Elise Ansel & Al Held @ David Klein Galleries

Installation image, courtesy of the David Klein Gallery, photo by Samantha Schefman

Both exhibitions delayed their openings this spring because of the Covid 19 pandemic, but now, each are on display separately at the two galleries. The new exhibition of oil paintings at David Klein downtown, Palimpsest, is a collection of eleven works of art by Elise Ansel.

You ask yourself where do artists get their ideas for a painting?  Is it from observation, photographs, events, setting up objects, imagination or from the depths of the collective unconscious?  The answer is usually all or a mix of the above. Artists bring their own experience to the creation.

Elise Ansel finds motivation in historical works of art from which she reconstructs a realistic representational work of art using abstract expressionism as her vehicle. The work in this exhibition bases its reconstructions on Old Master paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts collection.

She says in her statement, “I create by translating Old Master paintings into a contemporary pictorial language. I mine art historical imagery for color, structure, and meaning. Thus, my paintings use the Old Masters as points of departure. They move into Abstraction by transforming the representational content, which is obfuscated and ultimately eclipsed by my focus on color, gesture, and the materiality of paint. I interrupt linear, rational readings so that the real subject becomes the substance and surface of oil paint, the range of its applications, and the ways in which it can be used to celebrate life. My work deconstructs both pictorial language and authorial agency to excavate and liberate meanings buried beneath the surface of the works from which my paintings spring.”

Elise Ansel, Hybrid 1, Oil on canvas, 48 x 36, all images courtesy of the David Klein Gallery

 

Rachel Ruysch, Flowers in a Glass Vase, Oil on canvas, 33 X 26, 1704, Image courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts

The work Hybrid 1 draws on the Ruysch still life and attracts the viewer in a multitude of ways. Set against a black background, the textured strokes, color palette,  Miro-like delicacy and  expressive linework renders a kind of feminine harmony. Hybrid 1 plays off Rachel Ruysch’s Flowers in a Glass Vase, 1704,  and leaves the experience wide open to interpretation.  The most profound concept here is that we all bring our own personal experience to a work of art. So when I view the Ruysch still life, where do I go?  Handsomely composed and decorated, like the photograph of an apple, it leaves little room for interpretation.

Studio, Elise Ansel

Elise Ansel, Judith lll, Oil on Canvas, 72 x 56″,

The same concept applies to the reconstruction of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith 1. Ansel goes to great lengths in the interpretation by writer Mary Garrard with references to her book, Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History After Post Modernism, in which she writes, “The cultural habit of seeing woman as an object-to-be-looked-at, the site of scopophilic pleasure” is denied and replaced with a focus on the artist hand.  What exactly is being killed in Gentileschi’s painting: toxic scopophilia and the myth of white supremacy.” Forgive me, but there aren’t too many psychiatrists who use Sigmund Freud in their practice these days.

Ansel’s paintings are vibrant and compelling in their execution.  Using an extra-large brush stroke of vibrant colored oil paint against these mostly dark backgrounds without reference to Caravaggio or Rembrandt would work just fine.  Some paintings retain images from Old Master works she has dissected, while others are pure abstractions whose relationship to any source is invisible. The visit to the museum feels more like contrivance and is not needed for this viewer as the paintings stand on their own and express their own individual form of abstract expressionism.

Elise Ansel, a native of New York City, is a graduate of Brown University and earned an MFA from Southern Methodist University. Her work has been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad and is in multiple private and public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow, Poland, Brown University, Providence, RI, and Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME. Elise Ansel lives and works in Portland, Maine.

 

Al Held @ David Klein – Birmingham

Al Held, Installation, All images courtesy of David Klein Gallery

For this exhibition, David Klein draws on the Al Held Foundation for a modest show of Al Held watercolors from the early 1990s, which were painted mostly near Rome, Italy, at his studio on Janiculum Hill sometime after his residency at the American Academy (1981-82) where he spent time creating his watercolors and studying what some would call the Renaissance vision.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1928, Al Held grew up in the East Bronx, the son of a poor Polish family thrown into the stresses of welfare during the depression. He showed little interest in art until leaving the Navy in 1947, where he enrolled in the Art Students League of New York. In 1951, with support from the G.I. Bill, Held traveled to Paris for two years to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In Paris, he decided that realism was not for him and moved into Abstraction and worked alongside the early 50s abstract expressionists. The single major retrospective of his career remains the survey curated by Marcia Tucker at the Whitney in 1974, which traced his development from his heavily pigmented, gestural Expressionist paintings in the 1950s, to his pioneering of flatly rendered geometric Abstraction in the context of post-painterly Abstraction in the 1960s, to his veering off on his own path in his reintroduction of illusionism into abstract painting in the early 1970s.

