Melissa Matuscak (DeVos Art Museum) was interviewed by architectural and design journalist Edward Lifson for NPR's "Weekend Edition" with Scott Simon. Lifson was producing a segment on Marquette native, NMU alumnus and prominent architect John Lautner and the celebrations of what would have been his 100th birthday in Los Angeles, where most of his residential work is located, and in his hometown. The program is scheduled to air from 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, on WNMU-FM. The DeVos Art Museum hosted an exhibit on Lautner's career in collaboration with a Marquette Regional History Center exhibit on his formative years in the Upper Peninsula.
"Lifson had an influential show on architecture that ran on Chicago public radio for many years called 'Hello Beautiful,'" said Matuscak. "Just being able to talk to him was pretty amazing. We discussed Lautner's upbringing in Marquette, the family's camp at Middle Island Point, the incredible influence his parents had on him growing up and how all of that stuck with him throughout his architectural career. We also discussed the sublime feeling that the U.P. has and how it sticks with you—the air, the light. Lautner's designs were built in a much different place than the U.P., yet he was still able to translate that U.P. influence through his design sensibilities."
Michael Letts (Art and Design) was selected to exhibit a painting at ArtPrize 2011, an international competitive art exhibition held in Grand Rapids in October. Works of art from 21 countries were selected by curators to be shown in 162 locations throughout the city. One of the largest venues, the DeVos Place Convention Center, selected Letts’ painting "Ancient Coast 2," which measures 6 feet by 15 feet. The adjudication process to be featured in the most prestigious and frequented venues, including DeVos Place, was highly competitive. Ancient Coast 2 was placed in a prime location, near the main entrance (pictured), and next to 2011 winner Mia Tavonatti’s entry. Letts’ website has additional views of his paintings, including Ancient Coast 2.
Letts and Dale Wedig (Art and Design) will use videoconferencing technology to present an interactive class on recycling, creativity and careers to Negaunee High School students on Friday, Dec. 2. Wedig will share an innovative art process he developed that uses recycled materials (old ceiling tiles and scrap metal) to create custom, one-of-a-kind cast metal jewelry. The project uses tools and materials often found in high school art and shop programs to demonstrate advanced jewelry production methods and creative processes typically available only at the college level. Letts and Wedig collaborated with Negaunee High School art teacher Barbara Savolainen. The activity will promote the value of NMU’s interactive video technology, which has gained national attention, its educational outreach to area schools and the importance of visual arts in the curriculum.
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