Broad Art Museum Opening A Pop-Up Museum In Old Town Lansing

Jun 21, 2012

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University is opening another exhibition away from the MSU campus.

In Old Town Lansing, a show featuring the work of Kristin Cammermeyer, a recent graduate of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, kicks off Friday.

The exhibit is at the former Chrome Cat bar on Grand River Avenue.

Broad Art Museum curator Alison Gass likes the notion of taking over a found space not designed to be a museum. That’s what they’re doing at this pop-up museum in Lansing.

“All of a sudden,” Gass explains, “out of nowhere, a building that you’ve known or seen for a long time becomes something completely different, and I think as you look around in this space that we’ve taken over, it’ll really start to feel like you’re in a gallery or you’re in a museum.”

Gass refers to the transformation of the former Chrome Cat as the Broad’s summer annex.

She was recently on the jury for a Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate thesis show. That’s where she immediately fell in love with the work of Kristin Cammermeyer.

“She is doing something that is very of this moment,” Gass states. “She is using non-traditional materials like found plywood, like pieces of things that she just sort of picks up that we would think of as detritus or trash, and she really turns them into beautiful and interesting works.”

This is Cammermeyer’s first solo exhibition. She grew up in Virginia and has worked in New York City, Seattle and Oakland along with her time at Cranbrook.

Called Resituating, her show features a large piece called Retaining. Cammermeyer’s use of scrap plywood could be confusing, like she says it was to a passerby who wondered if it really was part of the show.

“Is that artwork?  I kind of like that,” Cammermeyer says. “That one in particular is about engaging the space and engaging the architecture.”

Resituating doesn’t only refer to moving from the past to the present. The future also comes into play. Cammermeyer knows she’ll have to adapt her work for future installations.

For example, she says this is the third incarnation of Retaining. Here, it’s on a small stage near the front door, propped up into a corner.

“I need a perpendicular corner that’s eight feet out,” Cammermeyer explains, “so eight feet out led us to those windows. I think those kind of speed bumps are, I guess, challenges.”

This exhibit came up pretty quickly for Cammermeyer, who says she hasn’t fully weighed what being associated with contemporary art collector and benefactor Eli Broad might mean to her career.

“I just feel like this is a great jump start,” Cammermeyer says, “to be able to just present this whole thing and have the whole space to take over and paint, and actualize the breadth of my work in such a way. I just feel like, for my portfolio, I’m able to kind of look what I can do!”

Curator Alison Gass says in this exhibition, visitors might find clues to the art that will be displayed at the Broad Art Museum on the MSU campus when it opens this fall.

“You’ll see artists of her generation working around what I consider to be important social and political issues, through a visual language,” Gass states. “So to that end, absolutely.”

Along with the exhibit of Kristin Cammermeyer’s work opening this week, the Old Town facility will host events like film screenings and a dollar bin DJ night this summer.

Resituating will be open through July 22nd.