Installation image

Al Held, Tesoro 14, Watercolor on Paper mounted on board, 31 x 40″, 1993

The watercolors are dominated with geometric shapes, often either suspended in space or moving backward in perspective.  The use of primary color played against secondary color creates a convergence of color and shape.  Some of these paintings have horizontal windows, reminding me at times of Diego Rivera without the use of the figure.  These futuristic landscapes defined by complexly organized architectural scaffolds are not grounded nor do they pay attention to an outside light source; instead, they darken the interior of a cube or box. Inspired by Renaissance conceptions of the universe, one could see classical compositions that are topless or bottomless, juxtaposed to Mondrian, firmly planted on earth. These works on paper are stretched on stretcher frames and float in their picture frames, much like an oil painting.

Al Held (1928-2005) was one of the last and best of the big-impact abstract painters to emerge from the postwar era.  My personal favorite in this exhibition is Tesoro 14  that moves horizontally, right to the left, in a circular motion like a giant cog in a wooden windlass that harnesses and transfers energy.  The use of color complements is dominated by primaries and a centered composition that generates its densely packed strength.

In 1962, Held was appointed Associate Professor of Art at Yale University in 1962. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1966. He has also been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago, to name a few. His work is in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

At David Klein Galleries, both exhibitions are on display through August 22, 2020.

Dorota & Steve Coy, and Adrian Wong @ Wasserman Projects

Wasserman Projects has extended its two spring exhibitions, Dorota & Steve Coy: The Five Realms and Adrian Wong: Tiles, Grates, Poles, Rocks, Plants, and Veggies, into summer 2020. Both exhibitions were slated to open to the public on March 13, but were closed just days prior in accordance with health and safety guidelines. The Five Realms features five distinct immersive installations that continue Detroit-based artists Dorota & Steve Coy’s examinations of the relationships between humanity, the natural world, and commodity, past, present, and into the future. Tiles, Grates, Poles, Rocks, Plants, and Veggies includes works from across 10 years of Chicago-based artist Adrian Wong’s practice, which together capture his engagement with the underlying conceptual ideas and historic contexts found within simple, everyday design elements. These exhibitions communicate with each other through an exploration of the commodification of resources that sustain life itself and the ones that make it worth existing at all.

Adrian Wong, Rock Stack I with Ferns, Foliage, 2020 Fiberglass, paint, artificial plants 66.5” x 63” x 40” All images are courtesy of Wasserman Projects.

This show’s narrative alternates between the two exhibitions beginning with Adrian Wong’s opening remarks on structure, pattern and a desire for beauty that attempts, through aggressive pursuit of the material, to quell personal insecurity but winds up unnatural and often flawed. In 1935, Mr. Aw, the inventor of the Tiger Balm Ointment, built a private residence adjoining a garden for public enjoyment. Noted for its spectacular assortment of Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist characters on display in a picturesque setting and a ferocious tiger seated on the brink of a cliff, [Tiger Balm Garden] captured the imagination of the older generation of Hong Kongese. Rock Stack I with Ferns, Foliage, 2020 is a riff on Mr. Aw’s artificially created garden using amplified color-charged ‘rocks’ and plastic foliage generating an unsettling vibe.

Adrian Wong, Untitled (Grates VIII/IX: Derrick Industrial Building / Shun Tak Ferry Terminal), 2014 MDF, latex, enamel, stainless steel, glass, neon 46” x 46” x 7”

Untitled (Grates VIII/IX: Derrick Industrial Building / Shun Tak Ferry Terminal) references both a demarcated public space and the Buddhist symbol of the eight spoked wheel, a symbol of both compartmentalized physical and psychological space. His grates explore seen and unseen social and cultural boundaries. Its geometry is a perfect visual transition to Dorota and Steve Coy’s adjacent mathematical sketches.

