Viewing entries in
Art exhibits

Comment

The Transported Man at Broad Art Museum

Yesterday was a picturesque fall day, blue skies, brisk wind, warm and full sunshine. I was in East Lansing meeting a dear friend for lunch. Afterwards we decided to head to Broad Art Museum. If you've never been to the namesake museum of husband and wife contemporary collectors, Eli and Edythe Broad (rhymes with "road"), it's worth the effort. The exhibits are easily accessible and you can spend an afternoon or a few minutes taking in a gallery or two. We bypassed the basement galleries in the interest of time. The jutting lines of the museum are quite beautiful against the pomp and circumstance of MSU's classical buildings. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_8039.JPG

We entered through the west side of the building where we were met with some full-on floor to ceiling trippy, Dada-esque imagery. The exhibit was titled TOILETPAPER.

FullSizeRender.jpg
Maurizio Cattelan, TOILETPAPER

Maurizio Cattelan, TOILETPAPER

The current main exhibit, The Transported Man, is group exhibition with a number of effective and jaw-dropping works. Inspired by the 1995 novel (and a movie that I will actually watch more than once), The Prestige, asks viewers to suspend their notion of what is reality and believe in the trickery in front of them. 

"The Transported Man exemplifies the three phases of a magic trick, wherein a magician appears onstage (the Pledge), disappears through a door (the Turn), and reappears immediately through another door (the Prestige)."

Ugo Rondinone,  Clockwork for Oracles I , 2008

Ugo Rondinone, Clockwork for Oracles I, 2008

I took a number of awful photos on my phone. Hence, the limited number of images. But I couldn't help but stop in my tracks when I saw Daniel Firman's elephant in the room. 

Daniel Firman,  Loxodont , 2017, resin 

Daniel Firman, Loxodont, 2017, resin 

IMG_8050.JPG

I'm not typically one for "bigger is better" but this is one of those pieces you have to see to believe. Known for suspension and balance, Firman's work since 2008 has centered around life size elephants (at one time models of taxidermy) installed in precarious moments. Only after I had referred to the wall and saw that it was "resin", could I circle around the Goliath. I had a visceral response to not only the massiveness, but I was also holding on to the belief that at any moment, the grip of the trunk could be compromised and the 900 pound elephant would come crashing down. (The installation came in three pieces and barely fit through the freight elevator). 

You can feel the desperateness, a pull of falling yet holding on, that moment before the fibers give way, and the inevitable may happen. It's quite delightful and horrifying at the same time. 

There are some other delightful elements of the show, a rumbling intermittent "thunder" produced by instruments. And there's a sweet little Marcel Duchamp tucked upstairs. I also thoroughly enjoyed Ryan Gander's Nathaniel Knows, an installation piece in a quiet room of its own, drywall pulled away to reveal an otherworldly outdoors through a small opening in the floor. It's eerie effect is given even more power as my friend and I got down on our hands and knees and peered in. 

Robin Meier and André Gwerder's piece, Synchronicity, is an immersive experience led by a docent. We walked into a tent (and then another) and entered a world of red glowing outdoors. Inside you hear white noise, buzzing, you see dry brush, bushes, record players, a metronome-pendulum swinging. As the docent stops it, she explains there are crickets chirping as they've assimilated to the artificial noise created. There were lightning bugs glowing to the environmental lights but they sadly succumbed after an arduous trip from Thailand and then being on display for so long...

See a slideshow of some of the pieces mentioned here

The Transported Man is only showing through October 22nd, 2017. If you have an opportunity, I highly recommend a visit to give yourself a moment away from reality. 

Broad Art Museum | Michigan State University, 547 East Circle Drive | $10 suggested donation | Open Tuesday through Sunday, 12-7 pm

Comment

Comment

Murakami at MCA

We had the opportunity to stroll through the Takashi Murakami show at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago recently and it was a treat. The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, as its aptly called is just as queer as it is enchanting. I've been following his work since the onslaught of contemporary works took over in the early 2000s at auction. I consider Murakami in the same vein of notoriety as Jeff Koons, Ai Wei Wei, Yayoi Kusama, but even more commercial. His collaboration with Louis Vuitton and Kanye West covers prove that.

