2016 Lecture Series

December 13, 2016
Alex Da Corte

Alex Da Corte works with objects and materials that are detached from their original function to give them new potential both symbolically and formally. In working with these objects, Da Corte tries to put aside his own touch in order to reveal and locate the previous touches, the objects own story. In Alex Da Corte’s artwork objects can even act as stand-ins for people: they represent another kind of language that we can pair together to create these sentences that turn into poetry.
Sponsored by the Sculpture Department

November 19, 2016
Attai Chen
Attai Chen, winner of the 2014 Andy Prize for Contemporary Art, creates three-dimensional multi-layered sculptures in the form of necklaces, pins and rings that interact with the human body and disclose a great deal about the wearer. Chen’s complicated jewelry brings together materials like wood and gold paper, for example, with plastic, oil paints and ready-made parts, a mix of contrasts that discloses little and conceals much more.
Sponsored by the Metalsmithing Department

November 16, 2016
Peter MacKeith
Peter MacKeith’s lecture “A House of Finland” will trace the emergence, development and ongoing vitality of Finnish cultural identity through a century of significant architecture and design, presenting examples from across the last 100 years, and emphasizing the building of community through public architecture.
Sponsored by the Architecture Department

November 11, 2016
Amy Schwartz and Jason Schwartz

Jason and Amy Schwartz will discuss professional graphic design practices and how to be successful without losing your soul along the way. They will share stories from their different paths from graduate school to Creative Director and speak openly about side-projects, passive income, and relationship building.
Sponsored by the 2D Design Department

November 10, 2016
Christy Matson
Matson will discuss the development of her hand-weaving practice over the last 12 years from interactive sound installations, to woven abstractions and functional objects. She will also address her interest in history, lineage and pedagogy as it relates to the way that weaving has been taught and thought about in this country.
Sponsored by the Fiber Department

November 7, 2016
Alpesh Patel

While serving as Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Fall Critical Studies Fellow, Patel will focus on how globalization tends to overlook how images function within specific sites and times. His lectures will scale down the global to the local and the regional/transregional to examine the production, circulation, and consumption of contemporary art and design.
Sponsored by the Critical Studies and Humanities Program

October 26, 2016
Steven Haulenbeek

Steven Haulenbeek is a Chicago-based industrial designer and artist working in the fields of furniture, lighting, and objects for the home. In his lecture he will discuss the development of an independent design practice.
Sponsored by the 3D Design Department

October 24, 2016
Lauren Ruth

Ruth will discuss her multidisciplinary sculptural work in relation to social and performative spheres of practice. Ruth’s interactive installations unravel familiar iconographies and social rituals to reestablish meanings. Her work implicates the viewer and pushes against notions of propriety to initiate a dialogue about our subjective relationships to public and private space.
Sponsored by the Sculpture Department

October 9
Free Radicals: A Symposium

Please join us as we explore the ideas and ideals of a radical counterculture as part of the exhibition, Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia. Presentations will be followed by an audience question-and-answer session.

Speakers include:

Andrew Blauvelt, curator of the exhibition and Director of the Cranbrook Art Museum, will explore the concept of aesthetic radicalism as embodied in the exhibition.

Esther Choi
writes about the intersections between architecture and the visual arts. A contributor to the exhibition catalogue, in which she discussed the inflatable architectural experiments of Haus-Rucker-Co.

Lorraine Wild, designer, educator, historian, Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate, and catalogue essayist will address the agency and urgency of experimental graphic design and alternative publishing of the counterculture.

Richard Newman and Liza Bielby of The Hinterlands, Detroit-based artists who will discuss their critically acclaimed performance, “The Radicalization Process,” a theatrical work that mines the countercultural period of the 1960s and 1970s.

Sponsored by Cranbrook Art Museum

October 4
Alpesh Patel

Alpesh Kantilal Patel is an Assistant Professor in Contemporary Art and Theory and Director of the MFA program in the Visual Arts at Florida International University in Miami. His art criticism, curating, and art historical scholarship reflects his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. Patel is the current Fall Critical Studies Fellow at Cranbrook.
Sponsored by the Critical Studies and Humanities Program

September 27
Artist-in-Residence Presentations:
Anders Ruhwald (Ceramics) + Patrick Rock (Photography, Visiting Artist)

September 26
Artist-in-Residence Presentations:
Elliott Earls (2D Design) + Bill Massie (Architecture)

September 21
Artist-in-Residence Presentations:
Scott Klinker (3D Design) + John Corso (Painting, Visiting Artist)

September 20
Artist-in-Residence Presentations:
Mark Newport (Fiber) + Susan Goethel Campbell (Print Media, Visiting Artist)

September 19
Artist-in-Residence Presentations:
Iris Eichenberg (Metalsmithing) + Heather McGill (Sculpture)

26110653_GRybus-Interview-Jessica Fensterstock-HR--8985 (1)

May 3, 2016
Recent Work and Research

Lauren Fensterstock, Artist

In an illustrated lecture, Lauren Fensterstock will share the motivations and research behind her recent work. Widely known for her intricately hand-cut paper installations, Fensterstock weaves together historical references spanning the Baroque, the Picturesque, Minimalism, and the decorative arts to explore the history of nature.

