How long does it take before you receive recognition for lifetime achievement? For Detroit sculptor Lois Teicher, it was nearly thirty years. In 2008 she received the Michigan Artist Lifetime Achievement Award from The Governor’s Awards for Arts & Culture, produced by ArtServe Michigan. It is the longest running Michigan program recognizing statewide and international leaders in the arts and is Michigan’s largest statewide celebration of arts, culture and creativity.
Teicher was also nominated (anonymously) as a candidate for the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation grant. More than 50 of her works, including major fabricated metal sculptures and small models of planned sculptures, were featured in “Lois Teicher: A Sculptural Retrospective, 1979-2008” in June at the Saginaw Art Museum. She is one of five public artist finalists of which the Kansas City area Transportation Authority will contract three for project sites along the Troost Ave. corridor. The project is funded in part by the Federal Transit Administration.
Lois Teicher grew up in the 1950’s when women couldn’t do too many things considered relevant or important, much less build large scale public art. During the 1960’s the feminist movement gained momentum as it actively questioned gender norms and confronted oppressive stereotypes. In the 1970’s, women changed the way art was made and talked about forever, and Lois was in the vanguard. Feminism influenced her identity as a woman. She raised three children, went back to school to earn a master’s degree in sculpture from Eastern Michigan University, and after nine more years of dedicated work, received her first major commission.
The site specific “Paper Airplane Series with Deep Groove” was commissioned in 1996 by Bishop International Airport in Flint Michigan. Three of them (14 feet long, 10 feet wide and 7 feet high) were completed, with just one weighing 3,000 pounds. Lois was selected from 300 finalists.
Teicher says of her own work: “Visual art is a language. Through form my ideas are expressed. My intention is to recognize and understand what the natural world has provided, and present these ideas to the viewer via the poetry of three-dimensional form.”
“One recurring theme in my work is the idea of Time/Space, and the idea of pairs of opposites held in dynamic tension. For example - we exist in a magnetic field where opposing forces are constantly at play.”
Her work is often spoken of as “spiritual”. Teicher is known for taking on the challenge of creating site-specific installation art and won a statewide competition for sculpting the Curved Form with Rectangle and Space, created for installation in Hudson’s Art Park. She has had public sculptures on view throughout Michigan, including in the Detroit Institute of Arts, downtown’s Boll Family YMCA, and Grand Blanc Bus Terminal. Teicher has received many awards, including the Pollock-Krasner International Award from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York City and the Michigan Arts and Patrons Award from the Arts Foundation of Michigan. Teicher’s work also has been featured in prominent national print media and profiles in books, such as Contemporary American Women Sculptors, Detroit Art in Public Places, and The Detroit Institute of Arts, a Brief History.
Evie Wheat, a former Board of Directors member for ArtServe Michigan said, “Her work shows that she has been consistently thoughtful in her beliefs, ideas and passions and in the high quality of her work as well. Her sculpture comes alive as poetry set in motion with a spiritual quality.”
‘The Sculptor’ A Video Documentary
Lois Teicher’s son Joshua produced a short video documentary about his mother the artist. ”It is a story about what it take to be a true artist; Focus, determination and just plain drive. ‘The Sculptor’ depicts my mothers life from the everyday struggle to keep it going to the women’s movement and marching on Washington DC. It is a story for anybody who ever wanted to be or is an artist” he said. ‘The Sculptor’ is a semifinalist in the 3rd annual Show Off Your Shorts Film Festival in Beverly Hills CA. The film will screen at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California
Joshua Teicher grew up in the suburbs of Detroit until around 1989. He lived part time with his mother at her Studio across from Eastern Market .
The film was shot over a span of about 8 years. He used to live in San Francisco and I would bring his digital camera every time he visited for the holidays. He moved to NY about 6 years ago and continued to shoot interviews when he visited. Lois had some old footage that she had shot of her working in the 80’s that really helped the piece.
“I think my mom works in Detroit because she has lived there all her life and she likes to be around her family. I would also say my mom is a real Detroit person, as in she reflects the city into her work”, said Joshua.
