Lecture Series

Sarah Kirk Hanley Print Media Visiting Artist Lecture, 2017. Photo by Sarah Blanchette (Photography ’17)

Cranbrook as Ecology

Cranbrook is a living system. Our ecology is dynamic and doesn’t follow a distinct path or linear course, and change can come rapidly or seeded slowly. Our permeable pedagogy means we can to be responsive to what is happening in the fields of contemporary art, design, and architecture. This year, our visitors consider the consequences of globalization on creative practice and social engagement – from issues of cultural homogenization to the politicized body to neo-liberalism – and question how pressure for global cultures and multiple identities fuels the communication of ideas.

All lectures are held in Cranbrook Art Museum’s deSalle Auditorium and are free to ArtMembers and students with identification, and included with Museum admission for the general public. Cranbrook Art Museum is located at 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Upcoming Lectures:


April 20, 2pm
Jamillah James

Los Angeles-based curator Jamillah James will discuss her work in various institutions and the political potential in exhibition making and labor within art institutions.
Sponsored by Studio Council


April 20, 6pm
Ebony G. Patterson

Ebony G. Patterson’s multilayered mixed media works – in sculpture, installation, performance, and video – employ opulent, hand-embellished surfaces and brightly colored patterns to seduce the viewer into confronting the profound social realities at their core. Derived from Dancehall culture, Patterson’s aesthetic pulls the viewer in and forces them to bear witness to the violence and social injustices imposed upon those deemed invisible. Her works command the viewer to look past the façade – of their rich formal characteristics, of the fabricated fantasies increasingly traded in our consumer and social media-centric culture – and to acknowledge the realities of those not touched by the glitter and gold. The paradoxical means the artist uses to convey this message only emphasizes its urgency and weight.
Image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.​
Sponsored by the Fiber Department


April 23, 4pm
Andrew Freear, Director of Rural Studio

Join us for a lecture by Andrew Freear, the Wiatt Professor at Auburn University Rural Studio.

For 17 years, Freear has lived in the small rural community of Newbern, West Alabama, where he has directed Rural Studio and served as project advisor to fifth-year undergraduate students, designing and building charity homes and community projects to improve local conditions.

Freear has designed Rural Studio exhibits around the world, including at the Whitney Biennial, the Sao Paulo Biennial, the V&A in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and most recently at the Milan Triennial and the Venice Biennale.

In 2006 Freear was honored with The Ralph Erskine Award, from Sweden. In 2008 he was a Laureate in the second edition of the Global Awards for Sustainable Architecture in Paris and most recently he was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture for 2016.
Sponsored by the Architecture department


May 2, 6pm
Jane Lackey

Lackey’s artwork evolves from a core interest in textiles and drawing. Whether sensual, biological or spatial, her works trace illusive aspects of information and communication. Mapped schema on paper expand to immersive installations aligning issues of identity, communication and place with self reflection, scrutiny, comparison and interaction. Current works on paper come out of a longtime affinity to the connecting over/under stitches within cloth structures that are analogous to hooks of language and social links building into incremental spatial networks.
Sponsored by the Warner Lecture Fund