Valerie Cassel Oliver_Photo by Eric Hester_3604cropped

May 2, 2016
Radical Presence: Black Artists and Contemporary Art

Valerie Cassel Oliver
Senior Curator Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Radical Presence: Black Artists and Contemporary Art presents an overview of my curatorial practice over the last decade. The presentation will highlight a series of exhibitions that have made visible the presence and impact of black artists working in a variety of media from abstract painting to film and video to performance art and beyond. Discussed in the lecture are the groundbreaking exhibitions “Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970,” (2005); “Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image,” (2009); “Benjamin Patterson: Born in the State of Flux/us,” (2010); and “Radical Presence: Black Artists in Performance,” (2012); among others.


April 26, 2016
An Evening with Amze Emmons

Amze Emmons, Artist

Amze Emmons is a Philadelphia-based, multi-disciplinary artist with a background in drawing and printmaking. His images evoke a sense of magical/minimal realism inspired by architectural illustration, comic books, cartoon language, information graphics, news footage, consumer packaging, and instruction manuals.

April 19, 2016
Of Our time: Contemporary Art, Craft and the Encyclopedic Museum

Emily Zilber
Curator of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In parallel with broader conversations around the role of craft in contemporary artistic practice, encyclopedic museums have begun to consider new strategies for presenting relevant contemporary work and reinterpreting their historic holdings. Zilber will explore these ideas through the lens of the exhibition and collections program at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which opened a new wing for contemporary art in fall 2011.

Read a profile of Emily Zilber in The Boston Globe.


April 18, 2016
An Evening with Mia Locks

Mia Locks, Co-curator of the 2017 Whitney Biennial

Mia Locks is co-curator of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, with Christopher Y. Lew, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. From 2013 to 2015, she was Assistant Curator at MoMA PS1, where she organized exhibitions including Math Bass: Off the Clock (2015); IM Heung-soon: Reincarnation (2015); Samara Golden: The Flat Side of the Knife (2014); and The Little Things Could Be Dearer (2014). Locks was also part of the curatorial team for Greater New York (2015), along with Douglas Crimp, Peter Eleey, and Thomas Lax. Prior to MoMA PS1, she organized Cruising the Archive: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles, 1945–1980 (2012), with David Frantz, at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative. From 2010 to 2013, she worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), where she helped to organize Blues for Smoke (2012) with Bennett Simpson. Her recent book, Samara Golden: The Flat Side of the Knife, was published by MoMA PS1 in 2015.

George N'namdi_Headshot

March 29, 2016
Community and Collecting

George N’Namdi, President, Executive Director of N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

George N’Namdi has been a force in the Detroit area for more than three decades. Dr. N’Namdi and his gallery, The G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, now a part of the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, was a catalyst for transforming a formerly derelict area located on the block bounded by E. Forest on the north, Garfield on the south, Woodward on the west and John R on the east, into a thriving arts center and historically designated area called the Sugar Hill Arts District. Simultaneously, he has continued to cultivate and nurture several generations of art collectors, specifically patrons of abstract art work made by African Americans. In this lecture at Cranbrook, N’Namdi will discuss his passions in art education, which encouraged him to become a gallery owner. He will also share a few works from his vast collection of abstract art, and also discuss previous and upcoming creative place-making ventures, he envisioned for the future arts community of Detroit.

March 24, 2016
Wait, how did I get here from there?

Patrick Rock, artist and founder of ROCKBOXCONTEMPORARYFINEART

Patrick Rock will engage you in conversation about the high and low of the highs and lows and pratfalls of operating an artist run space and residency underneath one’s bedroom where one’s dogs really do eat your homework. The art of serving seasonal punch from a toilet bowl, having your posters banned by the printer, and how to finagle Warhol Foundation money to run a free summer-school where critique is not a dirty word (while other artists are sunning at the swimming hole) coming up for air only to step into ones own post-conceptual image, video, object, and happening-making practice. Followed by what it is like to get up at 6am to adjunct across town riding public transportation, and how to scrub bird guano from a historic bronze on the way home. He doesn’t run a non-profit – He has by necessity a not-profit practice in the Internet age of profits.


