In conjunction with the Flint Youth Media Project, the FIA will exhibit the award winners of the 2020 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.
All of this years entries can be viewed on the Flint Youth Film Festivals YouTube channel from July 1-18.
Referencing the past, present, and future, Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle examines the shaping of one of the most important freshwater systems—the Great Lakes. Considered one of the most ecologically significant environments in the world, the lakes are habitats for more than 3,500 species of amphibians, birds, fish, and plants. The artworks in this exhibition—including five 12-foot panoramic paintings—are based on the artist’s extensive research. While celebrating the natural majesty and global importance of the Great Lakes, Rockman also explores how one of the world’s most significant ecosystems is threatened by human forces including climate change, pollution, invasive species, mass agriculture, and urban sprawl.
Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycleis 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.
Surveying highlights of Nathalia Edenmont’s photography from 2007 to 2018, this exhibition reveals how her work and life are intertwined. Her early work focuses on the loss of her mother when she was a teenager. That life-changing experience shaped her artistic philosophy, with the artist stating that “there is no beauty without pain or pain without beauty, and in my mind, they are the same.” Her later work in the Fruitfulness series reflects her struggle with infertility. The women in these images—who are often a stand-in for the artist herself—also emanate power, showing control with their gesture and expression, conveying the idea that there is healing to be found through art.
Closing soon, this exhibition examines Jan Matulka’s role in the development of modern art in the United States, focusing on the students he taught and other early modernist artists who were similarly approaching their art. Born in Vlachovo Březí, Bohemia, in 1890, Matulka immigrated to the United States where he studied at the National Academy of Design in New York. After graduating, he traveled to Paris, experiencing first-hand the avant-garde through exhibitions he visited and artworks he studied. While living in New York City, Matulka taught at the Art Students League, where he became the first instructor to introduce modern art to his students.
In a warehouse, artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss build a structure made out of common household items. Then, with fire, water, gravity, and chemistry, they create a self-destructing performance of physical interactions, chemical reactions, and precisely crafted chaos.
Soot follows a narrative of hand-drawn figures whose forms are constantly changing, erasing, and appearing. The artist switches the medium from charcoal on paper to marker on plexiglass throughout and manipulates the paper by tearing and taping. Erin Pollock graduated from Whitman College and did postgraduate studies at Gage Academy in Seattle and Studio Art Centers International in Florence before receiving an MFA from the New York Academy of Art, where she is currently a postgraduate Fellow.
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.
Community highlights some of the most important African American artists in the FIA’s collection. Through paintings, sculpture, drawings, and photographs, this exhibition shows the diversity as well as the commonalities of African American art, encompassing thematic areas of people, place, and perspective. From portraits of well-known subjects such as Rosa Parks and Claressa Shields to less familiar individuals, these works reflect community. Place is portrayed through real locations and those imagined that nonetheless invite reflection. Lastly, perspective is offered through various lenses from realism to abstraction.
Unique to this exhibition, visitors were able to vote for one of three works on loan by artists not currently in the collection. Voting took 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 work chosen by the community was Stephen Towns's The Gift of Lineage #5.
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.
The Gift of Lineage #5, 2018. Stephen Towns, American, b. 1980. Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel, 36 x 24 inches. On loan from De Buck Gallery, New York.
Stephen Towns is an American painter working primarily in oil, acrylic, and fibers. His work explores how American history influences contemporary society. Born in Lincolnville, South Carolina, in 1980, he received his BFA from the University of South Carolina. He lives and works in Baltimore. He has been exhibited locally and nationally and his work is in private and public collections, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City.
This not-to-be-missed exhibition of African American art from local collectors Anthony and Davida Artis highlights works that tell a story, especially as a means to educate, encourage, and engage the community. Wonderfully Made presents 18 works through the lens of the Artis family, featuring personal anecdotes regarding their collection.
All Things Being Equal is a looped video that explores the notion of suspended trauma. Through the visual tool of mass media, the artist shows how traumatic incidents from the past can repeat and replay, offering the viewer a shared experience. This video depicts the repetitive movements of a figure in confinement, beleaguered by water, an element both destructive and sustaining. Here the water moves almost as an independent agency, and the figure is neither suffocating nor surviving.
Asya Reznikov’s work explores how culture, tradition, language, and a sense of home shape and define our identity, as well as the ways immigration, emigration, and travel alter that identity. Mapping records Reznikov writing the names of the seven continents in 23 languages to form the world map. As a childhood political refugee, she is particularly aware of her cultural identity. The imagery is inspired by the myth of the Tower of Babel, personal experience, and data about contemporary language extinction. Reznikov’s use of languages is also an examination of the experience of both otherness and perception.
