Kevin Adkisson, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research
Competition drawing by Cranbrook architecture students Ralph Rapson and John Van der Meulen for their “4/16 Modular Minimal House” for Architectural Forum magazine in 1930. Drawing AD.26.06, Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research
Cranbrook student Agnes LaGrone Steen sits in a plaster and metal prototype of Eero Saarinen’s “Womb Chair” in December 1946. The chair was designed for Cranbrook alumna Florence Schust Knoll’s furniture company Knoll International and debuted in 1948. Photography by Harvey Croze, Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.
Cranbrook alumna, textile designer, and modern home goods retailer Ruth Adler Schnee in her Detroit showroom in August 1950, holding fabric with her design "Beans and Bones." Photography by Detroit Free Press, Copyright Edward C. and Ruth Adler Schnee, Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.
Opening in 1932 at a moment of seismic change in art and design, Cranbrook Academy of Art evolved from a series of craft workshops into a center of design, architecture, and art education under the leadership of Eliel Saarinen. Faculty included established artists such as Carl Milles and Zoltan Sepeshy, as well as younger designers like Charles Eames and Harry Bertoia. Students in this period included Florence Knoll, Harry Weese, Ray Kaiser Eames, Ralph Rapson, Gyo Obata, Ruth Adler Schnee, and Edward Bassett. The circle of artists, architects, and designers living, working, studying, and collaborating at Cranbrook in the 1930s and 1940s would go on to have illustrious careers beyond Michigan, transforming the course of American modernism.
Curator Kevin Adkisson works on preservation, interpretation, and programming across the many buildings and treasures of Cranbrook. Since arriving as a Collections Fellow in 2016, Kevin has welcomed thousands of guests to Cranbrook’s National Historic Landmark campus, both in person and virtually. Through tours, lectures, and online programming, Kevin makes history come alive with a friendly, humorous nature, and deep passion for art and architecture.
Raised in Marietta, Georgia, Kevin earned his BA in Architecture from Yale, where he worked for four years at the Yale University Art Gallery’s Furniture Study. Kevin received his MA from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, with a thesis examining the role of postmodernism in Jon Jerde’s shopping mall architecture.
Before coming to Cranbrook, Kevin worked for Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) in New York as a research and writing associate and at Kent Bloomer Studio in New Haven, Connecticut, on the design and fabrication of architectural ornament.