The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum kicked off the year with its fall opening party on Friday. The event, which was open to the public, celebrated the new school year and introduction of four new exhibitions through food, music and art-related activities.
The event also featured speeches from Michigan Speaker of the House Joe Tate, MSU Interim President Teresa Woodruff and MSU Broad Art Museum Interim Director Steven Bridges.
“You see people of all different ages, races, and ethnicities coming together,” Bridges said, referring to the importance of having spaces like the Broad Art Museum on a college campus.
During her remarks, Woodruff spoke about the importance of the arts on campus, calling MSU’s investments “the most significant investment in the arts in the Big Ten.”
“You are all here at the origin of what I believe will be a leading light in the arts for the United States,” Woodruff said.
As part of their ongoing commitment to the arts, Broad will also be unveiling The Center for Object Research and Engagement (CORE), an educational space that seeks to further integrate the arts with object-based learning. The CORE will open in November, housing a new collection of permanent pieces of artwork.
“There's going to be a lot of focus on how we engage with the art,” Maddie Myers, an arts and humanities senior and a member of the Student Creative Council at Broad Art Museum said.
The Student Creative Council serves as an outreach group for the museum and is open for any students to join, regardless of their major. According to Myers, they want people to know that the Broad is more than just a museum; it’s a place to study, relax and attend events.
“The Broad Art Museum is a place for you,” Myers said. “No matter where you come from, no matter what you focus on, we have something for you.”
Since most of the exhibitions at the museum were opened over the summer, the fall opening was an introduction to the exhibits, with Tate speaking about “Resistance Training: Arts, Sports, and Civil Rights,” where he encouraged attendees to pay attention to “how art can shape our society and how we can continue to work together.”
The other three new exhibitions are titled “Seeing in 360 Degrees: The Zaha Hadid Design Collection.”, “Andrea Canepa: As we dwell in the fold,” and “Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home.”
“Andrea Canepa: As we dwell in the fold”
“Andrea Canepa: As we dwell in the fold” explores the impact of fabric and how it relates to one's body and individual identity. As the first solo exhibition of the Peruvian artist in the U.S., Canepa’s show is a part of the Artist Project Series at the Broad Art Museum.
According to Associate Curator Teresa Fankhӓnel, what makes the show unique is its interactive nature.
“You can touch everything in the gallery,” Fankhӓnel said. “You can move a lot of the pieces and use them. You can transform the space.”
As the title of the exhibit suggests, the concept of folds is central to the artwork.
“Her exhibition deals a lot with the idea of folding and unfolding and how different kinds of fabrics and garments affect the way that we create our identities,” Fankhӓnel said. “How we’re being looked at, how we interact in society and the communities that we choose to be in, but of course also how people see us.”
Drawing from her Peruvian roots, Canepa incorporates various aspects of ancient Peruvian mythology into her work — basing the art’s colors and shapes on these ideas.
Fankhӓnel described the show as both joyful and pensive because of the different themes it explores.
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“This question of what are we supposed to see and what are we not supposed to see I think is at the core of what this show’s about,” Fankhӓnel said. “How that relates to us as individuals, but also to the broader society.”
Students can explore “Andrea Canepa: As we dwell in the fold” through January 21, 2024.
“Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home”
The concept of working from home has changed drastically over the last century.
“Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home” draws from the museum’s own collection to reflect this idea, showcasing images that reflect labor practices, both past and present. The exhibit also features modern commentary from various artists.
The exhibit explores how the concept of working from home has changed drastically over the last century, as the start of the digital age and introduction of new technologies transformed the home — an area that once consisted mainly of traditional homemakers — into a labor site for many people. In doing so, working from home has blurred the lines between the boundaries of work and leisure.
Associate Curator Fankhӓnel said to make the exhibition, she looked for current works that comment on the introduction of technology into the home and incorporate many different viewpoints.
Additionally, Fankhӓnel examined MSU history because the university was one of the first schools to have a program of home economics. She said part of what makes this artwork unique is that the Broad Art Museum currently occupies the location of one of the last practice homes of MSU’s School of Home Economics. This is reflected in the large steel house mockup in the gallery.
“We’re kind of inhabiting the same space as that house and that's why we rebuilt that model in the gallery to kind of reimagine that house,” Fankhӓnel said.
The house also acts as a sandbox where visitors can play out what it means to be a homemaker and work from home.
