Detroit is Alive: Pay Attention

April 6, 2011 · Print This Article

If I was an artist or, uh, social practitioner working in Detroit right now, I’d be pretty pissed off at all the obsessive media focus devoted to what’s been dubbed ‘Detroit Ruin Porn‘ (for a great critique of said genre of porn, see this). Actually, it already does kind of piss me off, even though I’m not a Detroiter, because I’ve read about so many vastly different–and far more productive–ways that Detroit artists (and not-artists) are engaging with their city’s post-industrial context. See Imagination Station, Detroit Unreal Estate, Yes Farm, and Catie Newell’s Salvaged Landscape project for just a few quick initial examples of what I’m talking about. In my opinion what is happening in Detroit right now is one of the most fascinating, timely, and significant developments taking place in contemporary art practice–way more deserving of coverage than, say, whatever the fuck James Franco is doing with whichever poor artist (aka Sucker) the guy currently has under his spell.  To this end, I’m hoping/planning that Bad at Sports’ blog will be able to provide periodic coverage of Detroit’s art, culture, and social practice scene very soon. (Interested in contributing? Tweet me).  Art21 blog has also been providing some great coverage of what’s been happening in Detroit via guest blogger Allison Glenn’s terrific recent series of posts.

If you live in the Detroit area yourself, you should definitely check out the Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference taking place in Detroit today and tomorrow, April 6-7. It’s the third annual iteration of this conference, which brings together creative practitioners, business owners, educators, and designers to explore how cultural development strengthens post-industrial cities. This year’s conference homes in on the “creative supply chain” as a means of catalyzing economic growth, entrepreneurship, and land use. Go here for information on the conference’s lineup of events. They’ll be talking about what constitutes a creative economy and the role that artists and creative practitioners can play in the transformation of the post-industrial rust belt. Keynote addresses will be given by Jennifer Goulet of ArtServe Michigan; Peter Kagayama of Creative Cities Summit; Josh Linkner, Founder of ePrize; artist Theaster Gates, currently in residence at University of Chicago; and artist and writer Allee Willis.

But wait, there’s more! Also taking place in Detroit April 6-10 is Art X Detroit, an exhibition of works created by the 2008-2010 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows. Check out Art X Detroit’s Vimeo page for videos on each exhibited artist. Here’s the one made for Louis Aguilar:


Louis Aguilar from Art X Detroit on Vimeo.


Detroit is alive. It’s time we all started paying more attention.

Mid-Week Tips, Plugs, and Links

February 16, 2011 · Print This Article

Via Book Covers from the Reading Room

Here’s the latest, linky roundup of (good) shit that comes our way….please to enjoy:

*Wanna visit MOMA for free for a year? How to make your own MOMA artist pass.

*Or on second thought, maybe you should buy a real museum membership instead: President’s Proposed 2012 Budget Cuts NEA, NEH Funding by 13%.

*ARC Gallery in Chicago has a call out for entries to its upcoming “Sequential Art: Comics and Beyond” exhibition. This is an “open walls” exhibition, meaning all entries will be accepted. You literally have nothing to lose.

*Missed the Jose Munoz lecture at SAIC last week? Art21 has a nice, concise summary of Professor Munoz’ talk.

*Worthy of advance plugging: AA Bronson speaks at Gallery 400 next week as part of UIC’s Voices Lecture Series. Tuesday, February 22nd at 5:00pm.

*You think quilting isn’t ‘real’ art? You are so wrong, buddy. Check this out: Haptic Labs’ Custom City Map Quilts; and Jimmy McBride’s Stellar Quilts. I would love to go to bed under any of those beauties, although I’d be afraid one of my dogs would puke on it. Sigh.

*Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits at the Du Sable Museum of African American History, through March 6th.

*Who doesn’t like browsing through online photo archives? The Field Museum Library has a veritable treasure trove available via its Flickr photostream…right now, they have hundreds of photographs up, including images from two scanning projects: Urban Landscapes of Illinois and 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. (Via Things).

*Earlier this month Edward Winkleman posted on the crisis in the arts funding landscape, which we discussed in our podcast for Art21 this month. As always Winkleman’s take on the issue, along with the ensuing comments, are well-worth reading.

*Uh, WTF? Detroit May Erect Robo-Cop Statue. (Via). Whatever, I’ll reserve judgement since I don’t live there, and I really like the work that Imagination Station is doing for Detroit in general.