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November 07, 2013 - Image 66

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-11-07

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arts & entertainment



Traces Of Ideas


Jewish mathematician's drawings are
subject of a Cranbrook exhibit.


Suzanne Chessler

Contributing Writer


rt historian Nina Samuel can
refer to nearby visuals as she
explains her core area of inter-
est in a lecture at Cranbrook Art Museum:
drawings as the first material traces of
ideas and the influence of the drawings in
developing those ideas.
Samuel, curator of two concurrent
exhibits at the museum, will explain how
the theme moves through both during a
lecture at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19.
"My Brain Is in My Inkstand; Drawing
as Thinking and Process:' an exhibit she
developed specifically for Cranbrook,
builds on what she put together for a trav-
eling exhibit also on view, "The Islands of
Benoit Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos and
the Materiality of Thinking."
Both, running Nov. 16-March 30, con-
nect artistry to other intellectual disci-
A third exhibit, "Waylande Gregory: Art
Deco Ceramics and the Atomic Impulse
explores the work of Cranbrook's first
resident ceramic sculptor and also will be
on view in the same time frame. Thomas
Folk, an independent ceramics sculptor, is
curator and will speak at 4 p.m. Sunday,

Nov. 17.
"The exhibits I developed let viewers
walk through many different media and
approaches:' says Samuel in a phone con-
versation from New York. "We have works
on paper, photography, installations and
"There's an extended idea of drawing,
but the idea of drawing is never lost"
The opening weekend of the exhibits
will offer a series of lectures and live per-
formances to emphasize that thoughts can
become actions with the help of drawings.
"A professor I had started my interest in
these kinds of images:' explains Samuel,
who has been concentrating on her subject
for 12 years.
"During the research
for the Mandelbrot
exhibition, we found
150 papers related to
an experimental theory
that he did before devel-
oping one of his most
famous concepts, the
Mandelbrot set. We have
arranged these images in
a timeline so that people
can follow his thinking steps:"
Beyond the drawings, there are photo-
graphs, objects and films.

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In working on the
Mandelbrot display over
time, Samuel was able to
meet with the Jewish math-
ematician and later his
Benoit Mandelbrot: Scribbled arrows showing the tech-
nique of magnifications of details. Computer-generated
Born in Poland,
prints with scribbles. Collection Aliette Mandelbrot
Mandelbrot (1924-2010)
fled to France with his par-
2012 as visiting assistant professor at the
ents in 1936 to escape Nazi persecution; in Bard Graduate Center in New York City.
1958, he immigrated with his wife to the
"I think these two exhibits are interest-
U.S., where he had a long career working
ing on a theoretical level and believe they
at IBM. Toward the end of his career, he
make visible what has been hidden behind
was Sterling Professor of Mathematical
popular glossy images for public recep-
Sciences at Yale University, where he
was the oldest professor in Yale's history
to receive tenure. His research included
contributions to fields including geology,
"My Brain Is in My Inkstand;
medicine, cosmology, engineering and the
Drawing as Thinking and Process,"
social sciences.
"The Islands of Benoit Mandelbrot:
For the other display, Samuel selected
Fractals, Chaos and the Materiality
works by 22 artists from around the world.
of Thinking" and "Waylande Gregory:
Among those represented are textile
Art Deco Ceramics and the Atomic
designer Ruth Adler Schnee and perfor-
Impulse" run Nov.16-March 30
mance artist Carolee Schneemann.
at the Cranbrook Art Museum,
"The stage of tinkering around with
39221 Woodward, in Bloomfield
thoughts and trying things out is where
Hills. $4-$8; free for members and
children 12 and under. For a schedule
art and science are closest together:' says
of activities, call (248) 645-3320, or
Samuel, who earned her doctoral degree
in art history from Bumboldt University in
visit www.cranbrook.edu .
Berlin and spent the academic year 2011-

Eight Is Enough

University Musical Society hosts Michigan debut of jazz octet.


Suzanne Chessler

Contributing Writer

Ann Arbor


he Steve Lehman Octet, about to
make a second recording, is pre-
paring for its studio performance
with a series of concerts. The ensemble's
first-ever appearance in Michigan will be
part of the tour.
The octet will take the stage at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9, in Ann Arbor's Lydia
Mendelssohn Theatre as part of University
Musical Society's 20th Annual Jazz Series.
"We'll be performing a series of new
compositions I was commissioned to
write by Chamber Music America for
this specific octet:' says Lehman, 35, in a
phone conversation from New York.
"It's mostly acoustic instrumentation
with some electronic elements. A couple
of the pieces are new arrangements of
older compositions by jazz pianist and


November 7 • 2013


composer Bud Powell."
Lehman, also a saxophonist working
in experimental idioms, tentatively has
named the new recording Mise en Abyme,
French for "Put into the Abyss." His 2009
recording, chosen as the "No. 1 Jazz/Pop
Album of the Year" by the New York Times,
was titled Travail, Transformation & Flow.
"The Ann Arbor concert will show
what's unique about my work as a compos-
er and saxophonist and hopefully highlight
what's most personal about my concept
of the different elements of music:' says
Lehman, who also works with two trios
and in solo engagements.
The octet includes Mark Shim (tenor
saxophone), Chris Dingman (vibraphone),
Drew Gress (bass), Jonathan Finlayson
(trumpet), Tim Albright (trombone), Jose
Davila (tuba) and Tyshawn Sorey (drums).
"The octet consists of New York musi-
cians widely considered to represent
the state of the art on their respective
instruments," says Lehman, whose dad

was a semi-professional trumpet player.
"Together, they bring layers of harmonic
and contrapuntal detail."
Lehman learned piano before saxophone
and composes with piano, computer or
only manuscript paper.
"I had a lightning bolt moment the first
time I heard a Charlie Parker record:' says
Lehman, who earned a bachelor's and a
master's degree at Wesleyan University in
Connecticut before securing his doctoral
degree in music composition at Columbia
University in New York City.
"My early jobs had me playing at coffee
shops in Connecticut. When I was 20, I
was invited to perform at a major festival
in Verona, [Italy]."
As his stage experience widened so
did performances of his compositions by
other groups, including the International
Contemporary Ensemble and So
Lehman, married to filmmaker Olivia
Newman and the father of a 1-year-old boy,

Steve Lehman

feels a bond to his Jewish background while
listening to cantorial music.
"The opportunity to participate in servic-
es that feature cantors has been particularly
meaningful to me because of the connection
between music and spirituality," he says. "I
find that important and moving:'

The Steve Lehman Octet performs
at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 N.
University, in Ann Arbor. $25-$35.
(734) 764-2538; www.ums.org .

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