Because I love illustration and graphic novels, his anime and pop creatures have always spoken to my love of heavy linework and flat color. In his early work you can see undulating lines and texture forming a foundation for the heavily layered later canvases.

DSC_8900.JPG
DSC_8902.JPG
DSC_8904.JPG
DSC_8907.JPG

I particularly enjoyed the works around 2008 (above), where Murakami directed his works toward classical elements and figures. Japanese congi and motifs occupied much of the otherwise modern canvases. Demonic like monoliths were also a highlight with their larger-than-life presence, hovering over us like evil deities. Below, blacklights glowed a mystic light over long scroll paintings, reminiscent of Japanese decorative drawings.

DSC_8909.JPG
DSC_8910.JPG
DSC_8912.JPG
Some of us enjoyed the show more than others.

Some of us enjoyed the show more than others.

DSC_8913.jpg

Murakami's latest works were gigantic genre paintings, capturing everyday imagery of life but hyper stylized to capture the advent of technological advances in paint, layering, digital illustration. They were a bit raucous, like Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights on LSD. The application of paint was overwrought for me but the video of the process and the sheer manpower it takes to produce his ideas is staggering. Not to mention the plethora of paint and the spectrum in his palette. It's quite impressive. 

The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg is runs through September 11th and is included with regular admission. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. 

 

 

Comment

Comment

Thinking out loud: What's the next art piece?

Last summer Nick and I produced an event called Sticks and Stones that has continued to make us question the focus of our work, perception of our community, what to do for our next social art piece. Now that the state of my community (like many others) has been "woke", there's been a lot of connecting and rallying. There was the worldwide women's march, a local peace march on MLK Day, Immigrants' March, gatherings, heart to heart talks, forums, blogs, media, all seemingly moving toward the goal of protecting ourselves and one another, our liberties, rights, privileges, examining injustices, exploration of next steps...not to mention the upcoming International Women's Day / Day Without a Woman this Wednesday, March 8th. 

I had even considered the importance of holding a mothers event (and really not just moms but those that support women and families) on Mothers' Day at Edith C. Hefley Park, a small tot lot just north of Recreation Park in the Normal Park neighborhood. I had heard it was underutilized and had some attention on Ypsi Proud Day (the day formerly known as Ypsi P.R.I.D.E Day) but could use some activity. I found this tidbit from the Ypsilanti Gleanings archive: "Ypsilanti Peace Fellowship dedicated the park in 1987 as the Edith C. Hefley Peace Park after the name of a Vietnam Peace Activist who lived in the neighborhood of the park. Since the dedication, the Peace Fellowship has met on Mother's Day to set out plants and to picnic in the park." (author Doris Milliman)

I had envisioned children and adults coming together to meet someone they didn't know before and share in a lesson, teach one another something they're really good at, whether it's a recipe or how they tie their shoes. That made me ponder:

• How will I make sure that everyone finds out about it from all parts of the city?

• Even if we alert the neighbors, will it be disruptive?

• Am I being too presumptuous to think that everyone wants to learn something?

• Will it be impactful enough that this experience will resonate and build more experiences beyond this day?

• Will everyone feel "welcome?"

And that's my biggest quandary. Marches and gatherings are about taking a common space in a public realm. But what does it feel like when you go to a community event very close to other peoples' homes, say a neighborhood tot park, when your street doesn't look or feel the same way, doesn't have the same amenities or privileges (maybe yours has more, maybe yours has less) or cultural practices? When I was out taking photos the other day, the neighbor across the street came out of his house to walk the dogs and was kind enough to tell me that the park is actively used by parents and had even had some additions made to it late in the season which he thinks will bring out even more people this spring. It no longer seemed like the unactivated space I thought it was. Plus, I don't live in Normal Park so that was another consideration for inserting myself into the neighborhood or staking a space. Back to the drawing board.