Artfully crafted but functional items like vases, teacups, and flatware are often called decorative arts. The term was created in Europe after the Renaissance to distinguish these items from painting and sculpture. This exhibition explores an array of decorative arts including glass by Auguste Jean and Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Prior to the 19th century, most glass manufacturers were aiming for pristine, almost machine-made, objects. However, some artists were seeking a different, more handcrafted, quality. In the 1870s, Auguste Jean gained attention by abstracting traditional vessel forms. While the glass was still malleable, he used tools to create protrusions and ripples in the glass. He later decorated the surface with enameled and engraved designs. Louis Comfort Tiffany applied innovative glassmaking techniques to his nature-inspired designs. Favrile glass—a term coined by Tiffany in 1894—was made to resemble ancient vessels, which, when excavated from archeological sites, had an iridescent surface. Tiffany achieved a similar look by spraying metallic salts on hot glass, a new technique that created a lustrous finish.
Don’t miss this exhibition of classical and contemporary paperweights. Featuring 68 weights from a private collection, Postscript looks at some of the rarest paperweights ever produced by manufacturers Pantin, Baccarat, and Clichy. The influence of classical styles can be directly seen in the contemporary paperweights by artists Paul Stankard, Victor Trabucco, and Rick Ayotte.
The self-proclaimed “grandmother of performance art,” Marina Abramović collaborated with multi-media artist Charles Atlas to create SSS, an autobiographical performance in which Abramović delivers a personal chronology. This brief narrative history, which references her past in the former Yugoslavia, her performance work, and her collaboration with and separation from long time partner Ulay, is intercut with images of her engaged in symbolic gestures and ritual acts, such as scrubbing her feet or staring like Medusa as snakes writhe on her head. Closing her litany with the phrase “Time past, time present,” the artist invokes the personal and the mythological in a poignant affirmation of self.
Artists often manipulate the properties of one medium to appear like something else and use the medium to question the subject matter. The contemporary objects in this exhibition build on the historical tradition of trompe l’oeil, which translates from French to “deceive the eye.” While some artists intentionally try to make one material look like another, others are simply exploring the versatility of the medium. These works, such as Robin by Margaret Keelan, employ tradition as inspiration, mimicking objects made in different mediums from various cultures.
This exhibition highlights the recent gifts of Myron and Barbara Ruth Levine, who, as collectors, acquired works that held expressive meaning for them. Many of the artists were part of a group in the late 1940s called CoBrA (taken from the first letters of the cities in which they lived: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam), including three of the movement’s founders, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and Guillaume Corneille, who are featured in this exhibition. CoBrA artists were interested in automatism—the act of creating art without conscious thought. In their manifesto, the group stated that they practiced “freedom of color and form.” Other CoBrA artists used the idea of the freedom of form and expression in their works.
From sweeping landscapes to still-life paintings, the striking images in this exhibition reveal the variety of ways artists envisioned American life. Created between 1850 and 1940, the 40 paintings presented take inspiration from both private and public spaces and capture significant events and places in the country’s history. These works offer a glimpse into American life during this period, allowing viewers to reflect on a time gone by.
Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850-1940 is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and made possible by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Collection. This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative. Generous support is provided by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation.
The development of industry in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries greatly affected artists striving to capture the spirit of the nation by using local subject matter. This exhibition reflects artists’ reactions to the rapid industrial changes, in both straightforward and complex ways. Some artists portrayed these scenes optimistically, such as Robert Riggs and Alexander Levy, who praised the monumentality of the machine. Other artists, such as Arthur Lehmann, portrayed industry in a more critical light, depicting the human and environmental impact as a dark, foreboding presence.
In Ictu Oculi (“in the blink of an eye”) is concerned with the experience of time. The work’s title, which alludes to the brevity of human existence, is shared by a number of vanitas paintings from the 17th century. A dinner table, laden with plates of food and wine bottles, its chairs waiting to be occupied, stands in a semi-mountainous landscape, a breeze flickering its tablecloth. The table’s placement alludes to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. From out of the blue, vultures descend cautiously, bringing instability to the implied order of the scene. The meal’s duration, and its strange quietness, lend it a human quality. The birds act out a travesty of human vanities: gluttony, selfish aggression, and the coveting of what will quickly pass away.
Using the former Bell Labs complex in New Jersey as her setting, Sarah Meyohas executed her latest performance, Cloud of Petals. Sixteen workers photographed 100,000 individual rose petals, compiling a digital database of their findings. Using the information gathered, the artist developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that generated new, unique petals. Generated Petals Interpolation is the result of this project. The installation features unique and continuously morphing digital flower petals that undulate on the screen.