“In a way it feels like we almost kind of need a new version of this sandbox to ask ourselves, 'is the way that we live and work today really working for us? Does it fit us?'” Fankhӓnel said.
Fankhӓne said she selected this contemporary artwork with a younger generation in mind. She noted the importance of having this exhibition at the Broad, where it will be seen by students and younger people.
“I do think that's kind of the question going forward for the people who will start working soon,” Fankhӓnel said. “Are we ok with the way things are going or not, and if not, how would we like to change it?”
“Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home” will be on display until December 17, 2023.
“Resistance Training: Arts, Sports, and Civil Rights”
At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, American sprinter Tommie Smith stood atop the podium, removed his shoes and raised his fist to draw the world’s attention to the injustice and discrimination faced by him and countless other African-Americans.
That moment and various other politically-charged events from the past century are the focus of “Resistance Training: Arts, Sports, and Civil Rights.” The exhibition, which opened in August, highlights the relationships and shared values between artists and athletes in the pursuit of civil rights advancements.
Senior Curator Steven Bridges said that “Resistance Training” felt right at home on campus, noting that much of the exhibition highlights the role MSU athletics played in advancing civil rights causes.
“In many ways, the university was a huge inspiration for the exhibition itself,” Bridges said. “This university was very integral in moving forward, things like racial integration on campus as well as addressing other social issues.”
Studio art junior Trenton Brann said he found the exhibition’s focus on the intersection of sports and politics interesting, and that he left the exhibit feeling inspired.
“It gives a lot of inspiration for people like me,” Brann said. “Just to see people’s stories and see where they come from, see what they’re thinking about, and how we can work together.”
Despite its name, “Resistance Training” is not just an exhibit for sports fans. According to Bridges, the exhibit’s array of pieces vary wildly in topic as well as medium.
“We try to design exhibitions that really integrate campus and the many disciplines that exist here at MSU,” Bridges said. “There’s the relationship of fashion and design with regards to these issues — social sciences, cultural anthropology. It’s really quite ranging in a lot of ways.”
Business freshman Zach Cavanillas said he was impressed by the exhibit, noting its ability to inspire unity during a politically divisive time such as now.
“It just shows how everybody is connected through games that we love,” Cavanillas said.
“Resistance Training: Arts, Sports, and Civil Rights" will be on display until Feb. 18, 2024.
“Seeing in 360 Degrees: Zaha Hadid Collection”
“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”
This question, proposed by architect and designer Zaha Hadid, served as the inspiration for “Seeing in 360 Degrees: The Zaha Hadid Design Collection.” The exhibit compiles Hadid’s largest collection of work in North America into one exhibition curated by Assistant Curator Rachel Winter.
The collection, which opened on Friday, features a range of furniture and everyday objects such as shoes, sunglasses and a door handle, all envisioned through Hadid’s unique design style.
Hadid, who designed the Broad Museum, believed that the boundaries of design, geometry and philosophy were all meant to be pushed, Winter said.
“When we think about seeing 360 degrees, what we're trying to do, and what we also want to ask our audiences to do, is to look at things differently,” Winter said.
In her time working at the museum, Winter has curated four exhibitions that feature Hadid’s designs. Most recently, the museum featured “Zaha Hadid Designs: Untold.” While the newer exhibition features a lot of the same work, it differs in a few key ways.
While the previous exhibition was more of a retrospective of Hadid’s Work, the new exhibition seeks to understand her work in depth and how it connects to her design principles, Winter said. For her, it’s about “sewing that dialogue between architecture and design.”
One such design can be found in the layout and exterior of the Broad Art Museum, which Hadid designed. This has been a source of contention for the East Lansing community since the building first appeared on campus in 2012, when many people voiced concerns with how the building’s appearance contrasted surroundings buildings.
“We really want to use that as a catalyst for conversation,” Winter said. “Learning to just think more about our surroundings and how other people might see the same area, question or topic differently.”
But according to Winter, Hadid’s impact on the MSU campus has gone beyond sparking conversation. The artist's work also serves as something students can relate to.
“All of the objects that are in the gallery are actually the product of years and years of research,” Winter said. “(They) are really speaking to how we can research and think more broadly.”
“Seeing in 360 Degrees: The Zaha Hadid Design Collection” will be open through August 2026.
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