Museum InfoMedia Room
Detroit Institute of Arts 2008 Exhibitions
Thursday, January 17, 2008
January 17, 2008
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) recently celebrated its grand opening after undergoing a $158 million renovation and complete reinstallation of the galleries. Visitors with all levels of experience, from art experts to novice museum-goers are enjoying the newly installed galleries and new interpretive elements that place the art in the context of human experience.
Below is a schedule of exhibitions for 2008. Exhibitions are free with museum admission unless otherwise indicated. Images are available upon request.
Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.,
Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: $8 for adults, $4 for youth (ages 6-17), $6 for seniors (ages 62+).
Julie Mehretu: City Sitings
November 23, 2007–March 30, 2008
Julie Mehretu: City Sitings brings together 12 of the artist’s monumental paintings. Mehretu’s compelling canvases re-envision urban experience and rewrite narratives of exclusion, reconciling divergent histories through her expansive, dynamic compositions. Inspired by community, history and the built environment, Mehretu will create a suite of new paintings for this exhibition that engages viewers in her vision of metropolitan landscape. An illustrated catalogue featuring enhanced visuals will be published for the exhibition.
Mehretu’s work evokes highly personalized, yet distinctly universal themes that draw on her experiences as a citizen of the world and of the city. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in Michigan and now a resident of New York City, she employs a dynamic visual vocabulary that combines maps, urban grids, and architectural renderings to articulate complex social and geopolitical structures. The immense proportions, organic layering, and careful detail convey the complexities of the urban environment. Mehretu queries what impact an individual can have, and what one person contributes to the construction of a larger narrative. The interplay between the individual and larger community finds form in the compositional structure of Mehretu’s canvases: one must experience them both up close and from a distance to activate the dynamics of local empowerment within a more sweeping story.
This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts in collaboration with Julie Mehretu. Support has been provided through generous grants from the Joyce Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Additional support provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.
The Best of the Best: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the DIA Collection
November 23, 2007–March 2, 2008
The “gems” of the DIA’s graphic arts collection—over 100 of the “best” prints, drawings, and photographs—will be selected from the 35,000 objects that currently constitute the museum’s holding in works on paper. Among the highlights are Michelangelo’s double-sided chalk and pen and ink drawing of 1508 showing decoration schemes for the Sistine Chapel ceiling; Russet Landscape, a color monoprint by Edgar Degas from the 1890s from a small group of brilliant and unique abstractions of the French countryside; and Charles Sheeler’s Wheels of 1939, one of the rarest and best known photographic images in the world. The exhibition will showcase the full breadth and range of the museum’s strongest holdings from 1500s Europe through the art of today. This exhibition is sponsored by the Detroit Free Press.
Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush with Leisure, 1895-1925
March 2–May 25, 2008
Explore how city-dwellers at the turn of the last century spent their leisure time through 80 paintings by American artists known collectively as the Ashcan School. The Ashcan school refers to a group of artists centered around artist/teacher Robert Henri, who instructed his students to “paint what is real.” These artists were men of their times, fully engaged with the urban environment; they painted what they lived. Many works feature bars and cafes where they hung out or depict performances they attended. Several were former newspaper illustrators used to sketching events while they were happening, to capture a vivid sense of the “real.”
Although much of the Ashcan artists’ subject matter deals with the grittier side of city life, they also depicted another aspect of the urban experience—that of leisure-time activities of varying social classes. From parks, prizefights and performances to bars, beaches, ballet, and everything in between, Life’s Pleasures brings together works by Robert Henri, George Bellows, Alfred Maurer, William Glackens, John Sloan, George Luks, Guy Pène du Bois, and others, that bring the art of having fun to life.
What is remarkable about the works in the exhibition is that they realistically capture not only the people and activities, but also evoke the atmosphere surrounding them. In one of the more famous paintings in the exhibition, the DIA’s own McSorley’s Bar by John Sloan, the viewer is transported to a dusty, dark bar where one can almost smell the damp, smoky air. George Bellows, a former newspaper illustrator, painted a scene from a famous prizefight between Jack Dempsey and Luis Angel Firpo. Bellows was in the audience when Firpo sent Dempsey flying out of the ring, and his painting captures the excitement and drama of the moment.
Other leisure-time themes include Dining Out, Fine and Performing Arts, Sports and Recreation, and The Outdoors.
A fully illustrated 250-page catalogue published by the Detroit Institute of Arts and Merrell accompanies the exhibition.
Tickets, which include museum admission and an exhibition audio tour, are $12 for adults, $6 for ages 6-17, DIA members free.
The exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Give it a Rest: People at Play in American Prints and Drawings, 1895-1945
April 2-August 3, 2008
This exhibition of approximately 100 works on paper serves as a complement to Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush with Leisure, 1895-1925. It is drawn almost entirely from the DIA’s collection and is dominated by the prints of John Sloan, George Bellows, Glenn O. Coleman, and Martin Lewis. Their images, which feature people at the circus, the beach, boxing matches, in city parks, on rooftops, reading, walking, dancing, or just relaxing, form a rich reflection of casual times in daily life. Grouped around these scenes of play and leisure are individual images by other artists such as Childe Hassam and Guy Pène du Bois. The early era is represented by several colorful lithographs created for popular magazines by Edward Penfield and William Carqueville and the range of the exhibition is expanded to include works made by artists during the late 1930s who were employed through the Works Progress Administration, a United States federal economic relief program.
