Art Detroit Now: Detroit, Breeding Ground at MONA

Art Detroit Now: Detroit, Breeding Ground at MONA

An exhibition with accompanying publication and panel discussion

Opening Reception: October 3th, 2009, 7:00pm
Runs through December 5th, 2009
Panel discussion to be held at MONA on November 1st 2009

Hosted by the Museum of New Art
Art Detroit Now

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Sculpture is a limitless mode of art-making that assumes neither a specific material nor medium, rather it remains in perpetual dialogue with form be it a physical or conceptual representation. The open-ended nature of sculpture dovetails perfectly with the free energy of artists working in Detroit and their relentless exploration of identity, location, and metamorphosis. Artists in the Detroit area have an unusual latitude of freedom to make art when, where, and with whatever materials or means the artist wishes, without censorship, guardianship or market-driven trends.

Detroit boasts an abundance of resources waiting to be repurposed and reinvented and space available to create in. These resources when located within an easily affordable city to live in, makes Detroit a ripe breeding ground for emerging talent. The artist as an individual and the overall art community here are all at liberty to take control of how they are experienced and interpreted. This exhibition is just one example of the creative individuals who participate in shaping the nomenclature of their environment.

When put in the larger context of community, artists are on the forefront of imperative exchanges that help facilitate the foundation for new economic and cultural communities based on creative and dynamic structures. These grassroots activities create a locus for more formal urban developments such as commerce and services. Detroit is at a turning point where the arts community is growing despite all other economic and environmental conditions forecasting that there is more to come for Detroit.

Exhibition Publication
The publication will serve as companion resource to the exhibition, consisting of multiple texts and images from various writers, critics, artists, and patrons of the Detroit arts community. The goal for the publication is to exemplify the diverse viewpoints on the state of sculpture and art-making within the Detroit social landscape. Many of the issues discussed in the panel and realized in the exhibition shall be encompassed in the catalog but not limited to the same questions.

Panel Discussion
The panel discussion will take place at MoNA mid-way through the run of the exhibition. It will provide an open dialogue in line with issues addressed in the publication and exhibition. The goal of the panel will not be to summarize nor fully encapsulate every issue that the art community faces, but rather focus on initiating a dialogue about the state of the artists and artwork it generates, (specifically sculpture) within the Detroit metro, assisting in identifying its role within the social landscape. The panel discussion will consist of 5 panelists and a moderator with encouraged involvement from the audience through questions and commentary.

Questions for Consideration:
For both the panel and the catalog these questions should be brought to bear but are in no way limited to them:

-Why sculpture? What does sculpture mean here in Detroit, if it means anything at all?
-How does contemporary sculpture apply to the current state of Detroit’s social landscape and where could sculpture be more socially involved? Where does the initiative take place? Is this better suited as an institutional responsibility or a grassroots establishment where each community is actively participating in its inception?
-What is currently happening that addresses these issues?
-In addition, how do we fill the gaps of sculpture being more recognizable and current within our own community and beyond? Can the city support a project that presents more temporal contemporary public works?

Participating Artists:
Kevin Beasley, co-curator
Kevin Beasley was born and raised in Lynchburg, VA right at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He then moved to Detroit to attend the College for Creative studies where he received his BFA. After receiving his degree, Kevin established a studio space and co-founded Cave, an artist run gallery located in the Russell Industrial Center, with six other artists. Beasley creates works and situations in various locations perceptually challenging our view of ephemera, phenomenon, and everyday objects exposing the sensation of our engagement and observation. Kevin has shown at the University of Michigan, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and many galleries in Southeast Michigan and Ohio. Currently he teaches part-time at the College for Creative Studies where he is also a technician in the metal shop facility. He currently resides in Detroit, MI.

