2017 Lecture Series

December 1, 6pm

Kelly Akashi lives and works in Los Angeles. She has exhibited internationally in institutions and galleries such as Gladstone Gallery, New York (2017), White Cube, London (2017), MOCA Detroit (2017), Antenna Space, Shanghai (2017), Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon (2017), Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles (2016), The Jewish Museum, New York (2016), David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2016), and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016). Her work is in the public collections of LACMA, Hammer Museum, and David Roberts Art Foundation, and has been written about in publications such as Artforum, Frieze, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, New York Times Magazine, Kaleidoscope, and Mousse.

Sponsored by Sculpture Department

Monday, November 20, 2017
From 2002 to 2012, performance artist Xandra Ibarra’s persona, La Chica Boom, embodied the experience of racial and sexual abjection. Through combined parody and spectacle, Ibarra presented various works entitled spictacles—performances that engaged hyper-raciality and sexuality in
order to explore racialized sexuality and queer forms of pleasure. In this lecture, Ibarra will delve into some of the ideological frameworks she draws upon to create and depart from what she
calls “spictacles”.

Sponsored by Studio Council


Thursday, November 9, 2017
Matt Hutchinson believes in the reciprocal relationship between designing and making. Interests in the potential convergence of traditional technique and digital process inform his own architecture and design practice, PATH, where material and fabrication experiments are at the core of his working method. The work evolves through a feedback loop always moving between design and making: try something, evaluate it, transform it, see it in a new way. This curiosity to explore material properties and processes along with the continual testing of ideas through prototypes reveals new potentials for design. 

Sponsored by the Architecture Department and the J. Robert F. Swanson Lecture Fund


Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Fall Critical Studies and Humanities Fellow Heather Davis’s research at Cranbrook focuses on the uncomfortable inheritances of living in the Anthropocene, examining the ways in which how we think about the world literally produces the geologic and biologic conditions in which we find ourselves. In particular, she explores the legacies of plastic and white supremacy in producing what has come to be known as the Anthropocene.

Sponsored by the Critical Studies and Humanities Program


Monday, November 6, 2017
Tanya Aguiñiga is a Los Angeles-based artist/designer/craftsperson who was raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She holds an MFA in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA from San Diego State University. In her formative years she created various collaborative installations with the Border Arts Workshop, an artists’ group that engages the languages of activism and community-based public art. Her current work uses craft as a performative medium to generate dialogues about identity, culture and gender while creating community. This approach has helped Museums and non-profits in the United States and Mexico diversify their audiences by connecting marginalized communities through collaboration.

Sponsored by the 3D Design Department

Friday, November 3, 2017
Victor De La Rosa’s studio practice centers on computer-interfaced technology utilizing jacquard power looms, digital fabric printers and laser cutters. He works across a variety of media and has exhibited internationally.

Sponsored by the Fiber Department


Deborah Aschheim: “Some work about memory and forgetting”
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

For the past ten years, Aschheim has been trying to visualize and understand memory and forgetting, an obsession that has led her to collaborate with musicians and neuroscientists, excavate family archives, conduct psychology research with herself as the subject and build misremembered cities. She will show some sculptures, drawings and installations that sometimes include video and sound or interviews with diverse subjects, and are linked by questions about the mutability of memory.

Sponsored by Sculpture Department


Friday, October 27, 2017
Angela Ellsworth is a multidisciplinary artist traversing disciplines of drawing, sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Her solo and collaborative work has taken in wide-ranging subjects such as illness, physical fitness, endurance, religious tradition, and social ritual. She is interested in art merging with the everyday life where public private experiences collide in unexpected spaces.

Sponsored by the Fiber Department

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Join us for a one-day symposium in conjunction with the exhibition, Cranbrook: A New Domestic Landscape. Jennifer Scanlan, Curatorial and Exhibitions Director at Oklahoma Contemporary, along with recent Cranbrook alumni featured in the exhibition, will explore the intersection of art, craft, and design. A panel discussion and question-and-answer session, moderated by visiting 3D Designer-in-Residence, Vivian Beer, will follow the presentations.

Sponsored by the 3D Design Department and Cranbrook Art Museum

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sonnenzimmer is the collective work of artists Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. Their collaborative practice was established in 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Their presentation, Graphic Arts Future: Corporeal Knowledge, uses word, image, and sound to explore our animal relationship to graphics and our impending graphic future.

