Viola Frey, American, 1933-2004. The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization, 1992. Ceramic and glazes. 95 x 202 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 - October 25, 2020

Harris - Burger Gallery

This exhibition includes drawings, glass, and ceramics from the last 15 years of California artist Viola Frey’s life. When asked about her early artistic influences, Frey answered, “I had to make my own culture.” She found inspiration at her family’s farm in Lodi, California. From the discarded farm machinery that littered their property to trinkets from the local flea market, everyday items influenced her subject matter. In college she discovered art history and incorporated elements like ancient vessels alongside pop culture references. In the mid-1970s, Frey’s art took on the monumental scale for which she is most well known. Her backyard in Oakland, California, doubled as her studio for over two decades until she moved to an even larger space where she continued to create bigger, brighter artwork until her death in 2004.


Download the Exhibition Guide


Installation of The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization

View More

Erin Pollock, American, born 1982. Soot, 2019. Stop-motion animation. Charcoal, plexiglass, acetate, gesso, paper. Duration: 10 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.


March 1, 2020 - March 31, 2020

Media Arts Gallery

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.

View More

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.

View More

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


January 26, 2020 - April 19, 2020

Hodge Gallery Henry Gallery

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. 

Community Choice

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.
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.

View More

Winfred Rembert, American, b. 1945, Miss Prather’s Class, 2014. Woodcut and silkscreen. 16 x 20 inches. The Anthony and Davida Artis Collection of African-American Fine Art 

​Wonderfully Made: The Artis Collection of African American Art

January 18, 2020 - April 12, 2020

Graphics Gallery

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.

Sponsored by

View More

Auguste Jean, French. Vase, ca. 1880. Blown and engraved glass with gilt, enamel and iridized decoration. Private collection.

Useful and Beautiful: Decorative Arts Highlights

November 16, 2019 - July 26, 2020

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

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.

View More

Clichy, French, 1837–1885. Scrambled millefiori, ca. 1859. Glass, 3 3/16 inches diameter. Private collection.


November 16, 2019 - September 13, 2020

Decorative Arts Corridor

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.

View More

Marina Abramović and Charles Atlas, SSS, 1989. 6 minutes. Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York


November 1, 2019 - November 30, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

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.

View More

William Morris, American, born 1957. Zande Man, 2001. Blown glass, steel stand. 26 x 16 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, L2017.120. Photo credit: Douglas Schaible Photography

Double Take

October 26, 2019 - February 23, 2020

Harris - Burger Gallery

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. 

View More

Karel Appel, Dutch, 1921–2006. Floating Face, 1969. Lithograph on paper. 21 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches. Gift from the Collection of Myron and Barbara Levine, 2018.79. © 2019 Karel Appel Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / c/o Pictoright Amsterdam

Harmony in Expression: The Myron and Barbara Levine Print Collection

October 19, 2019 - January 12, 2020

Graphics Gallery

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.

View More

Robert Spear Dunning, American, 1829 - 1905. Still life with Apples, Grapes, and Other Fruits, 1868. Oil on canvas. 17 1/4 x 23 1/4 in. (43.8 x 59.1 cm). Manoogian Collection

Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850-1940

October 5, 2019 - December 30, 2019

Hodge Gallery

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.

View More

Robert Riggs, American, 1896–1970. Limestone Kilns, Wyandotte Chemical Company, Michigan, ca. 1947–48. Tempera on panel. 21 3/4 x 26 1/2 inches. Museum purchase with funds from an anonymous donor in honor of Barbara and the late Bruce Mackey, 2011.322


October 5, 2019 - December 30, 2019

Henry Gallery

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.

View More

Greta Alfaro, Spanish, b. 1977. In Ictu Oculi, 2009. 10:37 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist.

In Ictu Oculi

October 1, 2019 - October 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

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.

View More

 Sarah Meyohas, French-American, b. 1991. Generated Petals Interpolation, 2018. Installation at the Wasserman Projects, Detroit

Generated Petals Interpolation

August 1, 2019 - September 30, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

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.

Made possible by

View More

Wangechi Mutu, American, born Kenya, born 1972. Second Born, 2013. 24 kt gold, collagraph, relief, digital printing, collage, and hand coloring on paper. 36 x 43 inches. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, 2015.65

Cut & Paste: The Art of Collage

July 20, 2019 - October 13, 2019

Graphics Gallery

This exhibition highlights works on paper that feature some element of collage—whether used as the primary medium, or as part of a “mixed media” approach, including other printing or artistic techniques. The word collage is used both to describe a type of artwork and the technique used to create it. Objects, such as photographs, magazine and newspaper cuttings, and other pieces of paper, are glued onto a surface, in combination with painted or printed passages. In fact, the word “collage” is from the Old French word coller meaning “to glue.” The technique of collage was embraced by artists in the early 20th century, after it had long been a favored pastime of children and amateurs (making scrapbooks, for example). The artists in Cut & Paste, including Romare Bearden, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Wangechi Mutu, bring the art of collage into the late 20th and early 21st centuries, adapting and using it to fit their individual artistic expressions.

