is Family In Three Acts is a multi-part exhibition by renowned artist LaToya Ruby Frazier. For five years, Frazier researched and collaborated with two poets, activists, mothers and residents of Flint, Michigan, Shea Cobb and Amber Hasan, as they endured one of the most devastating ecological crises in U.S. history. Resulting in a monumental oeuvre of photographs, video, and texts Frazier developed Flint Is Family In Three Acts (2016–2021) to advocate for access to clean and safe drinking water for all regardless of race, religion and economic status. The series records stories of surviving and thriving, especially within racialized and marginalized neighborhoods in Flint, to ensure that they remained visible in national debates concerning environmental justice. Drawing inspiration from the urgency in Frazier’s work, which also sheds light on building equitable and inclusive futures Stamps Gallery, part of Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at University of Michigan, initiated a partnership with the Flint Institute of Arts and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University to bring this important exhibition together for the first time in Michigan. As co-presenters of this landmark exhibition our goal is to offer a creative pedagogical platform that reaches broader audiences across Michigan and beyond—Flint is Family: Act I (2016–2017) will take place at the Flint Institute of Arts, Act II (2017–2019) at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, and Act III (2019) at Stamps Gallery. The exhibition served as a catalyst to bring three disparate institutions together to deepen our understanding of individual and institutional agency in advocating for equity, transparency and environmental justice in our respective communities, while also highlighting the role of the artist as an agent for enacting positive social change.
In conjunction with the Flint Youth Media Project, the FIA will exhibit the award winners of the 2022 Flint Youth Film Festival. The Flint Youth Media Project introduces the art of filmmaking to people ages 13–30 and college students regardless of age. In addition to a series of free filmmaking workshops, the program provides opportunities for participants to share their work with peers, professional filmmakers, screenwriters, and the public.
Animals, both real and mythological, have occupied an important place in art from prehistoric to modern times, often carrying a rich variety of symbolic associations. These creatures have served as vehicles for allegory, moral instruction, and have stood as symbols for power and social status. The human relationship with other species is complex and ever-changing with images of animals in art continuing to entertain and inspire us.
From functional to decorative, the artworks in Walk on the Wild Side feature various animal groups from amphibians and reptiles to mammals and the fantastical hybrid creatures. The exhibition, drawn from the FIA’s permanent collection, explores animals and their place in culture through three-dimensional works of various time periods and media including stone, ceramic, and glass.