Dorota & Steve Coy, Metatron 2, 2020 Ink on Paper 16.75” x 17” (framed: 18.75” x 19”)

Dorota & Steve Coy, Spirit of the Forest, 2020 Cast aluminum, automotive enamel Unique edition of 7, 87” x 22” x 15”

From here the story moves into what looks like a mad scientist’s notes, ponderings, warnings. Dorota and Steve Coy have translated actual text into an imaginary language underscoring celestial maps, DNA strands and geometric equations that calculate and consider global catastrophes like warfare and disease through math and science. The Spirit of the Forest, a deer/human centaur-like statue, stands sentinel, beckons and tempts you to the next engagement. It’s antlers call to a lonely tree’s branches just inside a completely dark second realm. The mystery draws you around the corner to the shock and sadness of a single spotlight illuminating a golden melting rhinoceros. Looking deeply into its glass eye, its soul is present, pleading. The Black Forest’s menacing trees are right out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, you’re half expecting them to move, taunt or maybe throw their apples in an effort to push you through. Nothing to see here . . . A perfect metaphor for corporate greed’s indiscriminate destruction of natural resources for the benefit of their bottom line.

Dorota & Steve Coy, Nature of Commodity, 2020 Fiberglass, resin, gold enamel 38” x 125” x 92”

Dorota & Steve Coy, The Deity, 2020 Fiberglass, resin, paint, marble 120” x 132” x 132”

Carrying the weight of that realization, you are suddenly thrust out into a large open and airy space dominated by a ten foot Ganesh-blue female human/ram, The Deity, presented as a symbol of hope and recovery. Included in this Hall of the Gods are three panels of icon paintings reminiscent of Byzantine altar triptychs often employed for private devotional use. These images combine traditional Christian postures and palette, but replace the Madonna and Child with the recurring theme of horned animals meant to inspire strength in their power.

Dorota & Steve Coy,  Therianthropic Deity 2, 2020 Acrylic and gold leaf on panel 36.75” x 23.75” x 1.5”

Here the flow is interrupted allowing you to choose your own path. The artists’ choice is to enter a museum set 10,000 years from now featuring elements of debris and a particularly poignant sculpture, Lover of Wisdom, which is comprised of a classical bust wearing a respirator. Here you are faced with the consequences of our current treatment of our shared home, Earth. Living in an American goal-oriented society, is this what we’re shooting for?

Dorota & Steve Coy,  Lover of Wisdom, 2020 Cast concrete 21” x 18.5” x 11”

Heading to the rear of the gallery you enter the final chapter in this tale of humanity. The Hygienic Dress League project, a high-end boutique which offers items like cans of air, food and clean water communicating the scarcity of basic necessities to simply sustain life and their ominous commodification. For the discerning consumer, couture respirators glitter for their buyers. One More Sunny Day is either an image of what’s outside or an homage to what was outside, presented in that 3-paneled configuration where blue sky and fluffy clouds are the objects of our adoration.

Dorota & Steve Coy,  Provisions: AIR, 2020 Mixed Media 10” x 10” x 7.875” (AIR 4.875” x 4.125” x 4.125”)

The sales pitch is complete with Adrian Wong’s octagonal barber shop poles, ubiquitous across Asia, hawking everything from noodle shops, parking lots, one-woman brothels and meat vendors in a kinetic coded language. The motion along with an audible buzzing puts you on edge prompting a swift exit; after you score a cheap pair of flip flops to wear while hanging out in your man-made garden in search of peace.

Adrian Wong,  Hypnagogia (Espadrilles, Flip Flops), 2020 Corian, acrylic, fluorescent tubes, magnetic drive motors, vinyl 42.25” x 13.75” x 7”

Adrian Wong, Tiling Error IV (Dogwood & Danishes), 2019 MDF, enamel, sanded grout 36.5” x 60.5”

Dorota & Steve Coy, Homosapien Vessel (BB2) c.2000-2020, 2020 Stoneware, glaze 6” x 8.5” x 1.5”

Powerful gods and human flaws. Are we at the mercy of the gods, or can we recognize our flaws and correct them by contemplating through formal means and spaces? Are the spirits and the heavens closer than we think, hovering next to us at this very moment? Is there any difference between what we choose to worship as a channel to holy transformation such as the Buddhist 8-spoked wheel, or those we choose to discard like a random pattern stamped on the bottom of a garbage can? After all humanity has discovered and employed for the advancement of our society, does it amount to nothing but fossilized plastic bottles or can we leave a legacy of compassionate, intelligent and courageous change?

