Cranbrook, the holy grail of art and design. Actually it's known as "the cradle of modernism" or America's Bauhaus and this is because of the plethora of notable designers that have been a part of the Cranbrook community and continue to influence modernism to this day. Some of the notable alumni are Harry Bertoia, Richard DeVore, Niels Diffrient, Charles and Ray Eames, Frederick James, Florence Knoll, Fumihiko Maki, Ralph Rapson, Eero Saarinen, Toshiko Takaezu and Harry Weese to name a few.
And this past weekend I just happened to be in Bloomfield Hills, MI, the home of Cranbrook-wahoo! It's a funny thing because we passed this sign several times while we were there before I realized this was THE Cranbrook, I personally feel that the sign is rather generic and unremarkable, considering the reputation- don't ya think?
So we drive in to the Art Museum only to find this. The sign to the left says "ART MUSEUM CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION Saarinen House Open May-October Inquire at the Institute of Science" So that pretty much sucks. I have seen pictures of this Orpheus Fountain by Carl Milles many times and it is beautiful with a large water plume in the middle, it is currently dry and over grown.
So we head over to the Institute of Science.
While there we confirm that they do indeed only offer only ONE tour of the Saarinen House per day and that tour is limited to 12 people. So being completely shut down we walked around the campus snapping pictures of what we can.
The campus is beautiful. When the $22 million renovation and expansion is complete and reopens on November 11, 2011 it will house the full collection of over 6,000 pieces of art, architecture and design.
I do have to say that I am dissapointed in Cranbrook's effort to share this amazing history. I understand there is a renovation going on but none of the employees on campus seemed to know much about the architecture, art, or location of landmarks. The signage is unclear through out the campus and the fact that the one attraction that is still open is so limited is really just pathetic. As an artist I feel it is artists responsibly to share whatever skills, talent, information, and history we have and know with the world. If we don't share these treasures does it really matter that we have them?