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June 21, 1996 - Image 82

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-06-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Ronit
Eisenbach,
Christina
Bechstein and
Hank Scollard
documented 127
images on their
journey along the
Detroit border.
Throughout the
course of the
"Cranbrook Auto
Show," 50 postcards
are crossing the
border they are
depicting, arriving via
U.S. mail from the city
of Detroit to the
Cranbrook Art Museum.

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"A Reconstruction of the Highland Park Plant" is a digital photographic
collage by Marilyn Zimmerman, based on a 1916 photo.

onit Eisenbach has made a run for
the border. And we're not talking
Taco Bell.
The assistant professor in the school
of architecture at University of Detroit Mercy has tread-
ed back to her alma mater, the Cranbrook Academy of
Art, to participate in the "Cranbrook Auto Show." The
show, which opened on June 1 as part of the American
Automobile Centennial, is a juried exhibition that fea-
tures the work of 29 Michigan-based artists, architects
and designers.
"We've been looking for a good reason to pull together
a Michigan artists' show," said David D.J. Rau, curator
of education at Cranbrook Art Museum. 'We knew that
here Wei.e:;*r4ows..tatul antique shows about the Cen-
riial, so.in January4996, we sent
but a call to Michrgan ased artists for all kinds of art
media that somehow -dealt with the impact of the auto-
mobile on 20th-century culture."
Eisenbach, along with fellow Cranbrook alum Christi-
na Bechstein and Hank Scollard, responded to that call.
Their contribution, "Boundary," is a mixed media pro-
ject documenting their journey, through photography,
interviews and written observations, along the border of
Detroit.
"We were interested in studying the seam which both
connects and separates the 'suburbs' and the 'city,' a line
which is crossed twice daily by workers on either side
of the border, and which was crossed at one time by res-
idents in a permanent flight from the city," Eisenbach

JULIE Y01.1,0
al:401,41N

n.

and Bechstein wrote in their artists' statement for the
exhibition.
"This flight was/is enabled by the automobile, the very
product that brought the city residents wealth and fame,
and by the transformation of distance from space into
time by the roads built to carry them.
"To convey the story of our borderline journey, we
worked with two types of travel documents — the map
and the postcard. Our drive is reconstructed through a
series of 'commemorative' postcards which raise the is-
sues of the border as we saw them ... It is our intention
to share our discoveries, ideally leading us to think about
ourselves in relationship to the border, the current con-
dition of the city, and back into the automobile."
Born in-Israel, Eisenbach has crossed many borders
herself on her creative journey to Michigan. She and her
parents moved to New York when she was 6 months old.
After graduating from high school, Eisenbach spent a
year in Israel. She received her undergraduate degree
from the Rhode Island School of Design, returning to Is-
rael for her junior year to study at the Bezalel Acade-
my of Art and Design in Jerusalem.
As a registered architect, she spent four years in Boston
designing hospitals and research labs while exhibiting
prints, sculptures and collages. Next, she went to Bloom-
field Hills' Cranbrook Academy of Art for her master's in
architecture and, three years ago, she began teaching at
the University of Detroit Mercy's school of architecture.
Eisenbach is 34.
In addition to working on the "Boundary" project and

teaching, Eisenbach headed up the Warren Loranger Ar-
chitecture Building renovation project at U of D Mercy
and designed the Ronald F. Titus Digital Studio com-
puter lab, which is slated to be featured in Architecture
magazine in August.
Although not exactly a Thelma and Louise storyline,
Eisenbach and Bechstein's project took many interest-
ing turns during its inception.
"My partner Christina also graduated from Cranbrook,
in the fiber department," said Eisenbach. 'We've been
wanting to collaborate together. The 'Boundary' project
is part of a project called the 'Detroit Post-Map' ... it felt
like a natural outgrowth.
"I think. (the "Cranbrook Auto Show") is a tremendous
show, and it's brought a lot of fresh blood to Cranbrook.
It really has a lot of exuberance to it, with different per-
spectives on the automotive industry."
Rau said that Cranbrook Art Museum received more
than 90 applications for inclusion in the exhibition. 'We
wanted a strong diversity in the kinds of things the art-
work would be saying about the automobile — positive,
negative, sex, power — what the car does to the com-
munity, what it does to the worker," he said.
Of the applicants accepted for the show, three are not
artists by profession but have direct experience working
in the automotive industry, including Bruce Thayer,
who's been testing the endurance of automobiles at the
GM Milford Testing Ground for nearly 10 years.
"The people who work in the automotive industry come
with a good perspective of what the car means — it's not

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