Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills currently has three exhibitions devoted to the exploration of craft and the innovative people and teaching methods that shaped the field of design for generations: In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (1950-1969), Christy Matson: Crossings and Ruth Adler Schnee: Modern Designs for Living.
Ruth Adler Schnee was one of the first women to graduate from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1946. Along with her husband Edward Schnee, she founded a design consulting firm and modern design shop in Detroit in 1948 called Adler-Schnee, which brought good design into "important modern homes and larger institutions” through the 70s. Adler Schnee continues to shape the look and feel of the mid-century modern interior as she still works as a textile and interior designer at the age of 96.
Among many achievements throughout her lifetime, Adler Schnee received the Kresge Eminent Artist Award in 2015, the Women in the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award and American Institute of Architects’ International Color Award and is the subject of the documentary The Radiant Sun: Designer Ruth Adler Schnee, which is being shown at Cranbrook in conjunction with the exhibition.
“We wanted to shed light on and pay respect to a woman who was significant during that time as many women were doing a lot then without the same recognition as their male counterparts,” Director of Communications at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum Julie Fracker said.
In order to highlight the contributions she has made to the mid-century modern movement, this specific exhibit features the body of textile patterns that Adler Schnee is known for, such her well-known screen-printed fabrics, a 224-page monograph on the designer’s life and much more. In addition to this exhibition, the other two will also run through March.
Cranbrook Art Museum is located at 39221 Woodward Avenue on the campus of Cranbrook Educational Community. The art museum opened in 1930 as one of the earliest institutions in the US dedicated to the “presentation of contemporary art.” For more information, visit cranbrookartmuseum.org or call (248)-645-3323.
1. In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (1950-1969)
This exhibition explores how an experimental school in rural Maine transformed art, craft and design in the 20th century and helped define the aesthetics of the nation’s counterculture. It features more than 90 works of art, including textiles, ceramics, glass, metalwork, paintings and more.
2. Christy Matson: Crossings
Featuring work by Los Angeles-based artist Christy Matson, this exhibition highlights her "painterly approach" to textiles. Matson employs a hand-operated, computer-programmable Jacquard loom to create intricate weavings to which she often applies paint and other fiber techniques. She combines both hand and machine processes to mine her deep interests in collage and abstraction.