A Look at Cranbrook Art Museum’s Fall 2021 Exhibits

The Bloomfield Hills museum is presenting photo exhibitions on architecture and solo shows for artists Allie McGhee and Olga de Amaral

Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills has a lineup of new exhibits for fall 2021. James Haefner: Michigan Modern and Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan, both of which opened earlier this month, are photo exhibitions focused on architecture, and Allie McGhee: Banana Moon Horn and Olga de Amaral: To Weave a Rock, debut this weekend and feature the work of two artists with ties to the metro Detroit area.

“This season’s exhibitions underscore the dual mission of Cranbrook Art Museum, one tied to the collecting and interpreting the work of influential alumni of Cranbrook Academy of Art and the achievements of Detroit-based artists. Olga de Amaral and Allie McGhee are preeminent examples of this mission,” says Andrew Blauvelt, director of Cranbrook Art Museum, in a press release. “At the same time, we celebrate the impact that Michigan has played in the development of modernism in America, and in this regard, Eliel Saarinen’s Cranbrook campus and the more than 40 examples of significant architecture found across the state and captured by photographer James Haefner offer a resounding case for such excellence.”

Find more on the exhibits below and stop by Cranbrook Art Museum from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow for an Opening Preview Party of the 2021 fall season. The event is free for museum members and $20 for general admission.  

James Haefner: Michigan Modern

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(Clockwise from left) Melvyn Maxwell and Sara Smith House, W. Hawkins Ferry House, McGregor Memorial Conference Center, and Cranbrook Educational Community are among the buildings photographer James Haefner has captured. // Photographs by James Haefner

Photographer James Haefner has shown his photo project highlighting Michigan’s Midcentury Modern movement at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum in Saginaw County. Now, his work can be seen at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

On view through Jan. 9, James Haefner: Michigan Modern includes photographs of more than 40 buildings, including the GM Tech Center in Warren, the McGregor Conference Center at Wayne State University in Detroit, and the Douglas House in Harbor Springs. Exhibit visitors will also find interpretive texts by Brian D. Conway, author of the 2018 book Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy, which features Haefner’s photos.

A Public Lecture with Haefner and Conway will take place at 6 p.m. on Nov. 4. For this event — as well as the others associated with fall 2021 exhibits — Cranbrook will hold the discussion in-person at the museum and live-stream it. Those interested in attending can register online.   

Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan

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Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan highlight the work of architect Eliel Saarinen on Cranbrook’s campus. // Photographs by James Haefner

 Eliel Saarinen is the architect behind Cranbrook’s campus. In conjunction with Michigan Modern, the museum is also presenting a gallery of photographs by Haefner of the Finish architect’s buildings.

On view through Jan. 6, Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan features photographs of Kingswood School, the Academy of Art Library and Art Museum, Saarinen House, and more. At 6 p.m. on Dec. 2, the museum will hold a Public Lecture with Blauvelt, who will discuss the architecture showcased in the exhibit.

Allie McGhee: Banana Moon Horn

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Allie McGhee, “Fall Rush,” 2013, acrylic and enamel on paper. // Photograph courtesy of the artist and Hill Gallery

Mixed-media abstract artist Allie McGhee has been a part of the Detroit art community since the 1960s. His work has been in shows across the country and can be found in the collections of the St. Louis Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and more.

Allie McGhee: Banana Moon Horn — his largest retrospective to date — will feature some of his significant past works as well as new pieces created specifically for the exhibit. “I’m looking forward to showing the arc of my creative practice through the exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum,” McGhee says in a press release. “For the first time, I will be able to show a large selection of my work over decades and highlight the connections between years of practice.”

The exhibit opens to the public on Oct. 30 and will be at the museum through Feb. 13. McGhee will join Laura Mott, senior curator of contemporary art and design at Cranbrook Art Museum, in a conversation at 6 p.m. on Nov. 11 to discuss his work.

Olga de Amaral: To Weave a Rock

Olga de Amaral
Olga de Amaral, “Estelas (Stelae),” various dates, linen, gesso, gold leaf. // Photograph © Diego Amaral

Also debuting on Oct. 30 and running through Feb. 13, this exhibit showcases the work of Latin American artist Olga De Amaral. A student of Cranbrook Academy of Art in the ’50s, Amaral is a textile and visual artist who creates large abstract sculptures. She now lives in Bogotá, Colombia.

Olga de Amaral: To Weave a Rock includes 40 pieces and covers more than five decades of Amaral’s career. The exhibit, which was on view at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston before making its way to Cranbrook, is the artist’s first major museum retrospective in the U.S.

The museum will host a Curators Talk about the exhibit at 6 p.m. on Oct. 30. Mott and Anna Walker, former assistant curator of decorative arts, craft, and design at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will discuss how Olga de Amaral: To Weave a Rock came together.

For more information about exhibits and events, visit cranbrookartmuseum.org.

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Emma Klug is a senior editor and digital content coordinator at Hour Detroit. In her role, Klug writes and edits stories on community, art, food, and lifestyle topics for hourdetroit.com, edits the Hour Daily newsletter, and is involved in planning and proofing the monthly print magazine. She also oversees the editorial web internship program for the magazine. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Klug has been with Hour Detroit since 2016. She has also contributed to Hour Media publications DBusiness magazine and Metro Detroit Weddings magazine. You can reach her at eklug@hour-media.com.