Elliott Jamal Robbins, American, born 1988. Snow White Clapping, 2018. 2:00 minutes. Courtesy of the Artist and Kai Matsumiya Gallery

Snow White Clapping

May 1, 2019 - May 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

Elliott Jamal Robbins casts his protagonist as the embodiment of a boy, circumscribed by the trappings of representation, queerness, and race. In the film, Robbins fuses a series of frames from Disney’s Snow White with hand-drawn, virtual armature of a black body. The figure claps in silence; perhaps at an audience or perhaps an individual spectator. Robbins creates an ambiguity between subject and identity, and also between viewer and gaze. He writes of his work, “Through the use of appropriated and self-generated imagery and text, as well as the inclusion of the black male cartooned figure, the viewer is presented with a disjointed narrative. The narrative in question is an exploration of the intersection of societal reading of a black body, as well as subject experience, and the dichotomies to be found between.” Robbins is a graduate of the University of Arizona (MFA 2017). He lives and works in Tucson.

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Paul Signac, French, 1863 - 1935. Zinnias and Marigolds, ca. 1911 – 1915. Watercolor on paper. 13 x 15 1/4 in. (33 x 38.7 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Ryerson 1939.2

Still Modern

April 20, 2019 - July 14, 2019

Graphics Gallery

Artists of the 20th and 21st centuries have embraced the genre of still life, manipulating its traditional significance for their own creative purposes. Of contemporary still lifes, artist Roy Lichtenstein said, “It’s not meant to have the usual still life meaning.” 

Still lifes are often characterized by commonplace, inanimate objects like fruit and bowls. These compositions initially appear simple and uninspiring in their ordinary domesticity. However, hidden in the objects are complex systems of symbolism and semantic codes. A flower, for instance, could represent the ephemeral nature of beauty or the shortness of life. Closing soon, Still Modern displays the enduring relevance of the still life genre in present day.

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

Thinking Hurts Too Much

April 1, 2019 - April 30, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

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.

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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

March 1, 2019 - March 31, 2019

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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Michael Glancy, American, born 1950. Sterling Convergence, 2002. Engraved blown glass, engraved industrial plate glass, copper, silver. 8 1/2 × 12 × 12 in. (21.6 × 30.5 × 30.5 cm). Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation L2017.53

Hybrid: Glass + Metal

February 16, 2019 - June 16, 2019

Harris - Burger Gallery

Glass and metal may seem like an unexpected pairing but they are not as different as you may think. Both are fundamental elements in our everyday life. While once considered precious, in the industrial era, glass and metal are mass-produced. Although artists still use these materials to create intriguing artwork, industrially made objects have lost some of their exquisiteness. Nevertheless, things began to change among artists who strongly believed in the value of the handmade object. Disenchanted with the impersonal, mechanized direction of manufacturing, they sought a new path through materials like glass, metal, ceramic, and wood.

Closing soon, the artworks in this exhibition illustrate the vast possibilities of these two materials, from cast to blown glass and from forged to electroformed metal. Each object embodies a dynamic synergy that could not be achieved if the materials were used independently.

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Nicolas Provost, Belgian, born 1969. Papillon d’amour, 2003. 4:00 minutes.

Papillon d’amour

February 1, 2019 - February 28, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

By subjecting fragments from Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon to a mirror effect, Provost creates a hallucinatory scene of a woman’s reverse chrysalis into an imploding butterfly. This physical audiovisual experience produces skewed reflections upon love, its lyrical monstrosities, and a wounded act of disappearance.

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Vanessa German at ARThouse, Homewood, Pittsburgh. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY. Photo: Brian Cohen

Vanessa German: Miracles And Glory Abound

January 27, 2019 - April 20, 2019

Henry Gallery

Miracles and Glory Abound explores the power of stories through Vanessa German’s assembled sculptures. The exhibition draws from both the visual and emotional concepts of the iconic painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware (currently on view in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) by Emanuel Leutze. German uses what she terms “power figures” to imitate Leutze’s composition and create a conversation about public memory and the rewriting of history through the lens of privilege. After closing at the FIA, Miracles and Glory Abound travels to Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, and Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine. 

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays from performance artist Holly Bass, art theorist Hilary Robinson, and abstract expressionist painter Danny Simmons. The catalogue is available in the FIA Museum Shop for $19.95. 

View Vanessa German's performance during the 12th Annual Community Gala here.

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Mbole-Yela peoples, Democratic Republic of Congo. Mask, n.d. Wood. 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm). Collection of Dr. Robert Horn.

Engaging African Art: Highlights from the Horn Collection

January 27, 2019 - May 26, 2019

Hodge Gallery

Engaging African Art is an exhibition of works collected by New York psychiatrist Robert Horn over five decades. According to Horn, he was first exposed to African art in the mid-1950s, after stumbling upon the Museum of Primitive Art in New York City. This museum, founded by Nelson Rockefeller in 1954, was closed in 1976, and its collections were transferred to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That first exposure to African art made an indelible impression, with Horn writing, “I walked often through its intimate galleries, usually completely alone, an amazed, eager, and curious young man, almost startled to discover the collection’s unique objects, powerful, but each beautiful and expressive, of meanings not readily revealed.”