Sponsored by the 2D Design Department

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Michael Kokora is a partner at OBJECT TERRITORIES where he leads the office with Miranda Lee and Marcus Carter.  He is an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong and teaches in the Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture programs where he has been working to develop alternative development visions in Myanmar. Recent projects include a park in Da Nang, Vietnam, a masterplan for revitalizing the Erie Canal in New York, a landscape revitalization plan for downtown Oakland, a Museum and Masterplan in South Korea, a Science Museum in Lithuania, and a winery in Northern China. Prior to founding OBJECT TERRITORIES Michael was a partner at OMA and led the office’s work in Asia. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota and Master of Architecture degree from the Yale School of Architecture.

Sponsored by the Architecture Department and the J. Robert F. Swanson Lecture Fund


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fall Critical Studies and Humanities Fellow Heather Davis is a writer and researcher based in Montreal. Her current book project, Plastic: The Afterlife of Oil, examines the intimate manifestation of our cultural fixation with and dependency upon oil through the materiality of plastic. She is the editor of Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies (Open Humanities Press, 2015) and Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada (MAWA and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017).

Sponsored by the Critical Studies and Humanities Program

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Join us for a screening of Columbus; the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Kogonada, which premiered to acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The film is set in the city of Columbus, Indiana, home to world-class architecture and public art, with buildings by Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese, Kevin Roche, and I.M. Pei.

Shelley Selim, Associate Curator of Design and Decorative Arts at Indianapolis Museum of Art, will provide an introduction to the city of Columbus, Indiana. She will examine how a small Midwestern city became a hub of Mid-century architecture – highlighting some of the region’s most iconic buildings.

Sponsored by the Cranbrook Art Museum

Friday, September 29, 2017

David Crabb is a 1999 graduate of the Academy’s Photography department, and is currently a Los Angeles-based author, performer, storyteller and host of The Moth. In 2013, his solo show Bad Kid was named a New York Times critic’s pick. Bad Kid, the memoir, was released in 2015 by Harper Perennial. David has taught storytelling at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Occidental College, Indiana University and NYU. Since 2012, he has performed the solo pieces Bad Kid, $1800, Story Roulette, and Man in a Hole. David is the host of the live storytelling show Traumaville in Los Angeles. His next memoir, Whoever You Are I Hope You’re Okay, comes out in 2018.

Sponsored by the Niels Diffrient Professional Development Fund

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil’s debut film re-imagines an Anishinaabe story, the Seven Prophecy, which both predates and predicts the first contact with Europeans. A kaleidoscopic experience blending documentary, narrative, and experimental forms, INAATE/SE/ explores how the prophecy resonates through the generations in their indigenous community on the Michigan/Canadian border. With acute geographic specificity, and grand historical scope, the film fixes its lens between the sacred and the profane to pry open the construction of contemporary indigenous identity.

Sponsored by Studio Council


Tuesday, September 26, 2017



Monday, September 25, 2017



Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Tuesday, September 19, 2017



Monday, September 18, 2017


Friday, September 15, 2017

Rashaad Newsome is a multidisciplinary artist whose work blends the practices of collage, sculpture, video, music, computer programming and performance, to form an altogether new field. Best known for his visually-stunning collages housed in custom frames, Newsome’s work is deeply invested in how images used in media and popular culture communicate distorted notions of power. Using the equalizing force of sampling, he crafts compositions that surprise in their associative potential and walk the tightrope between intersectionality, social practice and abstraction. Newsome’s works opposes cultural essentialisms. They lead us into a realm of uncertainty, in which the symbols presented transform, but are nonetheless made tangible.

Sponsored by Photography Department


June 17, 2017
Herman Miller’s Global Brand Director Sam Grawe and Corporate Archivist Amy Auscherman will provide an overview of Alexander Girard’s illustrious twenty-year career with Herman Miller as Head of the Textiles Division. Their presentation will be followed by a conversation with grandchildren Aleishall Girard-Maxon and Kori Girard about the work of Girard Studio, which stewards the designer’s legacy.


