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 17, 2021 - July 11, 2021

Graphics Gallery

This exhibition features 24 works donated by Flint native Jack B. Pierson. Drawing on Pierson’s experience as a gay man, Political and Personal: Images of Gay Identity sheds light on the important role sexual identity played in informing his collecting habits. Highlighting the work of several well-known and lesser-known gay artists and works by heterosexual artists, this exhibition captures the multi-dimensional nature of gay identity in the 20th century.

Pierson was employed by General Motors following World War II 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 collect and donate additional works until his death in 1997. Among the hundreds of prints that Pierson collected, several focused on public identity, social activism, as well as gay love and attraction.

View the Exhibition Catalogue

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IFPDA Foundation

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John Miller, American, born 1966. Box O' Curlys, 2020. Hot sculpted glass and steel, 12 × 12 × 4 in. (30.5 × 30.5 × 10.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist.

Blue Plate Special

April 10, 2021 - September 26, 2021

Harris - Burger Gallery

Although summer BBQ season is winding down, you can still enjoy the experience of a juicy burger and ice cold soda in Blue Plate Special. John Miller’s oversized glass food is a feast for your eyes. Not only do Miller’s subjects represent staples of American cuisine, they offer a sense of nostalgia for roadside diners and their neon signs, glistening chrome tables, and comforting food.

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Jake Fried, American. Down Into Nothing, 2013. 1 minute. Hand-drawn animation with ink, gouache, white-out, and coffee. Courtesy of the artist.

Down Into Nothing

April 1, 2021 - April 30, 2021

Media Arts Gallery

Using ink, gouache, white-out, and even coffee, Jake Fried creates hallucinatory vistas by modifying and shooting the same image over and over again. The result is a mind-bending animation at a frenzied pace. Beginning his career as a painter, Jake Fried was drawn to the process of layering and modifying images, which led him to pursue animation. Fried is an instructor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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Leslie Thornton, American, b. 1951. Binocular Menagerie, 2014. 2:50 minutes

Binocular Menagerie

March 1, 2021 - March 31, 2021

Media Arts Gallery

In Binocular Menagerie, Thornton plays with vision, perception, and transformation. A series of images of animals—a virtual menagerie of birds, reptiles, and mammals—is framed within a format of two circular windows. Each animal's movements on the left are remapped into an elegant abstraction on the right, transforming the "real" into a digital kaleidoscope. In this unexpectedly profound meditation on the minutiae of perception, the smallest shift in the animal's movement ripples into resonant motion, multiplied, recast, and folded back upon itself. Thornton's manipulations intensify the viewer's focus, offering revelatory ways of seeing and perceiving the ordinary that is both strange and beautiful.

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Renee Cox, American, born 1960. Chillin’ with Liberty, 1998. Archival digital print. 39 3/4 x 29 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture

January 31, 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. The exhibition does this by presenting a diverse range of media including photography, video, fashion, advertising, and other forms of popular culture. The first of three thematic sections, “Constructing a Pose,” considers the interplay between the historical and the contemporary, between self-representation and imposed representation, and the relationship between subject and photographer. The second section, “Body and Image,” questions the ways in which our contemporary understanding of beauty has been constructed and framed through the body. The last section, “Modeling Beauty & Beauty Contests,” invites us to reflect upon the ambiguities of beauty, its impact on mass culture and individuals, and how the display of beauty affects the ways in which we see and interpret the world and ourselves.

Jack Willson Thompson Fund and the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Program Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint 

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Allison Schulnik, American, born 1978. Mound. 4:23 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.


January 1, 2021 - January 31, 2021

In Mound, Allison Schulnik creates an alternate world where over 100 hand-sculpted and sewn figures morph with fluid movements. Their bodies dance and sway in a melancholic fashion to the haunting 1969 recording of It’s Raining Today by Scott Walker. The artist uses traditional stop-motion techniques, shooting each image frame by frame, without the use of special effects or digital manipulation. Comprising over 6,000 frames, the film took nearly eight months to create. Schulnik received a BFA in experimental animation from the California Institute of the Arts. In addition to art making, she has a background in dance and music.

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

Thinking Hurts Too Much

December 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

Thinking Hurts Too Much is a moving collage of internet-mined, pop culture footage. The glut of disparate, disconnected, and disembodied figures, some real (like former California governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and pop star Mariah Carey) and some imaginary (Peanuts cartoon character Charlie Brown and DC Comics’ Batman), perform on layered keyhole stages, serving as a reminder of our profound knowledge of images aimed at the edge of acceptability and decency. The thousands of images pieced together become a provocative and poignant portrait of American excess and the constant desire for new and more extreme visual stimulation. Featured on the cover of ARTNews in 2013, Cameron Gray was presented as an example of an artist working in “The New Collage.” Gray describes this new approach “as a reaction to the culture that’s already there” and the inherent patchwork nature of the internet. Art blogger Adam Tetzloff describes Gray’s work in this way: “Like the culture that inspired it, the work is an eye-melting overload of images and ideas, as if the Internet suddenly ruptured and spewed forth into the black light din of Spencer’s Gifts. At once whimsical and menacing, the overlapping, ever-shifting, neon barrage of sights and sound seems at first to border on satire, skewering pop culture and the tropes of contemporary art.”