A big congratulations to Wasserman Projects for being selected by MEDC + PATRONICITY for the MI Local Biz Covid-19 Support Grant! The Michigan Economic Development Corp will match dollar for dollar all donations raised to support their artists and audiences. They just have nine days to meet their goal so donate now!

https://www.patronicity.com/project/wasserman_projects_exhibition__program_support#!/

 Wasserman Projects is located at 3434 Russell Street #502 in Detroit. Exhibition can now be viewed in person by appointment.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/private-viewing-by-appointment-tickets-108599877156

Visual Art in Virtual Reality

MSU Broad and Able Eyes

Over the past few months, cultural institutions have out of necessity navigated creative ways of making their content available online.   This works better for some forms of media than others.  Most of us already experience music digitally by default, and what happens in the recording studio is pretty much exactly what we experience through our headphones; little gets lost in translation.  But the visual arts exist in space, and they lose a dimension when viewed online.  But emerging technologies, particularly 360-degree photography and virtual reality (VR), have the potential to make digitally exploring visual culture much more rewarding.

Without getting into the technical details, a VR headset (like those offered by the brands Oculus and Vive) makes the Street View content from Google Maps fully immersive and interactive.  Since Google has taken its cameras into many museums, cultural institutions, and architectural spaces, this makes it possible to navigate these spaces not just on a regular computer screen, but also in VR.  With a VR headset, we see the Google Map imagery life-size and surrounding us in 360 degrees, and it really does disconcertingly seem to place us on location.

There are admittedly some problems with viewing art in virtual reality.  Pixilation can be an issue.  On a regular computer screen, a Google Street View image might look just fine, but with a VR headset, even slightly pixelated images are rendered as aggravatingly blurry.  The Google Street View rendering of the interior of New York’s Metropolitan Art Museum, for example, looks great on a computer screen, but the paintings get pretty fuzzy when seen in VR.  Exterior views of architectural spaces are much more forgiving.  A second problem (with or without VR) is that Google’s 360-degree cameras photograph interiors from a vantage point of about eight feet in the air, which can be problematic; if you try to “stand” directly in front of a painting you’ll often find yourself looking down at the work from an awkward angle.

In some instances, though, this elevated vantage point is actually useful.  One of the best places to digitally explore is the Doge’s Palace in Venice; the extra boost we get from Google’s camera offers us a marginally better view of the Renaissance murals which cover every inch of its walls and ceiling.  We can also get satisfyingly closer to the marbles which once adorned the Parthenon, now housed in the Acropolis Museum in Athens.  And we’re offered a much better perspective of some of the larger than life, cinematic Napoleonic propaganda (such as David’s Coronation of Napoleon) that adorns the walls of the Palace of Versailles.

Among the museums which are rendered in sufficiently high definition so as to not appear pixilated (even when viewed through an unforgiving VR headset) include the British Museum, where the imagery is so crisp that we can read the didactic text on the wall.  The same could be said for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Also impressively lucid are Google’s renderings of the Getty Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Some architectural spaces and ensembles especially worth exploring include the Peruvian city of Machu Picchu and the Palace of Versailles and its gardens.  The dazzling, colonnaded interior of the Mosque of Cordoba [later converted to a cathedral] is a fascinating bit of history set in stone; as we navigate its interior, we experience it as a mash-up of both arabesque and European architectural elements.  A personal favorite space to digitally wander is the luminous interior of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia.   Closer to home is the much under-rated Driehaus Museum in Chicago, a three-story Gilded-Age mansion which has been preserved and functions as an excellent period museum.

“Machu Picchu as viewed in Google Street View”

“La Sagrada Familia as viewed in Google Street View.”

In Michigan, Google’s omniscient cameras have photographed nearly all our streets, but disappointingly few cultural institutions.  One notable exception is Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, rendered in impressively high resolution.  The park is now open again, but during the Covid shutdown, Meijer Gardens found inventive ways to bring the gardens to the public via Facebook, including posting 360-degree video walk-throughs of some of its spaces; although not as immersive as VR, this nevertheless made its Online content satisfyingly interactive.

One street in Michigan that doubles as a cultural institution is the Heidelberg Project.  An interesting feature about viewing Google Street View through the VR App Wander (a Google Map program specifically packaged for Oculus VR headsets) is that whenever a place has been photographed by Google more than once, we can reset the date, and see what the place looked like at each successive photoshoot.  The Heidelberg Project is particularly fluid, so it’s interesting to see how the project evolved yearly (starting in 2009, when Google first photographed the space) as its elements and structures appear and disappear.