July 22, 2017
One-day symposium in conjunction with the exhibition, Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe
Join us for a fascinating examination of one of the most influential, yet overlooked, designers of modernism in America, Alexander Girard. Historian Deborah Kawsky will introduce us to Girard’s Detroit days—from his modern design shop in Grosse Pointe to the architecture of his lesser known residences. Curbed’s national architecture critic Alexandra Lange will discuss Girard’s uncanny ability to bring structure to seemingly disparate things, from found artifacts to city streetscapes. Curator Monica Obniski will look at Girard’s prescient collection and use of folk art as an inspiration and antidote to modern design. A moderated discussion and question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.


May 2, 2017
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

April 23,2017
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

April 20, 2017
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 20, 2017
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

March 24, 2017
Arnold Kemp

Kemp has been making and exhibiting critically engaging art for 25 years. He holds undergraduate degrees from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University, and a Master of Fine Arts from Stanford University. Since 2009, he has served as a mentor for graduate students in a full-time academic administration role at Pacific Northwest College of Art and VCU. Prior to that, he was the chair of the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies Program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. He also worked as one of the founding curators of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Sponsored by the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art

March 22, 6pm
Risa Puleo

Curator and critic Risa Puleo will present a review of her current projects including Chimeras, currently on view at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha and featuring the work of Cranbrook alumna Kate Clark.

Sponsored by the Sculpture Department

March 21, 2017
Kristi McGuire

This lecture engages what we mean when we talk about “the Internet,” as a space of fantasy for customer service, narrative desire, ideological performance, the surveillance state, a poor image, public space privatization, and a circulation system for neoliberal rationality and science-fiction dystopianism.
Sponsored by the Critical Studies and Humanities Program

Jen Catron + Paul Outlaw
March 11, 2017

The reality is the problems of the real world are 100 times more problematic in the art world. This lecture is an exploration of the development of our artistic practice while navigating the ever-evolving and always-confusing New York City art scene.

Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw are a collaborative group based out of New York. They are graduates of Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2009. Their practice includes performance, sculpture, and mixed media. The duo has exhibited in various venues including a recent solo exhibition titled Behold! I teach you the Overman! at Postmasters Gallery, New York City, 2016. Their recent exhibition was reviewed in publications as such The New York Times, Hyperallergic, ArtFCity, Nylon Magazine and various other publications.They have created site-specific work for Miami Art Week at Satellite Art Show titled F+++ It, 2016. Other Notable works include Breathless at Rush Arts Gallery in 2014, Succulent National #Selfie Portrait Gallery, Moving Image Art Fair, London England, 2013, No Object is an Island, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI 2011.
Sponsored by the Sculpture Department

March 9, 2017
An Evening of Art + Science
Scott Hocking, Artist
Charles Burant, M.D., Ph.D., Taubman Institute of Science

This lecture was canceled due to a wind storm and power outage.

March 7, 2017
McArthur Binion

Join us on March 7 at 7pm for a public conversation and awards presentation with McArthur Binion (Painting ’73). Binion is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Cranbrook Academy of Art. The evening will begin with an awards presentation, followed by a conversation with Binion and Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design at Cranbrook Art Museum, and Michael Stone-Richards, local writer and educator.

Though McArthur Binion’s over 40-year investigation of abstract painting has been continual, his work has gained prominence in recent years. Binion’s work shares many tenets with the canons of Modernism — and particularly Minimalism — but he subverts the dominant rigid notions of the avant-garde by extracting images and rhythms from varied sources including personal narrative, jazz music, and memory. “The part I took from Minimalism,” Binion said, “is that you want to do your own stuff in your own image.” Equally important to Binion is the integration of personal “DNA,” which is evident in the artist’s recent 2015 solo exhibition, Re: Mine at the Galerie Lelong in New York.

Re: Mine continues his DNA series, begun in 2013, in which he physically lays down copies of his birth certificate and pages from his New York address book as the self-described “under conscious” of his paintings, and applies multiple layers of paint stick in vertical and horizontal strokes, combining biography with geometry.

Binion’s works have been featured in solo exhibitions across the country. And just this month it was announced that his work will be included in this year’s Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel.

Currently, his work Circuit Landscape No. 1, is on display at Cranbrook Art Museum in the From the Vault: Recent Gifts to the Collection exhibition.

