The Art of Renovation: The Reopening of the Cranbrook Art Museum

After two years and $22 million in renovations, the CAM reopens
A view of the new 20,000-square-foot Collections Wing. // Photographs courtesy of the Cranbrook Art Museum

The Cranbrook Art Museum reopens this month after a two-year, $22 million renovation and expansion.

Marking the occasion is the exhibition No Object Is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection.

On display in the Bloomfield Hills museum, which was originally designed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, will be the work of 100 artists and designers, half of them contemporary and half from the permanent collection of 20th- and 21st-century art and design. Unexpected visual pairings will include a Nick Cave Soundsuit with a May Morris Arts and Crafts tapestry.

The exhibition’s reference to “Island” refers to a new approach to museum display in which collections are no longer hidden away or treated as elite, segregated treasures. The entire collection is now visible to visitors and classes will be held in view of or inside the museum’s glass-walled vaults.

Top: The main vault, including the museum’s chair collection and painting storage racks. Bottom: ESU (Eames Storage Unit), designed by Charles Eames, part of the Cranbrook collection. From 1937-40, Eames headed the Design Department at Cranbrook.

No Object Is an Island opens Nov. 11, with an 11-day program of events, lectures, films, and performances during which the museum will be open 11 hours daily. Island runs through March 25, 2012. Information: 248-645-3320,

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