CFPCA presents BERG/BRONER: Sculpture and Prints by WSU Mid-Century Modernists

Detroit Jewish News

Art Among Friends: WSU presents exhibit of sculpture and prints by two influential Detroit mid-century Modernists
by Suzanne Chessler

Irving Berg and Robert Broner, longtime friends as well as fellow artists and educators at Wayne State University, worked with found objects. Berg was a sculptor who used the objects in three-dimensional collages, and Broner was a printmaker who used objects as both printing devices and subjects. Their work and friendship come together in a memorial tribute exhibit, Berg/Broner: Sculpture and Prints by WSU Mid-Century Modernists at McGregor Memorial Conference Center Sept. 22-26.

RSVP for the exhibit's Sept. 26 reception.


Wayne State University presents exhibit of sculpture and prints by two influential Detroit mid-century Modernists: Irving Berg and Robert Broner
DETROIT (08 Sept., 2014)  – Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts presents the art exhibit BERG / BRONER, Sculpture and Prints by WSU Mid-Century Modernists September 22 through 26, 2014, at Wayne State’s McGregor Memorial Conference Center. The exhibit runs in cooperation with the 2014 Mid-America Print Council Conference hosted by Wayne State University, September 24–27.
Irving Berg (1921-2009), Wayne State 1943 and ’50, was a head of the art department at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School and a supervisor of student art teachers at Wayne State University. “Two major happenings during the early 1940s, the death of my mother in an automobile accident and the beginning of World War II, turned my interest from commercial art to sculpture,” Mr. Berg once wrote. “In the solid forms of sculpture I found some measure of relief from death in the present and from the ominous rumbling of the future.” Berg’s artistic achievements as a sculptor, ceramist, jewelry designer and photographer are well recognized. His work is in the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts and Wayne State’s Reuther Library. He created the sculpture garden at Camp Maas, Lake Orion, MI, devoted to large, outdoor pieces with Biblical themes, achieved with the assistance of student campers. He was honored with awards from the Michigan Council for the Arts and the Detroit Institute of Arts and he received Wayne State’s Arts Achievement Award.

Robert Broner (1922-2010), Wayne State 1945 and ‘46, was professor emeritus of art at Wayne State University, professor at Cooper Union of Art in New York, and visiting professor at Haifa University and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design where he introduced silk screen, texture imprint and woodcut collage techniques to Israel. He was past president and founder of the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), National Print Council, and the Michigan Association of Printmakers; founded Print News; consulted on print legislation to develop copyright laws for prints; was correspondent for Art in AmericaArt Forum, Craft Horizons and New Art Examiner; and served on the Fulbright Art and Art History Committee. He introduced techniques central to the growth of 20th century printing, inventing the texture imprint monoprint and woodcut collage along with various printmaking techniques and solvent mixtures to print from found objects and electric circuit boards. “I have to work from my own integrity and my own sense of experience and I don’t approach my work within a predetermined style or ‘look’ for the prints,” Professor Broner once told Detroit Artists Monthly. “It’s being willing to change an experience from out there into something personal. That is, to turn something around and make the same image mean something totally different.” Broner exhibited in 27 solo shows and over 100 group shows. His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Boston Public Library; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Cincinnati Art Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts; Fogg Museum, Harvard University; Guggenheim Museum, NY; Israel National Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; New York Public Library; Smithsonian Institute, National Collections, Washington; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among other collections. Broner was awarded the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship and twice the Michigan Council for the Arts Creative Artist Award. His papers are housed in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

Sculptor Irving Berg and printmaker/painter Robert Broner were longtime friends both involved in art education and the community of Modernist artists in Detroit. Berg used found objects to comprise his collage sculptures called Assemblages, and Broner utilized found objects as both printing devices and subjects. "In contrast to the avid materialism of their era, Irving and Robert represented a generation of artists that believed in the prime importance of art in the community," said Harriet Berg, wife of the sculptor. In effect these men transformed objects into art.

BERG / BRONER: Sculpture and Prints by WSU Mid-Century Modernists is open daily, Monday through Thursday, Sept. 22–25, 9am to 5pm; Friday, Sept. 26, 9am to 6pm. McGregor Memorial Conference Center is on Wayne State’s Midtown Detroit campus at 495 Gilmour Mall, Detroit, MI 48202. Self-parking is available in nearby Wayne State Structure 1 (Palmer St. at Cass Ave.) and Structure 5 (southbound Anthony Wayne Dr. just south of Palmer St.), as well as at meters on surrounding streets. Guests with unique mobility needs are recommended to consider Wayne State Lot 31 (northbound Anthony Wayne Dr. just south of Palmer St.) or the Detroit Historical Museum’s lot (Kirby St. between Woodward and Cass), as they are nearest to the conference center. The exhibit is presented through the generous support of Harriet Berg and Nahama Broner and is co-curated by Douglas Haller (Berg) and Janet Hamrick (Broner).

Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts serves 2,200 students majoring in 16 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs in art and art history, communication, music, theatre and dance. Wayne State University, located in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown Cultural Center, is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students.

Contact:    David Romas
Voice:       (313) 577-5448

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