We can also virtually navigate parts of Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum, which offers a VR-compatible virtual tour of its space, and in impressively high resolution.   The interior was photographed not by Google, but by Able Eyes.  Although we can’t enter any of the Broad’s exhibition galleries in this walk-through, we can still navigate the atrium and public spaces, which are enough to sufficiently showcase architect Zaha Hadid’s relish of counterintuitive, angular forms.

 

MSU Broad and Able Eyes

There’s certainly no substitute for seeing art and architecture in person, of course.  But it’s nevertheless exciting to be on the cusp of emerging technologies which help us experience visual culture in full immersion.  Increasingly, it’s becoming possible to experience art digitally much like we can with music, with little getting lost in translation.  Wolfgang Goethe once even described architecture as “frozen music,”  and these new technologies allow us to explore these spaces in surprisingly lucid detail, note for note, and in fully immersive, navigable three dimensions.

Museums & Galleries @ Detroit Art Review

No one saw this coming and it will be part of our history forever.  Covid 19 has affected every part of our lives, and every part of humanity around the world. For us, it has closed down our favorite museums and galleries and deprived us of our love of art and artists. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered that libraries and museums may reopen June 8 but must adhere to workplace rules already released for retailers. That means capacity limits, mandatory masks and other safety protocols.

As of 06/5/2020, the writers at the Detroit Art Review:  K.A. Letts, Jonathan Rinck, Kim Fay and myself have tried to provide an update on our sponsors status and any information that looks forward into the upcoming summer and fall months.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA Education Staff has several learning resources available for educators, parents, and students from home. School Field Trips From Home >  The DIA’s collection is available online to browse and learn from wherever you are. You can also explore our upcoming and past exhibitions. They have created Community Partnership Connection where the reader can enjoy online video, slideshows, images and more. For Community Partnership Connection > You can enjoy the work of the DIA’s community partners online through video, slideshows, images and more. The opening of the museum is yet to be determined. Up Coming Exhibitions:

Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958-2008 – November 15, 2020

Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City  – November 15,  2020

Van Gogh in America – October 2, 2022

Cranbrook Museum of Art

Cranbrook Museum is closely following the recommendations of the CDC and the State of Michigan in order to keep visitors safe  during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Measures taken include deep cleaning throughout the museum, especially in high-traffic areas, sanitizing  doorknobs and frequent disinfection of the area around the front desk. Signage has been added in bathrooms to encourage handwashing. At this time, the Museum is planning to reopen to members on July 8, and to the general public on July 12, subject to change if the Governor’s stay at home order is extended.

Toledo Museum of Art

The Toledo Museum of Art provided the Detroit Art Review the following summary of its current status and the varied ways it is offering content until its doors re-open:

In the time since it temporarily closed to the public on March 15, the Toledo Museum of Art has been developing plans for both a safe return to work for its staff and reopening the galleries to the public. While a reopening date has not been set at this time, TMA is waiting on guidance from government agencies so that when it is safe to do so, we can reopen as soon as possible. TMA has broadened its digital efforts to stay connected to its visitors over the past few months, creating a special section of its website called TMA at HOME. There visitors will find a wide variety of videos, activities and other resources to keep engaged with the Toledo Museum of Art while the galleries are closed. The Museum also launched two community art projects: a COVID-19 Virtual Quilting Bee and the TMA Teen Leader Virtual Talent Show. Entries for the virtual quilting bee are due Monday, June 22 (https://www.toledomuseum.org/quilting-bee) and the virtual talent show will take place on the Museum’s Instagram (@toledomuseum) Saturday, June 6. Additionally, TMA just announced an initial series of virtual art classes to take place later this month. Registration is open, with classes for families, youth and adults.

Flint Art Institute

The Flint Art Institute has yet to establish a re-opening date.  In a brief statement to the Detroit Art Review, the FIA asserted that when the museum opens, it will be in accordance to Michigan’s state mandates, and will adhere to best practices established nationally and regionally for museums.  All public programming (such as weekly events, art classes, and the FOMA film series) has been canceled through June 30.  When the museum reopens, the exhibitions Postscriptand Monumental: The Art of Viola Frey will be on view.  In the meantime, the FIA has placed an impressive amount of multimedia content on its website, which features a digital catalogue of its collection, museum highlights accompanied with audio guides, and videos of public lectures and discussions.