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Yan Zoritchak, Slovakian, born 1944. Space Messenger, 2002. Cast glass with copper patina and gold leaf,19 9/16 × 16 15/16  x 5 1/8 inches. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, L2017.146 Photo credit: Douglas Schaible Photography

Glass in the Fourth Dimension

November 21, 2020 - March 21, 2021

Harris - Burger Gallery

While we live in a three-dimensional world and our brains are trained to see height, width, and depth—mathematicians, physicists, and artists have long considered the fourth dimension and its possibilities for alternative realities. Although authors and scientists have sought to describe the concept, it is inherently intangible and invisible. Einstein defined it as “spacetime,” a mathematical model that fuses the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time into four dimensions. Philosophers consider a metaphysical meaning, seeing it as the connection between the mind and reality. Artists, since the early 20th century, tried to represent the fourth dimension, moving beyond realistic representations of the world toward abstraction. The plasticity of glass in its molten form has enticed many artists to explore non-objective, or abstract, forms since the beginning of the Studio Glass movement in the 1960s. Whether it is an intentional optical illusion or just the natural properties of glass, each artwork in this exhibition implies something beyond height, width, and depth. In this exhibition, you are encouraged to look at the object from multiple angles to allow for different viewing experiences. 

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Michael Robinson, American, born 1981. The Dark, Krystle, 2013. 9:34 minutes. Image copyright of the artist, courtesy of Video Data Bank,, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Dark, Krystle

November 1, 2020 - November 30, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

The Dark, Krystle features a montage of Linda Evans and Joan Collins from the 1980s evening soap opera Dynasty. The film rekindles issues of identity, consumption, and excess in 1980s pop culture. Michael Robinson reconfigures the rivals’ melodrama in repetition—theatrical breakdowns, nasty glares, excessive drinking—allowing viewers to feel the clichés recharged with new emotional power.

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Barry Andersen, American, born 1945. Grindavik 2, Iceland, 2016. Archival inkjet print, 12 x 18 inches. Gift of the artist, 2018.189

Field of Vision

October 17, 2020 - January 10, 2021

Graphics Gallery

The photographs in Field of Vision show how landscape continues to be a subject artists turn to when contem-plating the world around us—from the places we live, where we travel, and what we aspire to see. Since the medium was invented in the 19th century, photographers have approached landscape in many different ways. Early examples generally mimicked landscape paintings in terms of composition and theme but artists quickly realized the unending potential for creative expression. While some focus on land unaltered by the human element, others see this interaction between humans and nature as a fundamental part of their narrative. Photographers also consider if they want to capture the scene in a realistic, or objective manner or if they want to manipulate the composition to create abstraction. This exhibition includes sixteen photographs that illustrate the diverse ways artists approach the subject of landscape.

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Frank Owen, American, born 1939. Untitled, 1986. Acrylic on canvas, 105 x 105 inches. Gift of Geri and Mason Haupt, 2016.52

Pure Abstraction

October 17, 2020 - January 10, 2021

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

Beginning at the turn of the 20th century, artists began exploring the effects of creating purely abstract images where any likeness to a narrative would be coincidental. By composing expressive applications of color, line, and form, that intentionally had no subject, artists found that viewers would experience sensations and feelings not unlike those they have when listening to music. The movement evolved, taking on many forms and leading up to its zenith in mid-century when artists were characterized by powerfully expressive techniques of heavy gestural applications. Artists of the late 20th century through today sought new approaches and methods to maximize the medium’s emotional and expressive potential.

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Alex Hubbard, American, b. 1975. Color, sounds. Duration: 5 minutes. Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Hit Wave

October 1, 2020 - October 31, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

Alex Hubbard’s videos involve carefully choreographed and dynamically composed studio experiments with objects, paint, construction, and deconstruction. Hubbard is a Los Angeles- based artist whose work encompasses video art and painting, exploring the boundaries of each via a cross-examination that invigorated both media in new and inventive ways. Avoiding a single point of focus, Hubbard constructs his videos in layers, engulfing the viewer with bold colors, performative gestures, and evolving compositions in which movement is multi-directional and time appears to be non-linear. Often described as “moving painting,” the videos are a record of physical creation and  destruction, with the hand of the artist tangible, and sometimes visible, in the frame.