For all the history and nuanced magic of Ypsilanti, the city is still very divided by history and newness, race, experience, even former school districts (Ypsilanti and Willow Run) and its district lines. I've met many exceptional folks in Ypsi, ready to dive in to social, cultural, educational circles to reach out, help, share. But many of those circles do not intersect broadly beyond age and race, civic versus citizen, privileged versus underserved. And it's no one's fault. How do we step back and see the big picture, all at once?

Because of this, I've given myself a new assignment.

The aim of my next project is to produce a work accessible to as many of the nearly 20,000 citizens of Ypsilanti as possible, affect them in a manner that is positive and create domino opportunities of action from it. 

Comment

2 Comments

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Peace March

Nick and I had the pleasure of being a part of the silent peace march that Ypsilanti Community High School art teacher Lynne Settles assembled this morning. We pulled up to the Ypsilanti Water Tower a few minutes before 9 am and wondered how many people would participate with the dreary gray, cold weather. By five after, the small patch of green at the foot of the tower was filled with parents, community members and students. We were 200 strong as we silently walked down Washtenaw to Michigan Avenue. Ypsilanti Police escorted us as we carefully made our way through the intersection during green lights. Leading the march was Rhea McCauley, niece of Rosa Parks and Ypsilanti resident!

Our ending point was the intersection of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue. The building at the corner (which houses Mix Clothing and Ypsilanti Experimental Space, aka YES) is the site where Frederick Douglass spoke 150 years ago to the day. I had no idea what to expect.  Artist Mark Tucker from YES had been working with Lynne's students for months and the result blew my mind. I've seen really good video installation done at art fairs before but Frederick Douglass was all at once quirky and historical and right in front of me

With Mark and Lynne's expertise, the students created a sculpture of Frederick Douglass. Then they had Herb Francois, a teacher at the high school, dress up like Mr. Douglass and read the speech “The Perils of the Republic” which filmmaker Donald Harrison captured. This was projected on the sculpture with the sound of the students taking turns reading the speech. It was transportive and eerily cool. As the light of the projection wrapped around the sculpture, you could then see it wasn't a perfect alignment but that only added to the richness of the viewing. For a moment, you feel as if you're watching footage of the real thing, but then you're snapped back into present day. It was, by far, one of the most memorable pieces of art I have seen in a while. 

Next door neighbor and owner of Go! Ice Cream, Rob Hess and his team, made an incredible donation of time and goodies on a day the parlor is normally closed.  Everyone had their share of hot chocolate and coffee (some of us had to have their delicious ice cream treats too) and students got to see their work hung in the new Go education/event space. Nick collaborated with all the students in concept, production and research of the projects. 

From what I witnessed, the day's festivities highlighted multiple mediums including photography, writing, film making, sculpture (and armature building), costume, make up, styling, performance art, video installation, and art activism. 

The march and exhibit highlighted the spirit of diversity and love that exists in Ypsilanti. It was a magical event in a magical place. Thank you, students, teachers and everyone involved. This day has imbued an even stronger sense of what this community is about and I'm so proud to be a part of it. 

2 Comments

2 Comments

Sticks & Stones: A Social Art Happening

After months of planning and rallying (and anxiety on my part), Sticks & Stones took place last night. The social art happening consisted of people, standing in the street as silent "statues" holding posters of comments collected from MLive articles over the last year. The sentiments from these comments were largely about Ypsilanti, its inhabitants, youth and activity here, many of them stereotypes, hateful and hurtful in nature. 

For the first 30 minutes, participants stood in line at MarketPlace Square* and didn't speak to pedestrians. Viewers started to gather and read the posters, one by one. A number of people came up to me visibly moved and upset by the comments. They couldn't believe they were real. The combined impact of seeing them all together brought tears to people's eyes. 