Broad Art Museum

Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum is working on a multi-phased plan for re-opening, but as Michigan’s state mandates are fluid, there is currently no firm date established for re-opening.  The museum is in close conversation with the University and other museums regarding best practices for health and safety, as well as how to bring more content into digital space.  The Broad’s website provides links to virtual walkthroughs of its current lead exhibitions: the 2020 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition, and Beyond Words: 2020 Curatorial Practices. Follow the Broad’s Facebook page for frequent digital content, including a 3D walkthrough of the museum, and “Studio (in)Prosses at Home” –the museum’s weekly studio demonstration delivered via Facebook Live.

University of Michigan of Art

The University of Michigan Museum of Art does not have a re-opening date, but a spokesperson says it is planning on following the lead of the University of Michigan pending an announcement of plans for the fall semester.  When it does re-open, it will adhere to necessary social distancing and sanitary practices in order to keep the public, its students, and its staff as safe as possible.   The UMMA has been busy developing new ways for guests to experience the UMMA online, including its recently launched UMMA at Home, the online hub for its digital programming.  Here, visitors will find a robustly multimedia array of educational materials, activities, virtual tours, virtual events, and collection highlights which can be explored by theme.  There’s even downloadable coloring pages and zoom backgrounds inspired by the UMMA’s collection.

David Klein Galleries

Assuming the current Stay At Home Order is relaxed on June 8th and not extended , the galleries  plan to open exhibitions on June 20th.

The artists showing will be Elise Ansel in Detroit and Al Held in Birmingham. The openings will be on Saturday 6/20 and Sunday 6/21, from 12- 6. Reservations for 1 hour time slots in each location will be required. There is a maximum number of visitors allowed during each time slot, 10 per hourin Detroit, 4 per hour in Birmingham; those numbers will be confirmed in the exhibition announcement.  Visitors must wear masks and observe social distancing.

All of the details and guidelines will be in the show  announcements and on the website as well as on social media. Both galleries are open by appointment and Tuesday – Saturday during regular business hours. Openings will be postponed if Governor Whitmer extends the stay at home order.

Simone DeSousa Gallery

 Simone DeSousa Gallery is pleased to participate in FAIR, presented by the New Art Dealers Association (NADA). This is a new art fair initiative designed to be entirely online, function cooperatively, and act as a benefit for NADA’s community of galleries, nonprofits and artists. Taking place May 20–June 21, 2020, FAIR will directly support 119 NADA Gallery Members and 81 other galleries that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, totaling nearly 200 galleries around the world.

Each participating gallery will present a series of artworks over four-weeks with the opportunity to share new artworks each week. The initiative will also feature a series of online performances, studio visits and talks to complement the artworks presented by participating galleries and artists. FAIR, produced in collaboration with Artlogic, utilizes their Online Viewing Rooms service and is generously hosted by them.

Simone DeSousa Gallery’s FAIR featured artist is Mark Newport who was born in Amsterdam, NY and attended the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA). He is currently the Artist-in-Residence and Head of Fiber at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

The gallery is currently exhibiting On the Fly by Michael Luchs. Detailed installation shots and images of all the works are now available online on the gallery website, as well as on our Artsy page, where you are able to zoom into the works, and also inquire about purchase.

Wasserman Projects

Wasserman Projects is carefully monitoring the situation with COVID-19. We will adhere to terms of the Executive Order for the State, which will inform our decisions on reopening procedures and what best serves our artists and audiences.

Wasserman Projects has been hosting small group (15 – 25 ppl) – guided tours of the current exhibitions. DOROTA + STEVE COY: The Five Realms and Adrian Wong: Tiles, Grates, Poles, Rocks, Plants, and Veggies

Along with our online galleries and increased content on social platforms, a virtual tour leads you through the exhibition via Zoom with a combination still and moving images. The tour simulates the experience of walking through the space and is enhanced with commentary from Alison Wong and the exhibiting artists. We may continue and or adapt this model when things begin to reopen.

Wasserman is hoping and planning for the best scenarios, and looking forward to everyone seeing the current exhibitions in person. That said, Wasserman has committed to extending the current exhibitions through August 15 and will determine if necessary, or possible, to extend further as that date nears.

N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

 The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art has a reopening date tentatively scheduled for Mid-July.