February 21, 6pm
AIR Sabbatical Talks (Mark Newport, Iris Eichenberg, Anders Ruhwald)

Join us for an evening of presentations by three of our Artist-in-Residence about new work and research while on sabbatical from the 2015-2016 academic years.
Sponsored by the Dean’s Office

February 24, 2017
Vito + Maria Acconci, Acconci Studio

February 16, 2017
Autonomy and Ambiguity
Igor Siddiqui

Igor Siddiqui is an Associate Professor in Architecture at UT Austin and a licensed architect in New York State. He is the principal and co-founder of ISSSStudio, an emerging practice with a mission to expand architecture’s boundaries by operating across a broad range of scales, typologies, and media. ISSSStudio explores new applications of digital technologies, material innovations, and research methods while also interrogating conventions that ordinarily constrain design production.
Sponsored by the 3D Design Department

February 15, 2017
Performance: “Into The Darkness” by Ingrid Lafleur

Admission to this event is free.

“I’m playing dark history. It’s beyond black. I’m dealing with the dark things of the cosmos.” —Sun Ra

Afrotopia founder, Ingrid LaFleur, will guide us through a meditation to transcend into the cosmos. It is within the cosmic ocean we will be able to strengthen the mind, expand consciousness and let the spirit exhale in order to be able to effectively and with purpose work within the human plane.

Ingrid LaFleur is a cultural producer, arts advocate, and founder of AFROTOPIA. Based in Detroit, AFROTOPIA is an evolving creative research project that investigates the possibilities of using the arts movement Afrofuturism as psychosocial healing. LaFleur explores ideas around historical traumas, myth-making, transcendence, and the role of spirit science and technology within Black American socio-political movements. AFROTOPIA includes a film series, classes for youth, monthly book club, a Dj-in-residence program, a performance art festival and an Afrofuturism Archive.

Known for her expertise on Afrofuturism, LaFleur has presented at Centre Pompidou (Paris), Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA), TEDxBrooklyn, TEDxDetroit, Creative Mornings (Detroit), Iwalewahaus at the University of Bayreuth (Bayreuth, Germany), College for Creative Studies (Detroit). LaFleur is based in Detroit, Michigan.

Sponsored by Post MOVE, a student collaborative supporting the interests of students of color and international students at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

February 10, 2017
Sampada Aranke

Sampada Aranke (PhD, Performance Studies) is an Assistant Professor in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art at the San Francisco Art Institute. Prior to coming to SFAI, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Art History at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her research interests include performance theories of embodiment, visual culture, and black cultural and aesthetic theory.
Sponsored by the Dean’s Office and the Association for Independent Colleges of Art and Design

February 9, 2017
Manon van Kouswijk

The word ‘findings’ has multiple meanings. It is commonly used to describe the outcome of research, investigation or a discovery however it also refers to the small tools and various materials used by an artisan: a jeweller’s findings.

Manon van Kouswijk is a Dutch artist and contemporary jeweller who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she held the position of Head of the Jewellery Department before relocating to Australia in 2010. Her working methodology is based on exploring and translating the archetypal forms and motifs of jewellery, and other objects that are closely related to the body, through a range of materials and processes that shift their reading. An integral aspect of her multidisciplinary practice is the framing and contextualizing of her work through the making of exhibitions and artist publications often in collaboration with other practitioners. Her most recent artist book is “Findings’, published in Melbourne in 2015. In this lecture she will present an overview of her practice, exhibitions and publications and talk about the ideas that underpin her work.
Sponsored by the Metalsmithing Department

February 7, 2017
Kristi McGuire

Opening with a line borrowed from the anarchist anthropologist David Graeber, this lecture “leans in” to an expansive consideration of the structural violence of bureaucracy, performing the problem of work under capitalism’s rhetorical sleights of hand. The usual suspects: the poor image, Citizens United, the anthropological imaginary, Max Weber, Kathi Weeks, feeling your feelings, and the displacement of metaphor.
Sponsored by the Critical Studies and Humanities Program

January 31, 2017
ART21 Screening + Conversation
Tina Kukielski, Executive Director of ART21
Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art + Design at Cranbrook Art Museum