“I really enjoyed creating this short film for my mother because I watched her continue to push forward in a very stubborn way. (Meaning that she had a lot of “no” before any “Yes"). We would both send brain waves to grant committees to try and force the outcome of the process.”
Thedetroiter.com is proud to present Mr. Teicher’s film here.
By Vince Carducci
This was a really tough year for Detroit, economically and politically. But you couldn’t tell that by the art scene, which overflowed with good stuff. Here are some standouts from 2008:
1.“Broadcast,” “Becoming,” and “Business as Usual,” Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. With this trio of concurrent shows, MOCAD finally struck a balance between the impulse to fill up its cavernous interior and the need to organize what’s on display. Assembled by different curators and installed in separate galleries, the shows offered divergent takes on common themes of media, identity, and power. Even the Guyton/Walker painting of an Absolut ad, which came off nondescript in the muddle of last year’s Burt Aaron collection show, revealed its heft when seen in the right context.
2.“Kenro Izu: Sacred Places,” Detroit Institute of Arts. Forget the suburban-friendly gloss and kid-oriented aesthetic lessons, the DIA’s best art experience came packaged the old-fashioned way: a compelling body of work presented straightforwardly. These photographs documenting the artist’s pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world embodied what great art is all about: an obsessive-compulsive vision quest for creative nirvana.
3.“Lois Teicher: A Sculptural Retrospective, 1979-2008,” Saginaw Art Museum. This retrospective of work by the winner of the 2008 ArtServe Michigan Governor’s Award for lifetime achievement traced the artist’s development from her early Cass-Corridor-wannabe, feminist-consciousness-raising days to her present status as a maker of some of the region’s most refined meditations on three-dimensional space and form. The only complaint is that no catalog was published to document this significant body of work.
4.“For Better or For Worse: Kathryn Brackett Luchs and Michael Luchs,” CCS Center Galleries. To help mark Michelle Perron’s tenth anniversary as director of Center Galleries (itself a notable event), the reclusive artist-couple came out of their northern Michigan hideaway to kick it out old-school Detroit style. Brackett Luchs presented diptychs in which seriously distressed wood panels on one side were mirrored by heavily worked glassine sheets on the other. Luchs exhibited new untitled drawings featuring cartoonish hands and feet emerging from pink backgrounds, channeling late Phillip Guston but with a raw power all their own.
5.“Lauren Semivan: Weights and Measures,” David Klein Gallery. The recent Cranbrook MFA made an auspicious debut with her first solo show of large photographs. Semivan combined gauzy theatrical sets, enigmatic hand drawing, and a few well-chosen objects to expose photography’s uncanny side. All photographs are in a sense ghost images, and Semivan’s gothic apparitions were haunting.
6.“Brenda Goodman: New Work,” Paul Kotula Projects. In art school they tell you if you can’t make good make it big. In her first Detroit solo in five years, Goodman gave a lesson in the opposite aesthetic with small oil-on-paper paintings that plumbed the depths of the artist’s psyche. Goodman’s mindscapes opened more doors of perception than the supersized commodities of blowhards like Julian Schnabel ever could.
7.“Michigan Ceramics 2008,” Community Arts Gallery, Wayne State University. Michigan has an outstanding ceramics tradition. This survey marking the Michigan Ceramic Art Association’s 50th anniversary contained many of the usual suspects (Tom Phardel really stood out), but also gave several newbies a chance to shine. The range of expression, from straight-up functionality to conceptual wackiness, demonstrated that the medium’s only limits are the hands and minds at work.
8. “Janet Hamrick and Ted Lee Hadfield: Intertwined,” Lemberg Gallery. Two of Detroit’s most respected artists exhibited pieces they either worked on together or in which one incorporated the other’s motifs into their own compositions. Hamrick seemed more game to take on Hadfield’s themes and often with better results, but overall it was a fruitful collaboration.