This exhibition is not meant to be a comprehensive history or encyclopedic survey of African art; rather it explores one collector’s viewpoint and taste. Horn’s emphasis, for example, has been collecting sculpture, mostly masks and small- to medium-sized figures. Of these categories, he has collected primarily West and Central African works from more than 60 different cultures. Engaging African Art presents highlights from Horn’s collection, showing pieces that carry ritual, social, and ceremonial messages, as well as display a range of techniques and materials.

According to Nii O. Quarcoopome, Co-Chief Curator and Department Head, Africa, Oceania, and Indigenous Americas at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Horn’s collection is “perhaps best described as an adventure in connoisseurship” because of his eclectic tastes and collecting practices. Says Quarcoopome, “In addition to the usual forms we have come to expect in most museum collections, it also includes some rare or uniquely carved pieces that suggest Horn’s refined tastes and sophistication as a seasoned collector. […] Horn’s collecting approach may have inadvertently created opportunities for rich immersive cultural experiences, as well.”

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays from Nii O. Quarcoopome and Henry John Drewal. The catalogue is available in the FIA Museum Shop for $24.95.

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Tsukioka Kōgyo, Japanese, 1869–1927. Kinatsu, 1923, Woodblock print, 14 7/8 × 10 1/16 inches. Collection of David R. Weinberg

The Drama of Japanese Prints

January 19, 2019 - April 14, 2019

Graphics Gallery

This exhibition features colorful, early 20th-century woodblock prints from Japanese artist Tsukioka Kōgyo. Although he depicted many subjects, Kōgyo is most well-known for his numerous scenes from Noh theater, one of the oldest existing forms of theater still practiced today. His artworks provide a glimpse into the rich stories, elegant actors, and subdued ambiance of Noh plays. Artwork from two of Kōgyo’s most important series, Pictures of Noh Plays (Nōgaku zue) and One Hundred Noh Plays (Nōgaku hyakuban) are on view in The Drama of Japanese Prints.

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Louis Henderson, English, born 1983. The Sea is History, 2016. 28:00 minutes.

The Sea is History

January 1, 2019 - January 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

The Sea is History, made in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is a free adaptation of the poem of the same name by Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet. This film is a critique of the monumentalization of European colonial history, reading the past as something intimately entangled within the present—as a living thing made up of the living and the dead. The footage is from Santo Domingo, the first capital of the New World located in the Dominican Republic, and of Lago Enriquillo, a hyper-salinated lake, once part of the Caribbean sea, that is flooding the border of Haiti due to the drastic rise in sea temperature currently affecting the global ocean deeply. 

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Semiconductor, English. Brilliant Noise, 2006. 5:47 minutes

Brilliant Noise

December 1, 2018 - December 30, 2018

Media Arts Gallery

Brilliant Noise takes us into the data vaults of solar astronomy. After sifting through hundreds of thousands of computer files made accessible via open access archives, Semiconductor has brought together some of the sun’s finest unseen moments. These images, kept in their most raw form, reveal the energetic particles and solar wind as a rain of white noise. NASA, usually hiding the processes and mechanics in action behind the capturing procedure, routinely cleans up the black-and-white grainy quality of footage. Satellites orbiting the Earth have collected most of the imagery as single frames, or files of information, that are then reorganized into spectral sequences. The soundtrack brings to light the hidden forces at play upon the solar surface, by directly translating the intensity of the brightness into audio manipulation.

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Colette Calascione, American, born 1971. Ode to a Cockatiel, 2018. Oil on canvas. 24 x 30 inches. Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY

Art of Collecting

November 24, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Hodge Gallery

The Art of Collecting, organized by the FIA, is an exhibition of paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures on consignment from galleries in New York, Chicago, and Detroit, selected based on comparisons of price and quality.  All artworks are available for purchase. Each object represents an outstanding value in the art market and an excellent opportunity for seasoned, as well as novice, collectors to purchase high quality artwork with confidence. Prices range from $200 for prints to more than $400,000 for works by master artists.  

Exhibition sponsored by 

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William Wegman, American, born 1943. Around the Park, 2007. 7:26 minutes. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Around the Park

November 1, 2018 - November 30, 2018

Media Arts Gallery

Though originally trained in painting, William Wegman is known for his photos and videos featuring dogs in various costumes and poses, and with an array of props. Around the Park stars Wegman’s favorite cast of iconic Weimaraners as they enjoy a fall day in Madison Square Park. The curious figures engage in mundane tasks, from waiting in line for a Shake Shack lunch and making security rounds in a park vehicle, to taking a visit to the park’s Jemmy’s Dog Run.

