[art]Nothing makes the world more beautiful than vibrant colors, rich textures and a boundless imagination. And no grueling schedule would be complete if not for the calming respite at the end of the semester to soothe both mind and spirit. It is this drive for release that draws people to the endless possibilities of art, and what better time to explore art than during winter break.
Fortunately, there are a bevy of new artistic experiences waiting to be discovered this winter break. They showcase talent of all ranges and styles in an eclectic mix guaranteed to at least raise a few questions. However, many of the following exhibitions and galleries call for the sleepy-eyed student to do a bit of legwork. While none are more than a few hours drive, they make for a mini road-trip that is a welcome break from the holiday hustle and bustle, or perhaps the preparation for next semester, should one choose to be so efficient.
Look to surrounding cities like Detroit, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and our neighbor down the river, Ann Arbor (and yes, their art comes in more than Maize n’ Blue) for new and exciting exhibitions to tantalize the creative tastebuds in everyone. Since many students will find themselves in or around these cities this winter break, they may be right in the neighborhood. If not, be assured these exhibitions are worth the gas.
Ann Arbor Art Center
Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays / 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Saturdays / 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Fridays / 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Sundays
Location: 117 W. Liberty St. Ann Arbor, MI. 48104
The city of Ann Arbor is not just the home of a certain species of rodent. In fact, there is much to be discovered there beyond football. A plethora of museums, galleries and libraries dedicated to art, music and culture of all forms and backgrounds can be found within the borders of the community. “Ann Arbor is the biggest little town you’ll ever see,” said Phil McLaughlin, a University of Michigan screen art and cultures junior, who believes art is essential to break the cycle of the bustling student life. “We need art to keep us from going insane,\” he said.
MSU journalism sophomore and Ann Arbor native Diane Ivey said it is her hometown’s open-minded mentality and culturally-oriented atmosphere that makes a visit to the city an escape for the stressed-out Spartan. “They’re not afraid to challenge what art is,” said Ivey. \”They are not afraid to be different.”
Ivey said art can help students deal with school stress. “It is a matter of expression,\” she said. \”I think we are so stressed out at school anyway. I think school stifles our expression.” The Ann Arbor Art Center is just the place to visit, with a gallery, shop, and regular art lessons for all ages. The center draws in over 1,000 guests per week to see the creations of Michigan artists. In light of the approaching holiday season, the center is hosting the Holiday Gifts exhibition. This event, which opened on Nov. 16, will showcase the work of more than 500 artists using all mediums, including glass and textiles. For all the last minute shoppers out there, the exhibit will be running after the big guy in red heads back to the North Pole, until Dec. 31.
The University of Michigan Museum of Art
Hours of Operation: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays / 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
Location: 1301 South University Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Much like the students and faculty at MSU love Kresge, the Wolverines take pride in having their own art museum, which draws in all sorts of exhibitions year round. The creations of students, faculty and artists from around the globe are displayed here for the general public.
“Founded in 1946, UMMA is considered one of the most important university art museums in the country,\” associate editor and external relations coordinator Stephanie Rieke said in an email interview. \”Its collections of nearly 18,000 works of art in the Western, Asian, and African traditions include works by most of the great masters and represent the key schools and movements in these cultures. Its collections of works by Whistler and Picasso, and of Chinese paintings, Japanese prints, Korean ceramics, and Congolese sculpture are among the finest in North America.\”
The University of Michigan Art Museum is choosing to honor the Michigan automotive tradition by displaying the photography of Michael Kenna from Dec. 2 – Jan. 14. The exhibit, \”The Rouge: Photographs\” by Michael Kenna, highlights Kenna’s many visits to the Rouge Automotive Plant in Dearborn over the past 14 years. Kenna became enchanted with the plant after his first visit in 1992 and sought to capture the essence of the building and its employees. The exhibit includes 90 photographs depicting the famous production plant. With ties to the automotive industry to be found throughout the student body, the exhibition is not only relatable to them, but can provide insight into a lifestyle that would otherwise be overlooked by those who have never taken to the assembly line.
The Detroit Institute of Arts
Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays / 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Fridays / 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Location: 5200 Woodward Ave. Detroit, Michigan 48202
Admission: $10 for adults
The Detroit Institute of Arts has brought the biggest names in the world of art to the public eye since it was founded in 1885. A visitor can behold the creations of Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Rembrandt all with the same ticket.
[will]This holiday season, the DIA is paying tribute to the art of music through the brilliant photography of living legend Annie Leibovitz. Approximately 70 of her most poetic photographs will be on display at the DIA until Jan. 7. The exhibit, entitled \”Annie Leibovitz: American Music,\” is divided into six parts: Her Life and Work; The Mississippi Delta and the Blue Tradition; An American Tapestry: Jazz, Gospel, Rhythm, Blues and Soul; Contemporary Music: The Search for Authenticity; Contemporary Music After 1980, Hip Hop and Alternative Music; and Musicians in Detroit. The photographs show some of America’s greatest music legends, including B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, The Dixie Chicks, The White Stripes, Mos Def and Norah Jones. Leibovitz is the master of the environmental portrait and presents her subjects as something other than a stage persona.
“It seemed to me that a concert was the least interesting place to photograph a musical…I liked rehearsals, backrooms, hotel rooms, almost any place but the stage.” Leibovitz’s words adorn the deep blue-grey walls of the six-room exhibit.
According to Nancy Barr, graphic arts associate curator for the DIA, the American Music exhibit has been touring the country. “I recommended we bring the show in from the Experience Music Project in Seattle. It has been traveling to a number of venues in the U.S. and abroad,” Barr said in an email interview.
