Cranbrook Art Museum
Bloomfield Hills, MI
"True to Form: Selections from the Permanent Collection"
Drawing from the Museum’s holdings of more than 6,000 objects of art, design, and craft, True to Form celebrates Museum favorites alongside newly-acquired works debuting for the first time. It will open during regular business hours, 11am-5pm.
True to Form is thematically arranged into three different sections, each a creative action—Capture, Distill, and Disrupt. Collectively, True to Form is a meditation on how art is in a constant state of reaction, revision, and expansion, and how a museum collection is a reflection of this continuous evolution.
Capture includes work by artists creating “stilled lives” in photography, painting, and the plastic arts, resulting in surprises that contradict expectations of each medium. For example, Andy Warhol’s Polaroids of posed art world glitterati is contrasted with Duane Hanson’s joltingly lifelike Bodybuilder, thereby unveiling a paradox of realism and authenticity.
Distill is a process of filtration and extraction in pursuit of essential meaning. The artworks in Distill are joined by the exploration of how simplified forms can lead to complex readings. For instance, Harry Bertoia’s mid-century architectural wall relief dedicated to space, light, and shadow accentuates Susan Goethel Campbell’s Detroit nightscape, which uses these same qualities to depict strange atmospheric phenomena.
The artists in Disrupt create fascinating interruptions to our predisposed understanding of form and function. For instance, the presumed politeness of painting is thwarted by acts of defiance to its surface via folds, cuts, and tears as evident in the work of Dorothea Rockburne, Gordon Newton, and Aris Koutroulis. And the human form, so sharply in focus in Alec Soth’s photograph of young football players in Capture, becomes a more emotionally charged body in the sculpture of Willem de Kooning and collage of Romare Bearden.
True to Form: Selections from the Permanent Collection is made possible with generous support from the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation and ArtMembers at Cranbrook. The exhibition is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, with the assistance of the museum’s education department.
Photo: Dorothea Rockburne, "Guardian Angel I," 1982