Christopher Samuels, co curator
Mostly self taught, Christopher Samuels was raised in metro Detroit mixed with a brief stint in the deep south of Florida. At the age of 16 Samuels fled Florida to return to Detroit where he subsequently lived on the streets for several years. It was during this time that he cultivated his “make-do” mentality which helped forge the foundation of his current work. In 2008 Samuels co-founded “The Debt Collective”, an artist collective whose purpose was to examine and comment on lower-middle-class life. The Debt Collective has exhibited in such notable venues as the Cass Café and the Anton Art Center. In 2009 he co-founded the artist-run gallery, Org Contemporary located in the Russell Industrial Center. His work has been shown throughout Michigan including a solo exhibition at the Museum Of New Art. Samuels currently lives and works in Detroit, Mi.

Nathan Morgan
Nathan Morgan is a Michigan native working primarily out of Detroit. He graduated with a BFA from the College for Creative Studies and is the Exhibitions Director at Cave ( Morgan, alongside volunteering in the Sequoia National Park as a wilderness survival instructor, has had work featured on products of a skateboard/apparel company called Element. He spent his childhood in the mud listening to his father and grandfather ripping wood on a table saw in a northern part of Michigan. Morgan could be described as a playful inventor, exploring relationships at a pace that suggests a passive inclination. The nature of his work extracts every ounce of inquiry one might have in the calmest of situations. Morgan currently resides in Westland.

Abigail Newbold
Part collector, part craftsman, part designer, Abigail Newbold utilizes a domestic vocabulary to create objects and installations that examine issues of comfort, survival and portability. Born in Boston, she received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Arts and her MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Newbold, whose work has been published in both Dwell and American Craft, exhibits internationally and continues to collaborate on local design-build projects as well as fostering commissions for both quilts and furniture. She has taught at the College for Creative Studies and the Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine while working as the Exhibitions Preparator at The Cranbrook Art Museum. Most recently she is an inaugural recipient of a Kresge Emerging Artist Fellowship. She currently resides in Pleasant Ridge.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and received his BFA in Sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute. Thompson moved from Cowtown to Motown to receive his MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Since graduating Andrew has been creating his work in his studio at Russell Industrial Center and exhibiting his work in Southeast Michigan, Ohio, Boston, and Kansas City. Andrew also curates and coordinates shows around the country, including the Gender Agenda exhibit at Gallery Project in Ann Arbor and Science Fair at Paper, Rock, Scissors Collective in Oakland CA. Andrew currently teaches part time at University of Michigan, Oakland University, and College for Creative Studies and resides in Detroit, MI.

Detroit Projection Project
Steve Coy and Brandon Walley are Co-Directors, Co-Founders of Detroit Projection Project (DPP), a video gallery that projects time-based installation work from contemporary local, national, and international artists on various outdoor locations around the City of Detroit. DPP also strives to strengthen the cultural and artistic community of Detroit by providing artist residency programs and inner-city youth projects in the elusive medium of non-traditional video art installation.

Steve Coy received an MFA from University of Hawaii in 2007. He works in many mediums ranging from video, installation, performance, design, and photography; often in various combinations. His work is inspired by commercialism, corporatism, fashion, pop-culture and even events from daily life. Coy currently lives and works in Detroit, Michigan and teaches part time at University of Michigan, School of Art and Design. His recent work has been included in exhibitions in Beijing, Melbourne, and Sydney. Current projects include hygienic dress league, an ongoing conceptual piece which parodies corporate culture and marketing campaigns. In the spring of 2010 Steve Coy will be the artist in residence at the Honolulu Academy of Arts with a solo exhibition to commence.

Brandon Walley is a filmmaker and multi-media artist based in Detroit, Michigan. His films and video art are predominately abstract in nature and are often inspired by exploring his sense of place while being a working artist and father in atypical conditions. His work has been received at film festivals and art galleries around the world. Recent exhibitions of note have been the Independent Film Channel, the Ann Arbor Film Festival (Best Michigan Filmmaker award,) Silent Speed Film Festival in Seattle (Best of Show award,) Iowa City Experimental Film Festival (Honorable Mention,) Media City Film Festival in Ontario, and Rooftop Film Festival in New York City. Brandon is a former Director of the Detroit Film Center, where he also taught a variety of media based art classes as well as instruction at the College for Creative Studies. He has professional experience in the field of post-production in television broadcasting and has been professionally contracted to produce music videos, commercials, and theater.