View More

Philip Haas: The Four Seasons

July 6, 2019 - November 18, 2019

Hurand Sculpture Courtyard

The Four Seasons is a large-scale homage to the Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526–1593), who painted a series of the same name for Habsburg Emperor Maximilian II. Contemporary artist and filmmaker Philip Haas conceptualized the transformation of the portraits from two-dimensional paintings to three-dimensional, 15-foot-tall sculptures. 

As in Arcimboldo’s paintings, the physical features of the four sculpted figures are rendered in botanical forms appropriate to each season. Each sculpture is made up of hundreds of sections. Welders created supporting steel infrastructures for the monumental figures. The museum and Haas’s staff assembled the figures on site over the span of nearly a week.

Exhibition Sponsors

Susie's Hope Fund

View More

Flint Youth Film Festival

July 1, 2019 - July 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

In conjunction with the Flint Youth Film Festival, the FIA will exhibit a number of works by young, local filmmakers throughout the month of July. 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.

View More

Jeremy Ross and Drew Kups. Untitled, 2018. Flameworked borosilicate glass, silver, and gold. 6 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photography by Jeff Dimarco 

From the Flame: Juried Flamework Exhibition

June 29, 2019 - October 6, 2019

Harris - Burger Gallery

From the Flame is a juried exhibition that showcases the tremendous range and vitality of flamework as an art form. The artists included in this exhibition come from across the country, as near as southeast Michigan and as far as southern California. Some have been in the field for years—working, writing, and teaching— while others are breaking through with innovative concepts and laying the foundation for the next generation. Flamework (also known as lampworking and torchworking) is a traditional technique where a torch or lamp is used directly to melt glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements.  

Between now and October 6th visit the exhibition and vote for your favorite artwork. You can cast your ballot one time per visit, so stop in often! The winner of the People’s Choice will receive an award as will the juror-selected winners of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Mark your calendar for the Exhibition Reception on Friday, September 27th from 5:30-8:30pm. The evening will include an awards ceremony, a reception with a cash bar, open museum galleries, and exciting demos in the Hot Shop. This event is FREE and open to the public.  

Participating Artists
• Jennifer Caldwell
• Jason Chakravarty
• Jonathan Davis
• Bandhu Dunham
• Eunsuh Choi
• Shane Fero
• Alexandra Fresch
• Eric Goldschmidt 
• Mike Mason
• Eusheen Goines
• Jeff Heath 
• Danielle Hook 
• Jeremy Ross
• Drew Kups
• Tweed
• Angela McHale
• Robert Mickelsen
• Janis Miltenberger
• Maria Missaoui 
• Kari Russell-Pool
• Mike Shelbo
• Kimberly Thomas
• Elliott Todd
• Carlos Valdovinos
• Marc VandenBerg
• James Vernor
• Seth Auger   
• Jeri Warhaftig
• Zac Weinberg

View More

Isabelle de Borchgrave, Belgian, born 1946. Mantua, 2011. Mixed media, acrylic, ink, metallic powder and adhesive on paper. 59 x 94 ¼ x 25 inches. Collection of the artist.

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper

June 14, 2019 - September 8, 2019

Hodge Gallery Henry Gallery

This exhibition features the life-size, trompe l’œil (a visual trick of the eye) paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (b. 1946). Fashioning Art from Paper provides a retrospective view of the artist’s paper sculptures over nearly two decades. From replicas of Italian Renaissance gowns to re-creations of the fantastical modernist costumes of the Ballets Russes, her work spans 500 years of fashion. Each paper sculpture is inspired by depictions found in early European paintings or fashion collections from around the world. Included in the exhibition is a sculpture based on a 1622 painting of Maria Maddalena of Austria and her son, the future Ferdinand II, by Justus Sustermans in the FIA’s permanent collection.

Major funding provided by

View More

Philip Haas, American, born 1954. The Butcher’s Shop, 1987. 7 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

The Butcher's Shop

June 2, 2019 - June 30, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

The Butcher’s Shop was commissioned by the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas as an homage to their 16th-century Annibale Carracci painting of the same name. Through a series of vivid images presented on a split screen, Philip Haas conjures up the world of the butchers, the world of the artist, and the encounter that led to the painting. The images on one screen show the scene in the Carracci painting: two butchers working amid wooden trellises with iron spikes and hooks from which hang animal carcasses. On the other screen, we see the opposite side of the shop, a view not shown in the painting, where Carracci has set up an easel to paint the butchers at work. The film is a meditation on Carracci’s painting, the painter’s character, and artistic preoccupations.

View More