The beauty of the temporary

Today, June 13, is the birthday of artist Christo, born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff in 1935 in Bulgaria. It's also the birthday of his wife, also an artist, Jeanne-Claude, born Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon in Casablanca, Morocco. They are known for their huge joint-installations like "Running Fence" in 1976, which was a fabric fence running through Sonoma and Marin counties in California, or "The Gates," pieces of orange fabric hung through New York's Central Park. All of Christo's and Jeanne-Claude's installations are temporary. Although they take years to prepare, they are often only on display for a few weeks.

Another artist whose work's life span is dependent on the forces of nature rather than human intervention is Andy Goldsworthy, whose film Rivers and Tides is a visually stunning representation of the ephemeral nature of all things.

Ann Arbor Art Fair, The Original, 50th Anniversary Exhibit

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On display at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room & Lower Level Glass Display Cases, June 2 through July 19.

To celebrate 50 years of originality, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is exhibiting original posters, art, and photographs spanning its first half-century. Visitors to the exhibit can explore the history of the Fair through narrative panels chronicling each decade from its humble beginnings to its place today as one of the most highly regarded art fairs in North America. Included in the exhibit is an original retablo by artist Nicario Jiminez depicting the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. Also check out the online collection of images from the history of the Fair that is a part of AADL's pictureAnnArbor collection.

American Institute of Architects Huron Valley 2008 Honor Awards Recipients

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On Display at the Downtown Library Third Floor Exhibit Area, June 2 through July 16.

As part of its commitment to advancing the contemporary understanding of architecture, the Huron Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Huron Valley) announced the recipients of its 2008 Honor Awards Program at its annual awards ceremony at the University of Michigan’s League on April 18th, 2008.

Fifteen projects, designed by registered Architects practicing in the Huron Valley Chapter area were submitted for consideration by an independent jury. Four of the projects were selected by the jury to receive a merit-based Honor Award. All submissions will be exhibited at several locations throughout the year.

Stony Expressions: New Exhibit at UMMA!

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If you haven't yet visited the University of Michigan Museum of Art post-renovation, here's a little bit more incentive. A new exhibit has just opened at UMMA, called Treasures Rediscovered: Chinese Stone Sculptures from the Sackler Collections at Columbia University. It runs through August 16th, so you'll have most of the summer to check it out! There are a number of other exhibits on display, if stone sculptures aren't your thing. And, if you'd like to do a bit of summer reading on Chinese art, the AADL has a selection of books that might just suit, such as The dynasties and treasures of China.

Ink Drawings on Paper by Aleksis Lahti

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Aleksis Lahti was born in Ann Arbor and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1963 with a BS in design. He also attended the Accademia Di Belle Arte in Florence, Italy. He has been self-employed since 1967 doing architectural, interior, product, and graphic design, and has taught drawing at Lawrence Technological University for more than thirty years.

According to the artist, "These new drawings just happen. I add small elements of line or color a little at a time. Any of these drawings could go on and on. They are finished only because I stop drawing. The line or color cannot be removed. I can only go forward not back." The drawings will be on display at Malletts Creek Branch from May 2 through June 16, 2009.

An Enduring Gift of Art

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If you have visited the Traverwood Branch, it is likely that you would have admired the still life painting near the program/playroom. It is the work of longtime U-M professor Mignonette Cheng who died April 23rd at the age of 76. (See news article). The painting is a gift of the Ladies Library Association.

A gifted artist, a respected educator and a gracious individual, Professor Cheng will be greatly missed. You can see more online images of her recent work and check out her Watercolors of Italy (the catalog from her one-woman show at the University of Michigan Museum of Art ) in the library's collection.

A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 1432 Washtenaw Ave. in Ann Arbor.

Visit the Detroit Artists Market

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Take a trip to the Detroit Artists Market for the 2009 All-Media Exhibition. The show kicks off DAM’s spring season with a juried exhibition of contemporary art by 48 Detroit and Michigan artists. The exhibition will be on display until June 6. Since 1932 the Detroit Artist Market has been rooted in the history of Detroit art and culture, and continues today to be a community organization promoting contemporary art. As a bonus, check out a Museum Adventure Pass before you go and get a 10% discount on DAM merchandise.

Ann Arbor Public Schools Student Art Exhibit

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Each year, the Ann Arbor Public Schools come to the Library to showcase the work of their students. Once again, the developing talents of students in kindergarten through fifth grade art classes will be displayed throughout the Downtown Branch. The current exhibit will be up through May 28. Artwork will be on display at the Downtown Library in the Multi-Purpose Room, Lower Level Glass Display Cases, Third Floor Exhibit Area & Youth Department

Loot

Love museums and antiquities? Ever wonder how the British Museum ended up with the best stuff from every country colonized in the name of the Queen? The Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Vatican and the J. Paul Getty Museum were in on the game too.

Loot by Sharon Waxman is a fascinating, well-written account of how Egypt, Greece, Italy, Turkey and others have been plundered of their masterworks by treasure hunters, museums and nobility bent on creating personal collections. She aptly describes the history of this high-stakes conflict that includes lawsuits, grave robbers, international thievery and personal and professional ruin.

Many pieces have been returned over the years but not without a fight. The major museums of the world insist that world cultural heritage will be damaged if the art is returned to their country of origin because fewer people will go to smaller museums in the host countries.

Surrealist? Dadaist? Rebel?

Today, April 20 is the birthday of Spanish artist Joan Miro. Known in some circles as a surrealist, Miro himself denied any labels and rejected any political or social influences on his work. Known primarily as a painter, Miro's canvases were inhabited by whimsical sticklike figures, floating objects and playful interactions among the many personalities he created. He also was a sculptor, creating "The Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun" at the UNESCO building in Paris. He also made a tapestry for the World Trade Center and a sculpture called "Miro's Chicago" in the Loop business district.

"The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. I'm overwhelmed when I see, in an immense sky, the crescent of the moon, or the sun. There, in my pictures, tiny forms in huge empty spaces. Empty spaces, empty horizons, empty plains - everything which is bare has always greatly impressed me." - Joan Miró, 1958, quoted in Twentieth-Century Artists on Art.

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