9. “Dennis Michael Jones: Just the Tip,” CCS Alumni and Faculty Hall. Following up on his breakthrough show at Oakland University Art Gallery a year ago in which he abandoned figuration in favor of hand-scrawled text, Jones filled the narrow exhibition space outside Center Galleries with a floor-to-ceiling installation of charcoal drawings of phrases all starting with “Sometimes I feel…” The drawings recorded random thoughts, from the sublime to the ridiculous, with ambience provided by an audio loop of the artist reading each one aloud.
10.DIA Great Hall (Disco Version). It wasn’t really art and museum curators reportedly despised it, but the installation of reflective silver disks hanging from the Great Hall’s ceiling provided a festive atmosphere to the DIA re-opening that carried into the New Year. It’s good to see them back, however tacky they may be, for the current holiday season.
Vince Carducci has written on art and culture for many publications.
After more than forty years of being creative Robert Sestok is still one of the most energetic, prolific and most shown artists ever spawned by Detroit’s Cass Corridor. He draws, paints, sculpts, constructs creates collages transforms space and transports audiences. Sestok acknowledges rules only to reinvent them and then break them. He works big he works small and in the finest corridor tradition uses anything he can find. If you haven’t seen what he has been up to of late you have four exceptional opportunities available right now.
“In, On, And Through” at The Johanson Charles Gallery turns paintings and drawings into a massive installation of large-scale abstract and figurative art. Sestok has created an environment that swallows the audience whole but it is the audience that slowly digests it from the inside.
“Painting is about the edges, surface, content and theory. It’s like a reflection of one’s soul. A good painting will hold your attention for some mysterious reason. I keep painting for more than enjoyment. It’s my way of seeing. It’s my life.”
“Purity is only relevant to the environment in which it exists.” – Robert Sestok
Gilda Snowden, Professor of Fine Art and Interim Chair of the Fine Arts department at the Center for Creative Studies, has provided a brief, tantalizing digital video tour of the gallery but you shouldn’t miss the closing reception Saturday, December 20th from 8pm to late. The Johanson Charles Gallery is located at 1345 Division St. in Detroit’s Eastern Market.
Sestok part 1
Sestok part 2
Sestok’s work will also be featured at the Yes Farm on Friday December 19th during their UnSilent Night celebration (http://www.unsilentnight.com/about.html). The UnSilent Night begins with a 42minute walk with music on boom boxes at 6:30 PM on the nose. The walk will end inside the gallery, with their first show - “In the Beginning” - to follow. The group show will feature work in various mediums from local artists. The show will run from 7:30 to 11:30PM.
The Yes Farm is a group committed to living and creating in Detroit. They believe the arts play an important role in the community and seek to bring art into the lives of the people in the community. The goal is to establish a permanent location for artists to live and work. They also hold a deep commitment to ecology, would like to grow food, and create artistic open spaces in the neighborhood. It is their hope to contribute something positive to the community through art. The Yes Farm is located at 5199 Moran on the corner of Farnsworth and Moran in Detroit and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re hanging out in Ann Arbor stop in at Café Verde where Robert Sestok’s exhibit will be up until January 1. Over 500 current works on paper are on display in a relaxed community atmosphere reminiscent of the Cass Café.
Created out of an expansion of the People’s Food Co-op in 2001, Cafe Verde has very quickly become a Kerrytown staple. For a neighborhood abode, Cafe Verde is very welcoming and friendly to outsiders and its array of dishes can make up a full meal or just an afternoon snack. They provide exhibit space to a new artist each month. The Café is locate at 216 N. Fourth in Ann Arbor and can be contacted at (734) 994-9174, http://www.peoplesfood.coop/cafe
If you’re looking for a party in the arts community, on December 31st , 2008, Elements Gallery is ringing in 2009 with an enormous New Year’s Eve gala to celebrate and support Detroit’s unyielding art and music community. MOTLEY is going to be a versatile showing of both established and emerging Detroit artists: Robert Sestok, Julian Wilson, Brandon Strong, Lynn Spanke, and Izabela Steciuk. Opening reception includes an open bar of beer and wine, hors d’oeuvres, NYE toast and musical performances by Monica Blaire, Dj Dez, milieu and Dj Sicari. MOTLEY is a benefit for the Elements Gallery in Corktown, Detroit.
