In the Loop


Published:

If ever our metropolis needed a superhero, it’s now.

This month, the Cranbrook Art Museum comes to our rescue with Superheroes in Action. The exhibit, opening Feb. 1 and running through March 29, showcases the work of Mark Newport, whose creations focus on the softer side of caped crusaders.

Think “able to leap tall buildings in a single knit jumpsuit.” Rather than envisioning men of steel in Spandex or Kevlar, Newport — who heads the Cranbrook Academy of Art fiber department — imagines comic-book protagonists as wearing hand-knit costumes. The cozy, sweater-like uniforms recast superheroes as vulnerable characters. 

Using the traditionally feminine art of knitting, Newport fashions life-size superhero garb in a way that questions the meaning of maleness. “The goal of my work is to expand on traditional roles of identity to the point that you’re just a person,” says Newport, whose costumes have been featured nationally. As a child, Newport pored over Marvel comics, learning to draw by copying illustrations. As a father, he questioned gender roles and put a twist on the concept by embroidering comic-book covers. Later, he ventured into knitting, a talent he learned from his grandmother and came to associate with security. “My mother used to knit my brother and [me] sweaters,” Newport says. “It’s a protective gesture of the feminine side.”

His own knit creations take two to five months to complete. It’s a meticulous process, he says, one that’s a quiet contradiction to the high-powered actions of superheroes. As the show reveals, both activities share a common thread. The artist explains: “Superheroes are a great metaphor for who we are as people, how we care for each other, and how we work as a community.”
 

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

The Way It Was

Better Made Snack Foods, 1971

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Tracy Utech

With over 20 years of experience, Utech and her team have championed funds that have seen benefit outside of Wayne State’s campus.

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Karen Smithbauer

A career as a preschool teacher and battle with breast cancer, ground Smithbauer's philanthropic efforts

An Hour with ... Faith Duede

Founder, Rocky Horror Preservation Society
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2018
  2. Memories of Miya
    Citizen Yoga founder, Kacee Must Leeb reflects on her sister’s suicide, its impact on her...
  3. Introducing the Piekie
    These cookie-shaped pies win big on-screen and off
  4. Mending Migraines
    Nausea, excruciating head pain, sensitivity to light and noise: The oppressiveness of the list of...
  5. Seeking Support
    Like many metro areas across the U.S., finding a therapist in and around Detroit can prove to be...
  6. The Sixth Man
    A youth basketball coach teaches lessons on and off the court
  7. Therapy in the Digital Age
    New innovations that revolutionize traditional approaches to counseling
  8. Author's Cuisine
    At M Cantina in Dearborn, Junior Merino is creating a new kind of Mexican cuisine that is...
  9. Food Recipe: Chili
    Michael Keys, of Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, shares his favorite chili recipe
  10. Seeing Clearly
    The co-founders behind Genusee on making eyewear with a mission