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The Dennos Museum Center
Photograph by James Haefner of the Styling Building at the General Motors Technical Center

Fall 2020 Virtual Exhibit Receptions

Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy
Reception & Discussion with James Haefner and Brian Conway

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2021 — 6:30 P.M.

Join us for an online discussion with photographer James Haefner and historian Brian Conway about Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy, on exhibit through January 31, 2021. The program will include a walkthrough of the gallery, brief presentations by each guest speaker, and a chance for you to ask questions. Tune in on Zoom for the full experience, or check it out on Facebook Live.

Michigan Modern celebrates Michigan’s incredible modern architectural design history from 1928 through 2012. It comprises over 50 photographs by James Haefner, primarily for the State Historic Preservation Office as part of their Michigan Modern Project and featured in the book by State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway, titled Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy. Several additional photographs from Mr. Haefner’s archives are included. The buildings photographed were selected to represent the best modern architecture in all areas of the state focusing on the work of Michigan architects as well as internationally known architects who completed commissions in Michigan.

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Mathias J. Alten: In Conversation with Curator Joel Zwart

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2020 — 6:30 P.M.

Join us virtually for a conversation and celebration of the exhibition, Mathias J. Alten: An American Artist at the Turn of the Century, now on exhibit through January 31. Curator of Education Jason Dake will take you on a video tour of the exhibition while discussing its origins with Grand Valley State University Curator of Exhibitions, Joel Zwart. Zwart will also present an illustrated lecture about Alten and the collection on view.

The German-born American artist, Mathias Joseph Alten (1871-1938) immigrated to the United States in 1889 at the age of seventeen. His family settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a premier furniture-manufacturing center and desired location for immigrants in the late-nineteenth century. Here, amidst a rapidly changing world, Alten went on to establish a family, home and studio for the entirety of his career. Grand Valley State University currently holds the largest public collection of Mathias J. Alten. All artwork and objects included in this exhibition are on loan from the GVSU Art Gallery and the GVSU Special Collections & University Archives.

Joel Zwart is an accomplished museum administrator and curator with a demonstrated history of leadership and service in the higher education and museum industry for over 20 years. He has extensive experience at a broad range of institutions and has organized more than 200 exhibitions, including “Mathias J. Alten: An American Artist at the Turn of the Century” currently on tour in Michigan over the next two years. Presently, he serves as Curator of Exhibitions at Grand Valley State University, where he manages exhibition development, design, and installation at all university galleries. He also assists with placement and installation of the permanent collection throughout all university buildings and outdoor spaces, and oversees special projects. Zwart joined the GVSU Art Gallery team in 2016 after serving for 14 years as the Director of Exhibitions at Calvin University. In that role, he oversaw the development and opening of the new Center Art Gallery, managed the (106) Gallery from 2006- 16, and led the re-organization of the university’s permanent collection of art. Zwart has an M.A. in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University and a B.A. with minors in Art and French from Calvin University, and continues to serve on various committees at museums and non-profit organizations.