Our summer-fall exhibition schedule will present, Detalles “Details”, an exhibition of small works, featuring local artist Mel Rosas in the Rose Gallery.  The Main Gallery and Black Box Gallery will showcase “Sign of the Times”, Selected Abstract Works from the N’Namdi Collection. Each of the works from this remarkable collection demonstrates the evolution of the African American community and the influence of African American artist, prior to, in the height of, and beyond the Civil Rights movement, representing the breadth and depth of how African Americans are only now getting their due.

As we anticipate the art world will continue to be influenced by this new reality of social distancing.  We look forward to returning to our beautiful space and opening our doors to your virtually and with limited public access.

There are a few things we will be doing around the gallery to make your art-viewing experience as safe and comfortable as possible for you, as well as for our staff. We feel fortunate that our gallery space is large and open, and hope this makes you comfortable to pop in for a visit. We look forward to smiling at you from behind our protective masks, knowing that you will be smiling back from behind yours. We will have hand sanitizer available for you upon your arrival and we will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have before your visit, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

K.OSS Contemporary Art

K.OSS Contemporary Art has determined to remain closed until October, 2020 for now, but will continue to monitor the situation and will reopen when it can ensure the safety of its staff, artists and audience. The upcoming exhibition is a series of paintings by American Artist Lloyd Martin. The exhibit, “Monument,” features a collection of large-scale works that beautifully reflect the artist’s thematic, abstract compositions. The day for the opening is still not clear, but will make the announcement when it’s known.

K.OSS has been invited to participate in Art Mile, a community engagement platform and digital exhibition dedicated to championing Detroit’s arts community that will launch June 25–July 1. Details on this event to follow.

Oakland University Art Gallery 

As Oakland University’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), we are committed to sharing the most up-to-date, relevant information regarding OU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check this page frequently as facts and information is changing rapidly.

If you have a question, please call the OU Crisis Communication Hotline (248) 556-3330. Someone will be available between Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to help answer your questions.

Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

The Museum is temporarily closed at this time. The opening is to be determined.  Click here to access our Virtual Engagement offerings. Email mfsm@svsu.edu or call 989-964-7125 to leave a message. We will get back to you within 24 hours.

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center

In response to State of Michigan “Stay at Home” mandate, the BBAC is closed until further notice. The BBAC open date is to be determined.  Michigan Fine Arts Competition will be a virtual exhibit.

For further information, please monitor our eblasts and website, which will be updated accordingly. The current exhibits are up until June, 18, 2020 and call our main number to schedule an appointment to view in person. All children’s camps will be virtual.  We will still have several adult workshops on site depending on dates.

BBAC exhibits – tour online – CLICK HERE

Image Works

Image Works specializes in archival pigment printing, also known as giclée or inkjet printing, for reproducing photographic and fine art imagery. We also provide a number of digital services including high resolution artwork captures, film & slide scanning, portfolio printing, posters, and prepress proofing.  As of Monday, June 8th, Image Works will begin accepting visitors to the gallery by appointment only, Monday through Saturday. You may email or call ahead the same day or book a time a few days in advance. We will ensure that there is no overlap in visitors. We will ask visitors to wear face masks while in the gallery until the state advises otherwise.  We are also offering our printing and scanning services by appointment at this time. Please visit www.imageworksfineart.com for current exhibition information or call 503-449-0964.

 

 

 

Contemporary Glass @ Flint Institute of Arts

Installation View, All images courtesy of the Flint Art Institute

Two years ago, the Flint Art Institute opened the doors to its newly completed 11,000 square-foot Contemporary Glass Wing, supplemented by a 3,620 square foot glass arena where glassblowers offer demonstrations to audiences who can watch from stadium-style seating.  Chic and emphatically modern, these new spaces seem to proclaim that while handcrafted glass is an ancient art, it’s also a medium for the 21st century and it will definitely be here in the future. The wing is home to a fine collection of eighty-eight glass artists representing sixteen countries, making this one of the best venues in the country for viewing contemporary glass.

The works on view come from the collection of the serendipitously  named Sherwin and Shirley Glass, and are currently on loan from the Isabel foundation.  The heart of the collection is glass that emerged from the Studio Glass Movement, which had its roots in Toledo, Ohio–itself home to a fine glass collection.  The movement began when Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino engineered ways for artisans to create glass in their own studios with relatively small furnaces.  They held a famous workshop on the subject at the Toledo Art Museum in 1962 (among others, Dale Chihuly was present), energizing the movement and creating the nexus which allowed for it to attain a global reach.