Kenro Izu: Sacred Places
July 9–October 12, 2008
Kenro Izu: Sacred Places features over 60 black-and-white photographs of spiritual landmarks located in Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, and Europe. Renowned for his stunningly beautiful photographs of the ancient temples in Angkor, Cambodia, Japanese-born artist Kenro Izu has traveled extensively since 1979, capturing images of religious sites and monuments across the world. A number of these sites have never been photographed before, while others are endangered from neglect, environmental challenges, or overexposure to human contact. Much more than merely documentary in nature, Izu’s photographs convey the spiritual essence of these sites that have resonated over millennia with peoples of many faiths.
In addition to images of familiar sites such as the pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the stone statues on Easter Island, the exhibition also includes photographs of less well known sacred places in Syria, Jordan, Scotland, and Mexico. A practicing Buddhist, Izu made captivating images of Buddhist and Hindu sites in India, the Himalayas, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, and China, which comprise the majority of images in this exhibition. “The important thing is the spirituality of these monuments,” he once told an interviewer. “The building has to be there to photograph but the atmosphere is what I’m interested in. The building is a representation of that spiritual side.”
Kenro Izu: Sacred Places was organized and is circulated by the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. All photographs are lent by The Lane Collection, courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum.
Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
August 23–November 16, 2008
This exhibition features 78 outstanding miniature paintings, calligraphic examples and albums from the libraries of the Great Mughals of India: Akbar (r.1556-1605), Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) and Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1666). The central theme of the exhibition is the collection of diverse materials into albums for the Mughal imperial library. These albums served as sources of enjoyment and entertainment within the private sphere of the Mughal court, but also as channels for propaganda and the consolidation of a public image of kingship. Artists painted compositions of actual events at court, portraits of the ruler, courtiers and holy men, exotic animals and illustrations of literary and historical texts.
As patrons, the Mughal emperors encouraged artists to closely observe flora, fauna and human models. These mainly Hindu painters not only drew upon their own capacities to produce likenesses from nature, but also upon Persian and Hindu painting traditions and conventions, and the European prints that circulated at the Mughal court. It was the extraordinary, experimental synthesis of these diverse sources that gives Mughal painting a particular and compelling beauty. Spectacular examples include paintings from the Salim Album (compiled 1590-1605), the Minto Album (compiled 1620-45) and the Late Shah Jahan Album (compiled 1650-57).
The exhibition is drawn from the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, which houses world-renown collections of manuscripts and miniature paintings gathered by the American mining consultant Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
Of and On Paper: Jane Hammond
October 1, 2008–January 10, 2009
The exhibition features Hammond’s unique works on paper made over the last 15 years from a myriad of techniques and materials, along with prints and books. All of the objects rely on the artist’s “vocabulary” of 276 borrowed images which she has manipulated endlessly to produce visually rich and mentally stimulating compositions that provoke thought, feeling, and new meaning about interaction and communication. Zany and mysterious, the works are flat and three-dimensional, large and small, painted and drawn, photographed, and printed. The exhibition is organized by the Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art, South Hadley, Massachusetts, and the Harwood Museum of Art, the University of New Mexico, Taos.
Monet to Dalí: Modern Masters from the Cleveland Museum of Art
October 12, 2008–January 18, 2009
This exhibition chronicles one of the most fascinating periods in the history of art—the gradual shift from a reliance on artistic tradition to an insistence on individual innovation at the turn of the 20th century. Drawn from the important collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the 70 paintings and sculptures illustrate the creative experimentation that would come to be known as modern art.
In the Impressionist years (mid-1860s to mid–1880s), where this exhibition begins, gloriously light-dappled landscapes by Claude Monet and elegant portraits by Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas explore the effect of light and color. The Post-Impressionists (mid-1880s–1920) feature three paintings each by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne, great masters who emphatically transformed the ethereal ideas of the earlier generation, pointing the way toward the modern world. Expressive sculpture from Auguste Rodin and his followers mirrors these advances in three dimensions. The 20th century is marked by seven works by Pablo Picasso, including a rare large-scale Blue Period painting as well as an Analytical Cubist painting, and important works by Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, culminating with a characteristically Surrealist painting by Salvador Dalí from1931. Together these exceptional examples of works by some of the most acclaimed artists of the period remind us why modern art has so captured the popular imagination. This is a ticketed exhibition.
In Detroit, this exhibition will augment and amplify the DIA’s own strong collection and allow visitors to experience the wide range of styles and approaches pursued by so many artists at this time.
This exhibition has been organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
In the Company of Artists: Photographs from the DIA’s Collection
November 19, 2008–February 15, 2009
Through the photographs of André Kertész, Man Ray, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman and Robert Mapplethorpe discover the lives of famous creative individuals. In the Company of Artists brings together portraits of artists, their families, friends, and surroundings along with dancers, writers and musicians and other individuals from artistic and bohemian circles from the late 1890s to present day.
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Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range and depth.