Patrick Rock is a post-conceptual artist and the founder and director of ROCKSBOXCONTEMPORARYFINEART in Portland, Oregon. ROCKSBOX is an artist run short-term artist residency and exhibition site with a mandate to support artists producing contemporary conceptual and performance-influenced work. Rock is the director and co-founder of the free summer school C.O.P.S. (Conceptual Oregon Performance School) a free performance and critique based summer program at ROCKBOXCONTEMPORARYFINEART, and a co-founder of ROCKSBOOKS, Leipzig/Portland an artist and designer ran publishing house for artist catalogs.

March 23, 2016

The Taubman Art + Science Lecture

An Evening of Art + Science

Beverly Fishman, Artist-in-Residence and Head of Painting, Cranbrook Academy of Art
Eva Feldman, Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute

An Evening of Art + Science–the collaborative process begins. Dr. Eva Feldman, director of the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, talks with artist Beverly Fishman, who will create art based on her research, about commonalities in the fields of art and science. Dr. Feldman is a practicing neurologist and head of a 30-person lab seeking new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like ALS. Beverly Fishman is Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Painting Department Artist-in-Residence and has been the subject of many art exhibitions worldwide.


The artwork that results from this collaboration and those of 18 other artist-scientist pairs will be auctioned April 21 at MOCAD in Detroit to benefit the Taubman Institute’s Emerging Scholars Program. For more info and tickets, go to www.taubmanartandscience.org

James Mayhew Cut Piece

March 22, 2016
Likes and Dislikes: Reading the Paratextual Apparatus of Web 2.0

Laura McGough, 2015-2016 Critical Studies Fellow

Literary theorists refer to the formal elements that accompany the main text of a literary work – such as design, illustrations, prefaces, title-pages, notes, appendices and footnotes – as the paratextual apparatus. In this lecture, we will critically read the paratextual apparatus of Web 2.0 through YouTube videos, Soundcloud streams, Hulu ads, and other online content to understand how the participatory and shifting nature of these framing devices influence our understanding of new media objects.

“Cut Piece With Transgender Body (After Yoko Ono)”
Jaimes Mayhew, Artist, Organizer and Educator

As a conclusion to our year-long investigation into participatory media, the lecture will be followed by an interactive live streaming performance, by Jaimes Mayhew. Mayhew will perform a rendition of Yoko Ono’s famous performance, Cut Piece. He invites students in Michigan to send text instructions to Baltimore, which will be carried out by a group of transgender docents. This performance will last for 45 minutes.


March 3, 2016

The Detroit Bluestockings Crew

Cranbrook Salon: Ingrid LaFleur and Rola Nashef at Cranbrook Art Museum

Host: Ingrid LaFleur, Artist, Curator and Founder of AFROTOPIA
Guest: Rola Nashef, Filmmaker, Detroit Unleaded
Location: Cranbrook Art Museum, 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills

Ingred LaFluer and Rola Nashef will be discussing the business of maintaining an artistic practice within a global landscape and why this is important for Detroit.

February 28, 2016
Liz Cohen, Eric Crosley & the Politics of the Self

Liz Cohen, Artist-in-Residence and Head of Photography, Cranbrook Academy of Art
Eric Crosley, Artist and Poet

Please join us for a special lecture by Liz Cohen, Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a poetry reading by Eric Crosley, the motivation for her current exhibition, Him, currently on display at Cranbrook Art Museum. Cohen’s work and Crosley’s writing wrestle with the labor of everyday existence and defining “self” as a constantly shifting narrative.


February 18, 2016

The Detroit Bluestockings Crew

Cranbrook Salon: Samantha Banks Schefman and Augusta Morrison at PLAYGROUND DETROIT

Host: Samantha Banks Schefman, Co-Founder & Co-Director of Playground Detroit
Guest: Augusta Morrison, Educator, Musician, Member of the Seraphine Collective

Location: Playground Detroit, 1535 Sixth St., Detroit

Samantha Banks Schefman will lead a discussion with Augusta Morrison on Feminism’s place in the art world; and the community-friendly alternative spaces in Detroit where Feminists creators activate their voices.

February 17, 2016
Refining Landscapes

Vivian Beer
Cranbrook Academy of Art Alumni (Metalsmithing ’04), Designer, and current contestant on “Ellen’s Design Challenge”.