Suggesting highlights from the collection is a little difficult, given its strength.  Karen LaMonte’s Dress Impression with a Traincertainly warrants mention.  Here, viewers encounter a dress reminiscent of what you might expect to find draped on a Greek Aphrodite, except there’s no Aphrodite under these folds, merely a void created from a cast of a model.  Her work subtly addresses the tension between the body and the spirit, though one’s principal thought will likely simply be “how did she make that?!”

Cast glass Dimensions: 58 5/16 × 22 1/2 × 43 5/16 in. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, L2017.143

Demonstrating the often-surprising trompe l’oeil possibilities of glass art, William Morris creates deceptive works inspired by African art like Zande Man and Bull Trophy, each seemingly fashioned out of wood and ivory.  Similarly deceptive are the organic-looking elements of Debora Moore’s Orchid Tree, which looks uncannily like an arrangement of brittle fragments of twigs and withered petals.  The overwhelming majority of works in this collection are sculptural, but Miriam Silvia Di Fiore’s Washing Boardapplies glass wire and thinly ground glass to create illustrative landscapes that seem almost painterly.

Blown glass, steel stand Dimensions: 26 × 16 × 16 in. (66 × 40.6 × 40.6 cm) Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, 2017

Flameworked and kiln-worked glass, found object Dimensions: 30 3/4 × 16 × 5 3/4 in. (78.1 × 40.6 × 14.6 cm) Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, 2017

This collection forcefully advances the argument that abstract art can indeed be stunningly beautiful (incidentally, the FIA has some impressively accessible abstract art across all genres).  The billowing forms of Marvin Lipofski are colorful abstractions reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe flowers, but rendered in three dimensions.  And staple to any collection of contemporary glass are the works of Chihuly; here, a set of his characteristically biomorphic bowls nestle into each other somewhat like Matryoshka stacking dolls.  Works like these can easily serve as a gateway-drug into the world of abstraction for those who aren’t especially fond of abstract art.

Acid-polished blown glass Dimensions: 15 × 21 3/4 × 16 1/2 in. (38.1 × 55.2 × 41.9 cm) Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, 2017

Many of these works are from Eastern Europe, a testament to the region’s history of glassmaking which stretches back to the Renaissance.  Surprisingly, even while Communism exerted its dampening effect on the arts, glass artists were comparatively immune from restrictive policies, since the authorities didn’t think glass art had any subversive potential. The abstract works of Stanislav Libensky and his wife Jaroslavia Brychtova are a foil to state-sanctioned Socialist Realism, triumphantly making the case for abstraction and self-expression.  The monumental scale of their collaborative Green Eye of the Pyramid helps to situate this work a visual anchor for the collection.

Cast, cut and polished glass, I-Beam pedestal, Dimensions: 82 1/2 × 113 × 29 3/4 in., 2000 lb.  Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, 2017

None of this is currently on view to the public, of course, but it will be eventually.  In the meantime, the FIA has done an excellent job of digitizing its collection.  Viewers can browse an online catalogue of art from the museum; one page offers selected highlights accompanied with audio guides, making the experience more informative and satisfying than simply clicking through pictures online.  The Contemporary Glass page currently offers a catalogue of the FIA’s glass collection, and most works are accompanied by information about the artist.  The FIA also produced a fine print catalogue of its glass collection, replete with beauty-shots of each work that fill the entire page, and occasionally spill onto a second.

Centuries ago, Abbot Suger, the mastermind behind the French Gothic style, famously referred to the light that passes through stained-glass as Lux Nova, or transformed, heavenly light.  Best, of course, to experience its magic in person.  But not all is lost in translation when viewing glass online.  Many of these works are at their best when tactfully backlit by soft light, an effect that the luminosity of the computer screen almost seems to replicate.   So until the FIA is able to safely open its doors to the public again, do take advantage of the chance to browse its glass collection which has been placed online in its entirety, and, of course, is completely free of charge.

Installation View, Courtesy of the Flint Art Institute

Glass Exhibition at the Flint Art Institute. The FIA staff is working hard to get ready for the moment when they  will be able to open their doors to welcome you to visit the galleries. Although they haven’t set a date yet, FIA is preparing for the opportunity to reconnect with you while practicing social distancing throughout a virus free facility.