Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy



Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

7400 Bay Road
Saginaw, MI
Image details

The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State University reopened to the public earlier this month with a new exhibition, “Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy,” on view till June 26, 2021. 

The exhibition features nearly fifty photographs by James Haefner that celebrate Michigan’s incredible modern architectural design history from 1928 through 2012. "We are excited to reopen to the public April 10th after being closed for over a year," stated director Megan McAdow, “and with such an important exhibition that shows Michigan’s rich contribution to modern architectural design.” The photographs were produced for and featured in the book Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy by Brian D. Conway. The book was part of the Michigan Modern Project initiated by Conway at the State Historic Preservation Office that revealed and documented the significant role Michigan played in the development of modern design.

The exhibition includes images of Michigan masterworks by modern architects such as Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Minoru Yamasaki, Alexander Girard, George Nelson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alden B. Dow, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Marcel Breuer. The tradition of architectural innovation and excellence continued into the twenty-first century is represented by photographs of buildings designed by Anderson and Anderson, Steven Sivak and Zaha Hadid. 

James Haefner’s career in photography spans four decades. An accomplished automobile advertising photographer, his love of modern design drew him into architectural photography about twenty years ago. His fine arts degree allowed him to capture the designer’s intentions. “It is our hope that [this] exhibition of the beautiful color photographs found in Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy will continue to inform and inspire those that value great design in their lives and communities,” says James Haefner. 

A virtual exhibition will also launch April 10th and include a 360-degree virtual tour of the exhibition and a section where viewers can learn about Marshall Fredericks’s many connections and contributions to the modern architecture movement. The virtual exhibition also features additional photographs not included in the physical exhibition as well as images captured behind the scenes while on location during one of the photo shoots.

Virtual Artist Talk Thursday April 29

Join in a free virtual artist talk with Michigan Modern author Brian D. Conway and photographer James Haefner as they give an exclusive tour of the exhibition and share about the Michigan Modern® Project, the books produced, and stories behind the photographs.


Museum information

The Museum’s hours are Monday – Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm Central with Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:30 – 11 am reserved for our guests who are in the increased risk category. Visitors will be required to wear face masks, social distance, and provide contact information for contact tracing. Guests are also welcome to tour the Sculpture Garden at any time or schedule a private guided tour. Only groups of six or less from the same household can gather together in the Museum. A complete Museum Reopening Guide can be found here.

This exhibit was made possible with grant support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Michigan Humanities.