For Vivian, landscape is an inspiration and the setting for her work – the magnificent landscapes of the planet, the cultural landscapes shaped by the Industrial Revolution, and the domestic landscapes that we create at home. Her furniture is inspired by diverse forces of nature and culture such as desert ecosystems and aeronautics.
Refining Landscapes is a window into her many sources of inspiration, her wide range of skills and tools, and the ongoing question – what can research and the creative “studio” look like?
Cranbrook alumna Vivian Beer (Metalsmithing ’04) is a furniture designer/maker based in New England, where her business, Vivian Beer Studio Works, is in its 10th year. Her sleek, abstracted metal and concrete furniture combines the aesthetic sensibilities of contemporary design, craft, and sculpture to create furniture that alters expectations of and interfaces with the domestic landscape. With a strong foundation in contemporary furniture design, her recent research into the history of American industry, architecture, and transportation—supported in part by a 2014 Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum—adds intellectual rigor and specificity to her work. She is currently a contestant on HGTV’s, “Ellen’s Design Challenge.”

February 16, 2016
Attachments and Intimacies

Matt Morris, Lecturer, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

In this artist lecture, Matt Morris will discuss his research-based creative practice by examining several recent projects for solo and group exhibitions. Artworks produced with photography, appropriation and painting, site responsive installation, sewing, and perfume function as various means of establishing and annotating intimacy broadly defined—between artist and institution, artwork and viewer, queer lovers, and less apparent power relations. The discussed works will be contextualized with Morris’ influences and interests that range promiscuously from institutional critique and psychoanalysis, queer and feminist theories, materialism and popular culture.


February 11, 2016

The Detroit Bluestockings Crew

Cranbrook Salon: Maia Asshaq and Mariam Ezzat at The Jar House

Host: Maia Asshaq, Publisher & Owner of DittoDitto
Guest: Mariam Ezzat, Artist

Location: The Jar House, 13015 Klinger St., Hamtramck

Maia Asshaq and artist Mariam Ezzat will lead a conversation about feminism in the Arab world. The conversation will focus on the work and writing of Anbara Salam Khalidi and compare early Arab feminist actions to those of contemporary western feminist movements.

Laura McGough

February 9, 2016
The Labor of Participation

Laura McGough, 2015-2016 Critical Studies Fellow

Playbor, a portmanteau of “play” and “labor,” is a term used by media theorists to describe our interactions within social media spaces. While on the one hand, our participation in online environments may constitute a form of sociality, or play, it also engages us in a form of digital labor as our posts, uploads, comments and tweets become the means of production that generate content for these sites. In this lecture, we will critically read our online activity and consider what happens when we collapse work, play, and sociality into a single activity.


February 7, 2016

The Detroit Bluestockings Crew

Cranbrook Salon: Marsha Music and Michael Stone-Richards at Assemble Sound

Host: Marsha Music, Writer, Poet & Performer
Guest: Michael Stone-Richards, Writer, Educator & Founder of Detroit Research

Location: Assemble Sound, 2300 17th Street, Detroit

Marsha Music will lead an open conversation with guest Michael Stone-Richards on the history of the salon as a social gathering, its modern day equivalents, and the positive force of community-driven discussion.


February 6, 2016
Radical Glazes, Monumental Forms, Ghetto Pots: Mary Chase Perry Stratton, Maija Grotell, and Roberto Lugo

Stefanie Dlugosz-Acton, Collections Fellow, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research
Shelley Selim, Jeanne and Ralph Graham Assistant Curator, Cranbrook Art Museum
Anders Ruhwald, Artist-in-Residence, Head of the Ceramics Department, Cranbrook Academy of Art
Roberto Lugo, Potter, Activist, Culture-maker, Rapper, Poet, and Educator

Taking as its point of departure both the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research’s exhibition of the Gerald W. McNeely Collection of Pewabic Pottery and the exhibition of contemporary ceramics that Anders Ruhwald has curated for Pewabic (This is the living vessel: person. This is what matters. This is our universe. —an exhibition that is a nod to the work of the Mary Chase Perry Stratton and Maija Grotell and includes the work of Roberto Lugo), this multi-speaker presentation throws it all into the clay mixer to explore the history and the enduring legacy of the vessel tradition in ceramics. The program will include Stefanie Dlugosz-Acton, curator of the Pewabic Pottery exhibition, speaking on the work of Pewabic’s co-founder Mary Chase Perry Stratton; Shelley Selim on the work of Maija Grotell; Anders Ruhwald on the This is the living vessel exhibition; and Roberto Lugo speaking on his own work and career.