The museum will host a screening of the episode Chicago from the acclaimed PBS series Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century. The four-part episode features documentary shorts on the artists Theaster Gates, Barbara Kasten, Chris Ware, and CAA Alum Nick Cave. The museum’s 2015 exhibition Nick Cave: Here Hear and performance Heard: Detroit are prominently featured in the episode. Following the 60-minute screening, Curator Laura Mott will lead a conversation with ART21 Executive Director about the Peabody Award-winning PBS series and documenting artistic process.
Sponsored by the Cranbrook Art Museum

January 29, 2017
Brian Belott

Over the past 20 years, Belott’s practice has spanned the gamut of media, from bookmaking to performance. His work is in constant flow, led by a relentless curiosity; one that is aware of art history yet operates without the anxiety of influence. The studio is like a creative chemistry lab, where he studies the aesthetic effects of combining material absurdity and the premise of tradition. With these experiments, Belott resurrects the mannerisms of Modernism and he frees his imagination, as he purposefully relinquishes control, foregoing the trappings of orthodoxy.
Sponsored by the Painting Department

January 28, 2017
Ann Arbor Film Festival Digital Program

Nine new experimental, animated, documentary and narrative videos including Mateusz Sadowski’s Resonance, Winner of the Chris Frayne Best Animated Film Award, and Ralitsa Doncheva’s Baba Dana Talks to the Wolves, Winner of the Eileen Maitland Award for Women’s Voice. The program also features Bisonhead (Elizabeth Lo), The Mess (Peter Burr), The Perpetual Motion of My Love for You (Karen Yasinsky), Love Under Will of the Hags Long Tooth (Mica O’Herlihy), Fundir (Allison Cekala), and not even nothing can be free of ghosts (Ranier Kohlberger).

Download the Program

Sponsored by the Dean’s Office

January 27, 2017
Haynes Riley

The ever-deepening wedge between ideological classes has created a moment of increasing decampment by artist to metropolises with built-in art world ecologies. Networks of artists, curators, writers, and audiences in company with physical resources and structures of dissemination—galleries, institutions, universities, libraries—are plentiful in these cities. But what if one were to slip to the other end of the lever, using these hubs as a fulcrum and the space between to build an ecology based in the geographical center?
Sponsored by the 2D Design Department

January 26, 2017
Anthony Dunne

Knoll Lecture in Design sponsored by Knoll International
Design partners Dunne & Raby use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies. Anthony Dunne is Professor of Design and Emerging Technology and a Fellow of the Graduate Institute for Design Ethnography and Social Thought at The New School in New York. Between 2005-2015 he was professor and head of the Design Interactions department/programme at the Royal College of Art in London. He is co-author of the book Speculative Everything – an overview of Dunne & Raby’s research.
Sponsored by Knoll International

January 25, 2017
Sarah Kirk Hanley

In today’s digital culture, more and more artists are working predominantly with print media. This is due not only to the ubiquity of printed imagery, but more importantly, to its direct relationship (as a mechanical, serial medium) to contemporary mass media. Like Warhol and Rauschenberg, many contemporary artists who do not self-identify as printmakers rely heavily on this medium to express their ideas to create unique works rather than editions. Early examples by established artists such as Nancy Spero, Xu Bing, Félix González-Torres, Kara Walker, and Kiki Smith will be discussed alongside the work of a new generation, including Wade Guyton, Kelley Walker, Charline von Heyl, Ryan McGinness, Matthew Day Jackson, Swoon, Nicola López, and Rob Swainston.
Sponsored by the Print Media Department

January 25, 2017
Ben Buswell

Is there an ethic to the object or “objectness”? Thomas McEvilley and Mike Kelley, among others, have written on the social, historical and ethical play between images and objects. Through his own work, contemporary Affect Theory and precedents in the history of Art, Ben Buswell will speak to the object as a space of social potential and subjective connectivity.
Sponsored by the Sculpture Department

January 9, 2017
Claire Tancons

Trained as a curator and art historian, Claire Tancons practices curating as an expanded creative field and experiments with the political aesthetics of walking, marching, second lining, masquerading and parading. Her practice of processional performance has unfolded at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, inaugurated the Faena District Miami Beach and is developing as civic ritual for Printemps de Septembre in Toulouse for next Fall 2017.
Sponsored by the Fiber Department