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Takeshi Murata, American, b. 1974. Untitled (Pink Dot), 2012. Color, sound. Duration: 4 minutes 25 seconds. Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.

Untitled (Pink Dot)

September 1, 2020 - September 30, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

In Untitled (Pink Dot), Takeshi Murata transforms footage from the 1982 Sylvester Stallone film Rambo: First Blood into a swamp of seething electronic abstraction. Subjected to Murata’s meticulous digital reprocessing, the action scenes decompose and are subsumed into an almost palpable, cascading digital sludge, presided over by a hypnotically pulsating pink dot. Murata produces digital works that refigure the experience of animation. Whether altering appropriated footage from cinema, or creating fields of seething color, he produces astonishing visions that appear at once organic and digital.

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Qing Dynasty, 1644–1911/12, Chinese, Chime: Dragon in Clouds, 1765, Jadeite, 26 7/8 x 29 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches. Gift of Mrs. Fredrick B. Miner, FIA 1968.13

Art of Jade

August 15, 2020 - May 23, 2021

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

Art of Jade explores the history of the cultures that work with jade, as well as the functional, stylistic, and technical developments of jade as an artistic medium. The artworks in this exhibition were made by artists who patiently ground and drilled the material, a process that could take days, months, and even years to complete. Because of the stone’s beauty, strength, and rarity, jade has become a symbol of social identity, hierarchy, status, wealth, and power in Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures. This exhibition features 75 objects dating back as early as 3200 BCE.

To hear the sound of the jade chimes, click here.

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Flint Youth Film Festival

August 1, 2020 - August 31, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

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.

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Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. Forces of Change, 2017. Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 72 × 144 in. (182.9 × 365.8 cm). Collection of Jonathan O'Hara Gallery

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle

July 11, 2020 - September 27, 2020

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

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 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-print mounted on glass. 60 1/4 × 68 7/8 in. (153 × 175 cm). Courtesy of the artist.

Beauty and Pain: Photographs by Nathalia Edenmont

July 11, 2020 - September 27, 2020

Henry Gallery

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.

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Jan Matulka, American, born Czechoslovakia, 1890–1972. Untitled Study, 1940–1950. Watercolor/ink and red pencil on paper. 11 x 8 1/2 inches. Courtesy of McCormick Gallery, Chicago and the Estate of Jan Matulka

Jan Matulka: The Unknown Modernist

July 6, 2020 - September 6, 2020

Dow Gallery

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.

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Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Swiss. The Way Things Go, 1987. 30 minutes. Image courtesy of the artists

The Way Things Go

July 6, 2020 - July 31, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

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.

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Matthew Wead, American, born 1984. Amadou Diallo, 2009. Woodcut on paper. 36 × 24 in. Image: 36 × 24 in. (91.4 × 61 cm). Museum purchase, 2009.89

Black Matters

July 6, 2020 - October 11, 2020

Graphics Gallery

This exhibition features a series of woodcut prints by artist Matthew Owen Wead. Each print depicts a Black individual who was killed by police officers or armed vigilantes. Many of the perpetrators were later exonerated of the crimes in which they were charged. These artworks are Wead’s way of confronting a system that is intended to protect everyone yet has subjugated and brutalized so many, and to remind everyone that Black matters.

Although the initial series was completed in 2009, Wead explains that it “has now become a never-ending and daunting task.” Included in this exhibition are three new prints portraying Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery.

From the Artist

"On a daily basis, every moment, black folks are being bombarded with images of our death and after a while that does something to your psyche. It's literally saying, ‘black people, you might be next. You will be next.’ But in hindsight it will be better for our nation, the less of our kind, the more safe it will be." - Patrisse Kahn-Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter

The intention of this series grew out of the pain he felt hearing, seeing, and reading about the unnecessary brutal force enacted on to these victims. To peer into their eyes was to show another point of view—to maybe strike empathy in the audience—and to allow them to think about how they would react in a similar situation. The title of the series, Shooting Targets, came from the reckless abandon that has been shown and addressed to black people, in both the interactions and then the aftermath, as an afterthought. Black people have become target practice, thrown away, and erased when the next news cycle hits. There is a repetition in the process of killing us without any repercussions for doing so, and sometimes being rewarded to do so. 

This was not meant to be a continuing series—it has now become a never-ending and daunting task. While this is meant to serve from the perspective of the artist, his statement is to look into the eyes of Black queer, trans, and all Black lives that are subjugated and brutalized under a system that was meant to protect them. Unfortunately, there are countless examples that could be included in this series—never to completion—and seems that it will never end in our lifetimes.

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