Following the silent portion of the event, we asked people to answer 3 questions: 

1. What is your first memory of being discriminated against?

2. Have you ever been the perpetrator of intolerance/hate and how do you feel about it now?

3. What real action can you take from this point to drive positive change?

People took to social media, standing with one another, taking photos, streaming video, meeting new friends. Using the hashtag #sticksandstones, we shared content which will be collected and shown at our studio next month during First Fridays Ypsi, September 2nd. It was positive and wonderful and powerful. (You can continue to use the hashtag #sticksandstones and be part of the show too!) 

As we look back on the event and view these photos, we see the diverse support we had last night, in race, ethnicity, age, experience, and we are moved by their belief in our vision to stand up to hate.

Ironically, the media attention we received drove even more hateful commentary, which we find amusing and helpful. The same people who hated on the event and called us "mershmallow soft" (their spelling, not mine), cited Clint Eastwood's phrase to "get over it", also took the time to listen to the radio interview, find social media comments and cite them when writing more comments, and read the article which resulted in online arguments. What I've come to realize is that while I try to listen to political figures who I will not vote for, or read comments from those I don't agree with, our event hit a nerve. (At the time of publishing this blog post, there were 154 comments on the MLive article). 

Here are facts as I know them:

• When Clint Eastwood was growing up, there was no internet. Kids and adults didn't cyber-bully and humiliate one another publicly, resulting in deaths and suicides.

• Words have power. They are the seed of dialogue, conflict, resolve, debate, argument. Its visibility and ease of consumption on social media is a root for sensationalizing violence in our country. 

• From a little online research, the commenters from our piece have likely not dealt with the racist, classist, elitist, discriminatory words they're doling out. And lastly, most of them would not make those comments in a public forum. 

• The joke is funny until it's about you. 

Ypsilanti is a rich community. It is filled with some of the most talented and generous people I have ever met. The educators, business owners, parents, children, senior citizens, and civic leaders I've spoken to over the last couple years have given us confidence that we are on the right path. I owned and lived in a home in Ypsilanti 15 years ago and witnessing the continued evolution of this city is phenomenal. 

Nick and I have different stances on seeing the obliteration of comments on articles. While they make me ill to read sometimes, I don't think they need to be removed. I recognize it's the same commenters over and over again, who are unable to find the silver lining in anything that is not serving their own needs.

These events which cost money and time and energy to produce are more meaningful than any comment they could ever make from the security of their couch. We create the news, they just consume it. 

*We applied and were approved for a street closure with the City. (Our production of this event also required additional insurance coverage, fee and deposit).  Although the barricades didn't show up until later than we anticipated, our artist participants were generous with their time and posed for photos in the street beyond the first 30 minutes. For this, we are so grateful to each and every one of you. A very special "thank you" goes to Mayor Amanda Edmonds for her swift response and the Ypsilanti Police Department for their service and smile. 

2 Comments

1 Comment

Coming up: March 2016

The spring exhibition season is kicking off with an incredible show and I'm excited to announce it today. I met (paper) artist Laura Makar just a few months ago when she submitted her pieces for consideration. I emailed her immediately. 

Sure-Lock , 2015, 29 x 42 inches, cut paper

Sure-Lock, 2015, 29 x 42 inches, cut paper

Her work isn't just about cut paper. Laura understands the broader sense of creating a moment, a composition larger than where the edges of the paper restrain our experience. The lines undulate in magically growing ways, but if you look really closely, you can see it's human-made. Incredible. 

The opening is on Friday, March 4th and we're making it an early evening so we can hop across the street to celebrate the new season at First Fridays Ypsilanti Gala, where I'll be the keynote speaker for the evening. So mark your calendars and wish us lots of luck for a beautiful night, celebrating visual arts, culture and friends in Ypsilanti. 