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Childe Hassam, American, 1859 - 1935. The Napoleon Girl, 1922. Etching on paper. Dimensions: 17 5/8 × 12 in. (44.8 × 30.5 cm) Image: 13 × 9 in. (33 × 22.9 cm). Gift of Mrs. Childe Hassam, 1940.29

Impressionist Prints of Childe Hassam

October 20, 2018 - January 13, 2019

Graphics Gallery

You may be familiar with Childe Hassam’s impressionist oil paintings, such as Newport Waterfront, which hangs in the FIA’s Rabiah Gallery. This exhibition explores another side of Hassam’s artistic output—his works on paper. He began producing etchings in 1915, turning away from oil paintings to experiment in a different medium. Still impressionist in style, his etchings demonstrate his fascination with city and country landscapes, as well as figures. 

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Bryan Boyce, American, born 1969. Walt Disney’s ‘Taxi Driver,’  2012. 4:31 minutes. Image copyright of the artist, courtesy of Video Data Bank, www.vdb.org, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Walt Disney’s ‘Taxi Driver’

October 1, 2018 - October 31, 2018

Media Arts Gallery

What happens when you combine the magic of Disney with one of the most disturbing characters in cinematic history? Bryan Boyce shows us just that in this reimagining of Martin Scorsese’s classic, Taxi Driver, with a Mickey Mouse–obsessed Travis Bickle roaming the Disney-fied streets of New York in search of love.

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Leon Kroll, American, 1884 - 1974. Terminal Yards, 1913. Oil on canvas. 46 × 52 1/8 in. (116.8 × 132.4 cm). Framed: 51 1/2 × 57 1/2 × 1
7/8 in. (130.8 × 146.1 × 4.8 cm). Gift of Mrs. Arthur Jerome Eddy

Collecting Stories

September 15, 2018 - November 4, 2018

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

Did you know that FIA owns two paintings that were included in the famous 1913 Armory Show in New York City, one of the most important art exhibitions in the history of American art? Or that the very first work of art to enter the collection, Tunis Ponsen’s The Old Pier, was purchased by the general public through a donation box? These are just two of several collecting stories that comprise this exhibition that celebrates 90 years of FIA history. From its beginning as an art school in 1928, the FIA has grown into the second largest art museum in the state. This growth is attributable to the many civic-minded and generous community members who had the foresight to establish and sustain both an art school and museum. 

For 90 years, the FIA collected art and artifacts spanning the continents and 5,000 years. The world-renowned collection is significant for its depth of important European and American paintings and sculptures, as well as its extensive holdings of contemporary craft, decorative and applied arts, and important ethnographic collections. The collection began in 1929 and now numbers more than 8,000 objects—from ancient to contemporary. It is our most enduring legacy, one that reveals the interests of a community that has had such an impressive and lasting influence on American industry and design.

This exhibition reveals the behind-the-scenes stories about how important artworks came into the collection over the past nine decades, with special attention paid to significant donors and giving legacies.

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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, www.vdb.org, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Dark, Krystle

September 1, 2018 - September 30, 2018

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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Paul Bush, American, b. 1956. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 2001. 5:15 minutes. Image courtesy of the Video Data Bank, www.vdb.org

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

August 1, 2018 - August 31, 2018

Media Arts Gallery

Imagine that the camera is possessed with a psychosis similar to human schizophrenia. Suppose that this disease subtly changes every single frame of film while leaving the narrative superficially intact. Then imagine that these symptoms came on because of the trauma of recording bizarre or horrific events, such as those of the 1941 horror film Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Scenes from the Victor Fleming movie are restaged frame-by-frame with new performers occupying the body spaces of the original cast.

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Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Mexican, 1902 - 2002. Parábola óptical / Optic Parable, 1931. Gelatin silver print mounted on board. 9 1/2 × 7 1/4 in. (24.1 × 18.4 cm)

Surrealismo, Ojos de México

July 21, 2018 - October 14, 2018

Graphics Gallery

Surrealismo, Ojos de México (Surrealism, Eyes of Mexico) features photographs by celebrated artists who demonstrate the enduring influence of surrealism on photography in Mexico. While Europe was torn apart by World War I, Mexico had its own upheaval: the 20th century’s first monumental revolution, stretching from 1910 to 1920. Seven percent of Mexico’s population lost their lives, 2,000 communities vanished, and economic growth came to an abrupt halt. However, just as World War I led to fresh approaches to art in Europe, the Mexican Revolution spawned an artistic renaissance. 

At this time, many photographers embraced modernism as they sought to capture the realities of the country in innovative ways. They were particularly drawn to European surrealism with its dream-like compositions and explorations of the subconscious. Mexico itself was a country with many contrasts; its juxtapositions were unexpected, ironic, humorous, frustrating, and hopeful—ancient and modern, poor and rich, indigenous and foreign. In this setting, surrealism was a natural fit for what many photographers were observing in the world around them.

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Flint Youth Film Festival

July 1, 2018 - July 31, 2018

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, the public, and professional filmmakers, and screenwriters.

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