Photo Friday: Art by Degrees

Young women take in the Annual Exhibition of Student Work at the Cranbrook Art Museum. The central painting is Untitled (1957) by student Frank Okada. June 1957. Harvey Croze/Cranbrook Archives.

Visitors take in the Annual Exhibition of Student Work at Cranbrook Art Museum. The central painting is Untitled (1957) by student Frank Okada. June 1957. Harvey Croze/Cranbrook Archives.

It’s that time of year again—the Graduate Degree Exhibition is up and running at Cranbrook Art Museum! Staged in some form or another since 1940, the Graduate Degree Exhibition is a celebration of work produced by Cranbrook’s graduating class of MFA students. This photograph from 1957’s Annual Exhibition of Student Work (an earlier name for the Graduate Degree Exhibition) shows a painting by Academy of Art graduate Frank Okada that might be familiar to eagle-eyed museum visitors—it was featured in the 2013 exhibition What to Paint and Why: Modern Painters at Cranbrook, 1936-1974.

For more information about the 2014 Graduate Degree Exhibition, check out Cranbrook Art Museum’s website. And be sure to check out the show while you still can—it closes May 11!

Photo Friday: Learning by Living and Observing

BS1930s001

Brookside School, ca 1928. The photograph was taken by Arnold Studio, a local Birmingham studio who took most of the early photographs of Brookside School. Cranbrook Archives.

In the 1930s, Brookside School children spent part of their time applying what they learned in the classroom to conditions from real life. Here, children were learning by “living and observing” the daily routines at a pretend store. The “Greenfield Sausage” package on the front of the table was from Hammond Standish & Company meat packing business of Detroit. The company was founded by George H. Hammond, who built Detroit’s first skyscraper—the “Hammond Building.” Hammond also patented the first refrigerated boxcar, and by the mid-1880s, Hammond Standish & Company was using 800 refrigerated boxcars to deliver meat to the Atlantic seaboard each week.

Gina Tecos, Archivist

The Transparent Dog Talks

Vesta, the transparent dog

Exhibition Card, Cranbrook Institute of Science Records, 1955. Cranbrook Archives.

While preparing for an exhibition, it is inevitable that we stumble upon cool, unusual objects in our collection. I love the discovery of the unique stories associated with them.  This image announces an Institute of Science exhibition that featured Vesta, the talking dog.  Vesta (named after the Roman goddess and guardian of the home) was a transparent plastic model created in 1954 for the Gaines Dog Research Center by the Deutsches Museum in Germany. Vesta was then flown to Cleveland, where a team of experts installed an intricate sound system which enabled her to tell interesting facts about herself as parts of her anatomy lit up.   She was part of an educational and scientific traveling exhibition to help dog owners better understand their pets. Continue reading

Photo Friday: Poly Mer and the Emulsions

Doug "Do" Huston (MFA Printmaking, 1975) holds his Poodle Bass guitar, while Chuck Baughman (MFA Printmaking, 1975) is armed with a saxaphone. Lorraine Wild (BFA Design 1975) wears the blue dress. Image courtesy of Steve Milanowski.

Doug “Dog” Huston (MFA Printmaking, 1975) holds his Poodle Bass guitar, while Chuck Baughman (MFA Printmaking, 1975) is armed with a saxephone. Lorraine Wild (BFA Design 1975) wears the blue dress. Image courtesy of Steve Milanowski.

Spring has finally arrived, and with it comes the urge to stay outdoors, enjoy the great weather, and maybe even celebrate with a little music! In 1974, CAA students Doug Huston and Chuck Baughman (both MFA Printmaking, 1975) joined up with Lorraine Wild (BFA Design, 1975) and others to form the band Poly Mer and the Emulsions. As you enjoy our newfound sun (and revel in a landscape finally free of snow), take a moment to consider what sort of sounds might come from a poodle bass guitar, featured here in the arms of the appropriately nicknamed “Dog” Huston.

Cranbrook and the Car, Part 4: On the Road Again

A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car may have closed to the public, but we’re not done with it yet here at the Center for Collections and Research. As Cranbrook Art Museum switches out exhibitions (and gets ready to install the yearly Graduate Degree Exhibition, a show everyone must check out), staff of both the Center and the Museum are busy dismantling cases, assessing the condition of objects as they come down from the display, and preparing spaces to hold new and exciting displays of art and design.

While A Driving Force: Cranbrook and the Car was not a huge show, it did have one very sizable object: the 1914 Scripps-Booth Rocket Cyclecar. In the collection of the Detroit Historical Museum, the Rocket came to us from the Owls Head Transportation Museum where it had been on loan for a number of years (if you missed it, read more about the move here). Now, nine months after going on view, it was time to return it home. This morning our registrar Roberta Frey Gilboe and associate registrar Gretchen Sawatzki helped to wheel the Rocket out onto Cranbrook Art Museum’s loading dock and send it back to the Detroit Historical Museum.

Museum objects need to be preserved in as best condition as possible, which means that driving the Rocket is pretty much out of the question. Even if we wanted to drive it out the building, though, that would be impossible – the car is not in working condition. Instead, we hired a car transporter to pick up the Rocket and drive it the twenty-something miles down to DHM. The following videos (filmed by Gretchen) give a sense of what is involved in moving a vehicle of this size and age. In the first video, Roberta and our truck driver roll the Rocket out into the dock and onto a lift. In the second, the three of them (Roberta, driver, and Rocket) ride the lift up to meet the bed of the truck. In the final video, they roll the Rocket onto the truck. As you can see, moving objects (especially ones as large and as complicated as antique cars) is a complex task. With a team of talented professionals, though, and given enough time, we can safely transport objects from space to space and make room for the new and exciting exhibitions to come.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90781705″>Video 1: The Rocket Starts Rolling</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user21903363″>Cranbrook Kitchen Sink</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90781706″>Video 2:The Rocket Rises</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user21903363″>Cranbrook Kitchen Sink</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90781707″>Video 3: The Rocket Rolls into Place</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user21903363″>Cranbrook Kitchen Sink</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

– Shoshana Resnikoff, Collections Fellow

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