 

1 Comment

Comment

Exhibiting, jurying and moderating at Pop•X

Our friend Omari Rush has been really busy over the last year. He's the Curator of Public Programs at the Ann Arbor Art Center and has been producing Pop•X, an arts festival of ten pop-up pavilions in Liberty Plaza. The public square is located at the corner of Division and Liberty Streets in downtown Ann Arbor and will be transformed starting next week, into a ephemeral playground of installations and happenings. 

We were lucky enough to take part on a few different levels. During the planning stages of the festival, I got to sit in on some preliminary meetings and then jury the exhibitors. And as it turns out, Nick is one of them. I won't give too much away, but his work will speak directly to the usual inhabitants of Liberty Plaza, a group of citizens that are often marginalized for various reasons, who will be displaced during the festival. You can see his pavilion and work on opening day, October 15th through October 24th. 

I'll moderate a talk, Workspace Design, on Monday, October 19th at the Ann Arbor District Library. I'm excited to sit down and talk to a group of innovative business owners in the area including Sava Lelcaj Farah: CEO, Savco Hospitality; Shane Pliska: CEO, Planterra; and Dug Song: CEO, Duo Security. It's a free event and fascinating topic so I'm certain this will draw a crowd. 

We hope to see you there! 

Comment

Comment

Front Street: Celebrating Student Photographers

Last night Nick and I opened what we felt was the most successful (and most fun) opening thus far. Front Street featured 24 photographs by three Ypsilanti Community School students: Berek Clouse of Estabrook Elementary School, Sydney Johnson of Washtenaw International Middle Academy, and Martell Johnson, a recent graduate of Ypsilanti Community High School. The theme was left open to interpretation of each student photographer and while we saw certain elements of Ypsilanti — the river, train tracks, buildings — composition and weight of importance differed greatly. 

Each student had worked with Nick previously and were chosen based on their affinity to the medium and potential. We talked to them about what to photograph and then spent collective hours curating each artist's eight photos, out of over 1,400 images. After titling and setting on a price, each was framed and installed.

Last night students presented their work and even "worked the room" a bit, interpreting and selling their works, moving half of the show out the door! 100% of sales went directly to the photographers. 

This entire project was made possible by Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and facilitated by Russ Olwell, Director of Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities at Eastern Michigan University. We want to thank all the families and friends which participated in this process and supported the students last night. They are truly exceptional and we see wonderful things happening for each budding photographer. Congratulations, Berek, Sydney and Martell!

Comment

35 Comments

Our intern extraordinaire: Ashanti

We are really happy to introduce you to Ashanti Johnson, our new intern at Chin-Azzaro! 

A couple months ago, I was making the rounds during our opening and I met a student that had ventured out on her own for the night. Ashanti struck me immediately with her knowledge, confidence (and compliments, who doesn't love hearing those?) Nick and I had coincidentally started talking about taking on an intern to learn the ropes of the studio: marketing, publicity, project timeline planning, general administrative tasks, areas we needed support as our business grew. 

After five minutes of conversation, I hired her on the spot. And to top it off, I found out she and Nick attended the same high school. It was meant to be!

Here's a short and sweet Q&A but please stop in and meet Ashanti during our next opening (which is NOT on a First Friday but rather Thursday, Sept 10th at 6 pm. Jessica Tenbusch and I will have an artist's conversation at 7 pm about her show Lacuna: Life Through Death).

CA: Who are your favorite artists, figures that inspire you? 

AJ: One of my biggest inspirations and favorite artists since I was very young has been Jean- Michel Basquiat. The themes of his art and how they inspire the viewer to see the deep truths of our society when it comes to race, class and knowledge through abstract figures and graffiti really influences a lot of my art. Some of my other favorite artist and inspirations include Frida Kahlo, Kehinde Wiley, Cree Summer and Kara Walker.

CA: What’s your major/minor and favorite classes? 