Please RSVP for this event at email@example.com. MOTLEY opens to the public at 8:00 p.m Closing reception will be held Thursday January 29 .
Elements Gallery is a multimedia gallery dedicated to enriching the artistic community in Metropolitan Detroit. The gallery currently operates through cross-promotional events aimed at showcasing progressive artists of various mediums from within the local community. Elements Gallery is located at 2125 Michigan Ave. in Detroit and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does Artist Charles McGee think of the Kresge Foundation investing 8.8 million dollars into metropolitan Detroit’s creative community? “ It’s huge!” He says. “It’s like injecting a vital and sorely needed infusion into the veins of the city. The only requirement is to be creative. This is very unusual.” As he does in his work he is using nature to discuss the community. It’s not a reference to the $50,000 that he just received from Kresge Arts as the first ever Eminent Artist Award recipient. He sees that as the fortunate result of his insatiable hunger for understanding and the love, devotion and total commitment to what he’s been doing for over sixty years. He is referring to a program designed to develop and financially support individual artists, arts and cultural organizations and arts-infrastructure groups in the metropolitan area. Eighteen Kresge Artist Fellowships of $25,000 each and one Kresge Eminent Artist award of $50,000 will be awarded each year. Arts and cultural organizations will receive operating support. “Creative contributions to a community are like fertilizer, it grows and is enriched”, he said.
Portrait of the Artist with artwork, Regeneration, 2007 Ultraviolet cured inkjet paint on Dibond, 78″ x 264″, Commissioned for Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan
Photo by: Ray Manning
“Charles McGee exemplifies what it means to be eminent and what it means to be a Detroiter,” says Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation. “He is an artist of international renown who in his life and his work is energetic, passionate, always probing and eager to reinvent. It is fitting that he be named the first Kresge Eminent Artist.” He has also spent his life nourishing his community as he is nourished by it. In 1969 Detroit Artist Market asked him to curate a show. Seven artists were chosen who evolved into Gallery 7. They taught, exhibited and raised funds for World Medical Relief for ten tears. He s a mentor, teacher, and community arts advocate who also founded the Charles McGee School of Art, and the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID).
There are plenty of reasons to invest all this time, energy, money and talent in the city of Detroit according to Mr. McGee. First, it’s economically feasible; space, materials and other resources are readily available. Green spaces are cropping up all over the city that attract artists, art and audiences. It provides an opportunity to create a community or a culture in which art becomes useful. It’s spread out so you can find time to your self while creating energy that denies boredom. “Detroit is a blank canvass … it offers itself as a Mecca for creativity. Thriving communities are the way to eliminate war and mayhem”, he said.
At 84 years old McGee has had a distinguished career that includes hundreds of exhibitions in the United States and abroad as well as many important contributions to Detroit’s cultural and educational community. His paintings, assemblages and sculptures are in prestigious national and international collections, and are permanently installed at local institutions including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “Life and nature created an artist. I was ordained by nature to do what I do, I can only be whole if I make art and that art is the structure in nature” he said.
Timeframes, 2007, Mixed media collage on Dibond, 60″ x 84″
Collection of the artist
Photo by: Charles McGee
“The Kresge Foundation, through Kresge Arts in Detroit, acknowledges the individual artist as a potent force in bringing about the change Detroit needs and deserves. We are proud to administer the Kresge Eminent Artist Award and believe that engaging the creative community is key to revitalizing the region,” said Richard L. Rogers, president of CCS and co-chair of the Kresge Arts in Detroit Advisory Council. “Charles McGee serves as an example to all aspiring artists with his exceptional work and ongoing commitment to our community. We are honored to announce him as the inaugural recipient of the Kresge Eminent Artist Award.”
Nominations for the award are made by the Kresge Arts in Detroit Advisory Council, a 19-member volunteer group of leaders in the Metropolitan Detroit cultural community who provide external oversight to Kresge Arts in Detroit.
