Online Exhibition: Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994

This week, we’re proud to announce that the Center is launching its first online exhibition! With the tireless efforts of the Center’s Administrative Assistant and resident website guru, Alissa Seelmann-Rutkofske, we have adapted my 2018 exhibition Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994 for the web.

DSC00311

Installation view of Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994. You can learn much more about the content of the show in the new online exhibition, or learn about the display system here. July 2018, Meng Li, photographer.

The show, which was on display in Saarinen House from April to November 2018, focuses on the first five Presidents of Cranbrook Academy of Art. These were the only five leaders to live in Saarinen House (built to be the President’s residence) and the only five who held the title “President” (we now have Directors of the Academy and a President of Cranbrook Educational Community).

In the online exhibition, you will learn about President Eliel Saarinen and the four subsequent presidents: Zoltan Sepeshy, Glen Paulsen, Wallace Mitchell, and Roy Slade. Each man’s page features a short biography, history of their artistic practice, and an account of the Academy under their leadership. Their tenure is documented through photographs from Cranbrook Archives, showing the presidents and their era of the Academy (including publications, Museum exhibitions, protests, parties, and other examples of student life and strife).

You’ll also find an Exhibition Checklist of the paintings and drawings from each president that were included in the show; click on the title of each work to see a larger image. Also online are photographs of the Exhibition Installation and information about the design and construction of our custom-made displays.

Exhibitions are a lot of research and work, and once they’re deinstalled it can feel like all the effort was for naught. Using the show’s text and images, documentary photography from P.D. Rearick, and with the encouragement of the Center’s Director, Greg Wittkopp, I am happy that Presidents/Residents and the efforts that went into its physical production will live on in digital form. Please go take a click around, and let me know what you think.

Kevin with the Drill

“My work here is done!” The curator in a moment of repose during the installation of Presidents/Residents. Seen sitting in a Platner chair that belonged to Roy Slade, and is currently back in use at the Academy administration offices, but was used in Saarinen House from 1977 to around 1990 and again during the exhibition. April 2018, Ashley Bigham, photographer.

Look for digital documentation of our other past exhibitions soon, and don’t miss your last chance to see this year’s show (in person): Studio Loja Saarinen: The Art and Architecture of Weaving, 1928-1942, on view with all Saarinen House tours through Thanksgiving weekend.

Kevin Adkisson, Curatorial Associate

3 thoughts on “Online Exhibition: Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994

  1. Dear Kitchen Sink,

    This looks like a delightful exhibit in Saarinen House, and your online version is a treat. But I’m duty-bound to tell you that the photo of Wallace Mitchell “in his studio holding Turnabout Number One” does not show Wallace Mitchell (my father) doing that. The man in the photo must be a colleague or a friend or a student, but unfortunately I can’t identify him. All I can say is that he doesn’t look at all like the man I remember.

    Please change your caption—but please also keep up the good work. It’s much appreciated.

    Jeffrey Mitchell
    41 Dogwood Lane
    Northampton, MA 01060

    From: Cranbrook Kitchen Sink
    Reply-To: Cranbrook Kitchen Sink
    Date: Friday, November 8, 2019 at 6:04 PM
    To: Jeffrey Mitchell
    Subject: [New post] Online Exhibition: Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994

    [EXTERNAL SENDER]
    cranbrookkitchensink posted: “This week, we’re proud to announce that the Center is launching its first online exhibition! With the tireless efforts of the Center’s Administrative Assistant and resident website guru, Alissa Seelmann-Rutkofske, we have adapted my 2018 exhibition Saarin”

    Like

    • Jeffrey–

      Thank you very much for your comment and pointing out the picture. I have corrected the caption to include the fact that, you’re right, that’s not Wally Mitchell! The correct image will be uploaded this week. I appreciate your compliments and correction!

      Kevin

      Like

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