So far, the exhibit has drawn enormous crowds, as music lovers and curious visitors alike fill the halls of the DIA each day. “We have had about 20,000 people through the exhibition so far and the museum is buzzing just about everyday,” said Barr. “It’s great to be here and experience the energy of a successful show.”
The setup of the exhibit, free of ropes or protective glass, creates an intimate experience for the viewers. “I have also done quite a few private tours of the exhibition and people get tremendously engaged in the pictures and the audio tour, which is narrated by Liebovitz,” Barr said.
Hours of operation: 12:00 – 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays – Thursdays / 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays / 1:00-5:00 p.m. Sundays
Location: 4160 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48201
When venturing into Detroit in search of a new visual experience, some of the most visually pleasing exhibits can be found seconds from the DIA. These independently-owned galleries bring in local talent that is often too unconventional or controversial for elementary school field trips. Each provides a new perspective to the visitor, in a setting more down to earth, and often without protection.
“If you aren\’t down here all the time, it can be enlightening because it\’s a completely different world from the suburbs or a college town,” graphic design senior Daryl Tanghe from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit said. \”If you come, bring a camera because there\’s so much weird stuff to photograph.”
One such location is CPOP (pronounced “see-pop”) Gallery. Located on Woodward Avenue across from the Majestic Theater, this hip gallery displays all mediums including photography, painting, prints, sculpture and graphic/animated art. Founder and director Rick Manore, who opened the gallery in 1997, established an “open door policy” which lets artists of all types and levels bring in their work and have an opportunity to display their collection to the public.
Throughout the entire month of December, the gallery will be hosting an exhibition entitled Saints Preserve Us. The exhibit is considered a “group exhibit,” featuring artists from all areas of expertise and origin. “It’s from all over the world, with an emphasis on local artists – a lot of people who don’t live here anymore,” said Manore.
According to Manore, the exhibit will show various artists’ portrayals of patron saints. Not only does the gallery showcase the traditional painting and sculpture displays, but this one will include glass and stencil art as well.
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays – Thursdays / 10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Fridays / 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Sundays
Location: 155 Division North Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3154
Admission: $5 for students with ID for non-ticketed events, $6 for ticketed events
It all began with the chair. This is the philosophy of the staff at the Grand Rapids Museum of Art in Grand Rapids, also known as Furniture City. According to museum director Celeste Adams, the museum held a special exhibit dedicated entirely to the study of one chair: the Eames Lounge Chair. Created in 1956, this piece of furniture changed the techniques used to create new and exciting ways to “have a seat.”
“We wanted to be able to help the public understand how the chair played a role in design,” Adams said.
One year, one podcast and one book later, the museum has brought a new exhibit to Grand Rapids, honoring the throne. \”100 Chairs: Modern Design in Miniature\” is an exhibit brought from the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The 100 chairs, each built to 1:6 scale of the original, are meant to show the history of chair design over the entire 20th century.
“We heard about the exhibit, called Vitra and found out it was available to come here,” said Adams. The company provided the 40 originals from the museum in Germany, as well as 60 new chairs built for the exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
The chairs cover several political and social themes present over the past 100 years. Unfortunately, you will probably have to stand up and lean close to take in this exhibit.
\”I would think that it is important that students experience different types if art because there is so much to learn from the different looks of certain art and the way that it affects different individuals and the feel of the environment,\” freshman nursing major Erin Hollemans said. Hailing from Grand Rapids, Hollemans knows that her city has a lot to offer in the art scene.
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Hours of Operation: Call ahead.
Location: 4000 Highway M-137 Interlochen, MI 49643
If one is choosing a complete escape from the chaos of this campus of 40,000 souls, travel to Traverse City. There you will find the Interlochen Center for the Arts. The campus is a rustic retreat that is home to a boarding high school, summer camp and adult programs surrounding the arts. It comes at no surprise, then, that a school devoted to art has plenty to show for its programs.
Student and faculty exhibitions are held throughout the year, which give visitors a chance to admire the hard work of these dedicated and talented students. The final student exhibition for the semester will be held for the first half of December. According to Arnold Carlson, Art Instructor of Ceramics/Sculpture/Foundations, the gallery display will consist of all the student work done over the semester. “Any student has a chance to enter their work, and then a staff juries it,” said Carlson.
All mediums of visual art will be included in the exhibit, including painting, sculpture, sketching and more. Can’t make it before the exhibit closes? Carlson says to give the art faculty a call and they can arrange a day to tour the gallery while the rest of the campus is closed.
In the film Mona Lisa Smile, the final scene is narrated by the simple words, “Not all who wander are aimless.” It is with this mantra that the preceding challenge is handed out. Seek beauty in abstract faces with noses where eyes should be, or in sculptures realistic enough to soften stone. The examining of art can be both a relaxing and beneficial practice. This allows for internal reasoning, theorizing and the shaping of perhaps the only conclusion a student can draw during the academic year without being graded.
“Art lets people express things they are not even comfortable saying in front of their closest friends,” said McLaughlin.
It is never too late to tap into the other side of the brain, and no, the other will not cease to function in doing so. Creating a new outlook can broaden the mind to foster more thorough ideas, a skill that could help with, let’s say, a dissertation. So throw that MSUFCU Visa in the pump and get driving. The beaten path may become a bit dreary to the eye after a semester of hard labor, so venture off, and allow oneself to become aimless in the pursuit of art.