The award recipient is selected by an independent review panel comprised of well-respected and knowledgeable artists and arts professionals in the local cultural community. The 2008 review panel included Gerhardt Knodel, artist and former director of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Dennis Alan Nawrocki, art historian and author of the recently published third edition of Art in Detroit Public Places (Wayne State University Press), and Dr. Cledie Taylor, founder and director of Arts Extended Gallery.
The Kresge Eminent Artist Award is unrestricted and given each year to one artist who has lived and worked in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb Counties for a significant number of years, has a distinguished record of professional achievement in the arts, has made a significant impact on their chosen art form, shares their talent and expertise with the broader arts community and community at large and has contributed generously to the growth and vibrancy of Detroit’s cultural environment.
To commemorate Charles McGee’s work and share it with the community, The Kresge Foundation has published a monograph that will be distributed to arts organizations and institutions, and libraries in the region, including the Library of Michigan.
New Work by School of Art & Design lecturer Kathryn Brackett Luchs and Michael Luchs. Both were part of the group of artists and writers living in the 1960s and ’70s in the Cass Corridor in Detroit. The exhibit, co-sponsored by the School of Art & Design, is presented at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit through December 20, 2008.
“Moths, bark, birds, rabbits, squirrels, fishing lures: these are not images routinely associated with the often rough and tumble Detroit aesthetic. But Kathryn Brakett Luchs and Michael Luchs are inherently Detroit – their art, their practice, their legacy. Though they have not lived and worked in Detroit for many years, they remain straight-up examples of what it means to live and make art in Detroit: furiously dedicated and quietly unabashed. Kathryn (a CCS alumna) and Michael (MFA from Wayne) both traversed the waters of the Cass Corridor artistic scene back in the 1960s and 70s, contributing great substance to that culturally rich moment in our history. Kathryn, a noted printmaker and filmmaker, directed the quintessential documentary on Detroit art from that era, entitled “Images from Detroit’s Cass Corridor.” Michael was the first to show at the famed Willis Gallery and, early on, was one of the few local artists to bring the scrappy, expressionistic Detroit aesthetic to national view in New York. “
“Though they live in Lewiston, Michigan now, 200 miles from Detroit, they remain true to their work and investigations. Married, divorced, and married again, “For Better or For Worse” celebrates not only their life together, but their marked perseverance to their artistic practice. We all know how hard it is to make a living as an artist in Michigan, and like so many, they have stuck it out, thrown caution (and financial security) to the wind, and made art that transcends miles and memory.” – Michelle Perron
“While Michael’s art does not look like Kathryn’s, nor hers like his, their art and this show is a testament to the sustaining complexities of an interwoven life, in the course of which they have lived together and apart, as individuals and as companions, over some forty years. Occasionally they collaborate on printmaking, a recent example of which was titled Moth Buckle, a title that links both their interests, her organic world and his fondness for devices like reels, light bulbs, and buckles. Although the favored creatures of their respective natural kingdoms vary, whether six-legged, four-legged, winged or finned, fauna predominate. Formally, his lacerated surfaces are no less harsh than the plywood boards she pummels, gouges, and stains, while her scaled up wings find a corollary in his outsize hands. Moreover, her expressionist drawings on glassine are as visceral as the interlocked hands and feet of his gnarly pink drawings. What the art of Kathryn Brackett Luchs and Michael Luchs also has in common is a grab-you-by-the-lapels immediacy coupled with a lingering and lasting resonance.” – Dennis Alan Nawrocki
Photographs of artwork by Robert Hensleigh copyright 2008
Photograph of artists by Warren Hecht copyright 2008
Gilda Snowden provides YouTube audiences with insightful digital video tours of Detroit area Galleries. Gilda is a curator, an art critic, and an art teacher. She has been teaching since 1979 and is currently Professor of Fine Art and Interim Chair of the Fine Arts department at the Center for Creative Studies, College of Art and Design in Detroit, Michigan. She also functions as the curator of the Detroit Repertory Theatre Gallery, where solo shows are given to Detroit-area artists in conjunction with the stage performances.
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