We all appreciate that Michigan is known around the world as the home of the automobile, Motown music and legends such as boxing champ Joe Louis and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
Less heralded, yet no less remarkable, is Michigan’s central role in the development of American Modernism during the mid-20th century, which created the foundation for our state’s strong design and engineering industry today.
That is why we at the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) are excited to welcome people from around the world to celebrate Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America, the most ambitious project to date examining the history of Michigan’s major impact on the evolution of American Modernism.
This four-day symposium and four-month exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills will showcase how Michigan’s industrial and design history intertwined, creating an epicenter of Modern design that touched nearly every aspect of American life.
Michigan’s industry, prosperity, and educational institutions attracted exceptional talent that defined the era.
Our state’s designers and architects shaped the "look" of the 20th century with iconic pieces like the Eames Lounge Chair, the expressive styling of the fins on a Cadillac, corporate campuses like the General Motors Technical Center, and office environments revolutionized by Herman Miller.
Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America begins with a symposium on June 13–16, hosted by the SHPO and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), and held on Cranbrook’s Eliel Saarinen–designed campus.
Thirty nationally acclaimed speakers will discuss Modernism’s Michigan roots during the symposium, including architecture critic and historian Alan Hess; Paul Makovsky, editorial director of Metropolis Magazine; Eames Demetrios, the grandson of Charles and Ray Eames; and Columbia University Professor and PBS History Detective host Gwendolyn Wright.
Tours of significant sites also are part of the symposium schedule, including a rarely offered tour of the General Motors Technical Center, designed by Eero Saarinen; the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Palmer House in Ann Arbor as well as the city's dynamic William Muschenheim House; the Wayne State University campus, planned by Minoru Yamasaki; and Lafayette Park, the largest collection of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s International style residential work in the world.
Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America opens to the public at Cranbrook Art Museum on June 14 and runs through October 13, 2013. The exhibition will move to the Grand Rapids Museum of Art in Spring 2014.
Learn more here
Cranbrook Art Museum ticket Information:
ArtMembers and Children 12 & under, always free
Seniors (65+): $6
Students with ID: $4