February 4, 2016

The Detroit Bluestockings Crew

Cranbrook Salon

Hosts: Meaghan Barry & Lilian Crum, Designers of Unsold Studio
Guest: Lisa Waud, Founder, Owner, and Floral Designer of Pot & Box and Flower House

Unsold Studio presents guest Lisa Waud, Founder, Owner, and Floral Designer of Pot & Box and Flower House, to discuss the spirit of collaboration in art, design, and community to actualize monumental gestures. Waud’s monumental gesture, Flower House (theflower.house), was a weekend installation in October 2015 that filled the walls and ceilings of an abandoned Detroit house with American-grown fresh flowers and living plants by cutting–edge florists from Michigan and around the country. Waud credits the partnerships between florists, designers, sponsors, volunteers, and community members with the success of the project that has been featured inThe New York Times, The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, and The Huffington Post. Salon participants will work together to design their own collaborative “house” centered around the themes of beauty, decay, nostalgia, and sustainability.


January 30, 2016
“Still Imagining: Studio, Academy, Community“

Rashayla Marie Brown – Artist, Educator and Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Andres Hernandez – Artist, Designer, Educator, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Rashayla Marie Brown and Andres Hernandez are Chicago based artists, educators and activists. Each will give a talk on their creative practice. Brown explores the role of the artist as both an agent and an object of desire through image-making, performance, social engagement/disruption, writing and curation. Hernandez is an artist-designer-educator who works to re-imagine the physical, social, and cultural environments we inhabit. Both artists balance a practice of socially-engaged creative work with professional and teaching activities that prioritize social justice and inclusion.


January 30, 2016
“Inclusive Pedagogy“

Moderator – Jesse Villalobos, Social Justice Education Strategist
Panelist – Rashayla Marie Brown, Artist, Educator and Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Panelist – Andres Hernandez – Artist, Designer, Educator, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Following the artist talks by Brown and Hernandez, this panel will take up questions of the role of artists and designers in society- and ways education can prepare them. It will present inclusive strategies that help to support diversity and equity in art and design education – including the role of language, global histories, personal experience, identity-based work and socially engaged activity.


January 27, 2016
“An Evening with Janet Echelman“

Janet Echelman, Artist

Janet Echelman found her voice as an artist when her paints went missing, which forced her to look towards her surroundings and at a new art material – fishing nets. Now she makes billowing sculpture the scale of buildings that become inviting focal points for civic life. She combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create monumental, ultra-lightweight art that moves gently with the wind.

Matthew Biro

January 26, 2016
“Anselm Kiefer in France: Barjac as a Total Work of Art“

Matthew Biro, Professor and Chair.
Department of the History of Art. University of Michigan

Between 1993 and 2007, “La Ribaute,” Anselm Kiefer’s studio-estate in Barjac, France, also became his most developed artwork, the site where the artist created, collected, and re-imagined his art, while working with a fluctuating team of assistants. A former silk factory on a hill that Kiefer transformed into a vast complex of living spaces, studios, workshops, and storage facilities, it was also an environment in which he created a new type of “land art” consisting gigantic concrete structures, some reduced to postwar-like ruins, amidst the rural French countryside. Because of its monumentality, its environmental and experiential qualities, and the fact that it synthesized multiple media, “La Ribaute,” has been called a “Gesamtkunstwerk,” Kiefer’s total work of art. This talk shall examine “La Ribaute” in light of this concept as well as Kiefer’s artistic production since his move to France in 1993.

January 19, 2016 6:00pm
“An Evening with Jeffrey Gibson”

Jeffrey Gibson, Artist

Artist Jeffrey Gibson will share his most recent body of textile works and discuss how he moved from traditional painting and sculpture formats towards working with hand embellished textiles and selected texts that combine his personal and political perspectives to create artworks that cross a variety of mediums. He will also discuss how his studio has developed and describe future projects.


January 14, 2016
“An Evening with Leigh Ledare“

Leigh Ledare, Artist

Leigh Ledare (Columbia University, MFA) uses photography, archives, film and text. The focus of Ledare’s practice lies in an investigation of how we are formed as subjects, not merely at the level of identity but at the level of our projected desires, motivations and aspirations.
*Program note: Cleon Peterson was also originally expected to also present at this lecture, but was not able to be in attendance.

January 13, 2016
“Everything Matters/Everything Changes“

Matt Olson, Designer

Matt Olson works on projects related to contemporary art and design: landscape and environments, furniture and objects, actions and scenarios, teaching and writing. In 2016, he began OOIEE (the Office of Int.Est.Ext. [Interior Establishes Exterior]) as a new backdrop for exploring the intersections of time and perception as they relate to the space and the objects that fill it. Embracing an “open practice” in the belief that following forward and trusting the work the world presents becomes a poetic collaboration with the great “everything.”