AJ: I major in graphic design and my favorite classes so far have been my 3D art classes. Although I work mostly in 2D, the classes have helped me see art in a whole new light, now I see art in literally everything.

CA: What do you do to de-stress?

AJ: Write, I've always enjoyed writing poems and short stories it helps me forget about all the stress and worries.

CA: What are your favorite things to do in Ypsi?

AJ: I love going to The Ugly Mug to grab a cup of coffee and visiting the local venues during First Fridays.

CA: What will the name of your gallery be? 

AJ: Artists On The Rise Gallery and Studios.... Or at least something like that , a place for aspiring artists to get mentored and display their art.

CA: The last word?

AJ: s an avid learner I'm so excited to intern with Chin-Azzaro and learn more things about the art world! I am so thankful to be apart of Ypsi's unique and rising art scene and I hope to make my own mark and someday help aspiring artists like myself. :)

 

 

35 Comments

Comment

Recap: First Fridays Ypsi with Jessica Krcmarik

This past Friday we opened Feast: A Visual Spread, a collection of illustrations from Detroit artist Jessica Krcmarik. We got to show off her new series of everyday objects and delicious foods. Titles include What He Likes (which was sold that evening) and What Kids Like. Cute, eh? We were also lucky enough to have her live drawing the entire night as people watched in awe of her handiwork. 

Our artist info sheet and price list. To receive one of your own,  please email us.

Our artist info sheet and price list. To receive one of your own, please email us.

Moments before opening, the studio flooded with light.

Moments before opening, the studio flooded with light.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful evening. 

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful evening. 

Delicious cookies from Terry Bakery

Delicious cookies from Terry Bakery

Jessica got right to work on a still life set up as people looked on curiously. 

Jessica got right to work on a still life set up as people looked on curiously. 

If you're interested in acquiring one of Jessica's illustrated gems, feel free to give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us to see photos. Stay tuned for details on our June artist, Megan Williamson, before we take our summer break from art openings. 

Comment

1 Comment

Stan Malinowski: Icons of Fashion opening

Update: These photos (courtesy Jacob Wieringa) and an article about First Fridays Ypsi can be found here

Last night was our first First Fridays Ypsilanti participation and we're thrilled with the attendance and energy of the evening. Our show, Stan Malinowski: Icons of Fashion highlighted the supermodels of the late '70s and '80s and introduced everyone to an era of glamorous images pre-Photoshop.

Yen talking to a patron about the local art scene.

Yen talking to a patron about the local art scene.

First Fridays Ypsi organizer, Kayj Michelle with a friend, checking out Janice Dicksinson.

First Fridays Ypsi organizer, Kayj Michelle with a friend, checking out Janice Dicksinson.

Best dressed couple of the night. 

Best dressed couple of the night. 

Yen with community advocate and activist, D'Real Graham. 

Yen with community advocate and activist, D'Real Graham. 

The main question of the evening was, "How did you get Stan to do a show here?" There's a lineage of Chicago photographers that have worked in the commercial realm and Stan is one of them. Nick (being fresh and naive to the city), approached him for advice. Stan graciously told him stories, shared his expertise and ultimately the two of them had an exhibit in 2008 named From Fantasy to Fashion. We're so proud and appreciative of Stan's collaboration, a piece of fashion history in our studio.

Artist Ilana Houten, regal in designer threads.

Artist Ilana Houten, regal in designer threads.

Nick speaks with artist and photographer, NIKI.

Nick speaks with artist and photographer, NIKI.

Graphic designer Anne-Marie Kim of Genui Forma checks out Iman. 

Graphic designer Anne-Marie Kim of Genui Forma checks out Iman. 

9 S. Washington St.

9 S. Washington St.

Artist Jermaine Dickerson converses with a patron. 

Artist Jermaine Dickerson converses with a patron. 

Thanks to everyone that joined us! the exhibit is up through the end of April and available to view by appointment. If you're interested in price list or details on photographs available to add to your collection, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us. 

1 Comment