Monthly Archives: April 2011

The kids are alright – students get behind the scenes at the DIA

Oakland Community College students on a visit to the DIA's works on paper study room (c) Rob Kangas 2011

The DIA’s department of prints, drawings and photographs has seen a good amount of activity these past few months with visits from art and art history students who attend Detroit-area colleges and universities. Oakland Community College instructor Rob Kangas recently brought his class to the museum’s works on paper study room to view photographs from the DIA’s collection. Rob has been working with the museum’s photo collection for nearly twenty years to teach his students about the history of photography and give them a rare opportunity to study a variety of photographic media first hand. They can see everything from 19th-century daguerreotypes to traditional black-and-white photographs and more recent digitally output prints. The photograph on the table seen above is by New York street photographer Weegee, but contemporary work was also on view and several students took the time to study an oversize photograph by Andrew Moore as seen below.

Students study an oversize photo in the DIA's works on paper study room (c) Rob Kangas

The experience is always memorable for his students – and for some it is the first time they actually step foot into the DIA!

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Around Town and@the DIA – ART X Detroit, Rust Belt to Artist Belt and Detroit Revealed exhibition announced at the DIA

Southeast from Roof, Michigan Central, 2009, Scott Hocking © Scott Hocking, 2011

Recent photographs of Detroit will be the subject of an exhibition to open October 16, 2011, in the Albert and Peggy De Salle Gallery of Photography at the DIA. Featuring the work of Detroit-based and international artists, Detroit Revealed: Photographs 2000-2010 examines the challenges and dramatic visual transformation that came to characterize the city in the first decade of a new century and millennium that mark the post-industrial era of Detroit. Related programming is in the works and soon to be announced. In addition to photographs, the exhibition will feature video work by Dawoud Bey and Ari Marcopoulos.

Two artists representing a new generation of photography in Detroit –  Scott Hocking and 2009 Kresge fellow Corine Vermeulen – will contribute their vision of the city to Detroit Revealed. The two artists will also take part in upcoming city-wide ART X Detroit events this week – Corine’s photographs will be on view at MOCAD with other Kresge grantees in the ART X Detroit exhibition opening Wednesday, April 6. And Scott recently opened a solo exhibition at Hamtramck’s Public Pool and will join the panel discussion The Art of the Commons: A Discussion About Contemporary Art in Detroit” at an ART X Detroit related event to take place at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) on Friday, April 8 at 6 p.m.

Other goings on around town will prove to be a full slate of art-related events this week including the first ever local conference devoted to creative communities and urban development and renewal in Detroit and elsewhere. Hosted by my alma mater, the College for Creative Studies, the Rust Belt to Artists Belt conference will feature a line up of local and national influential voices on city development and the role of artists. If you are looking to hear a photographer’s perspective, check out Minneapolis-based artist Wing Young Huie who will contribute to the April 7 panel “Proving Ground Experiments in and with the Public Realm, and their relationship to the post-industrial environment.”

ART X Detroit events from April 6-10 feature city wide performances, discussions and exhibitions featuring appearances by recent Kresge Foundation fellows at museums, colleges and other sites around town.  Artists, writers and performers will be on hand to present their work and discuss their relationship to Detroit as an environment for creativity.

Of particular note, and for those interested in photographs of Detroit, is a Saturday, April 9 panel discussion entitled Chronicling a City in Change. Moderator and Team Detroit mogul Toby Barlow will join forces with local photographers and Detroit’s most respected art critic Vince Carducci (I may be partial to Vince knowing he regularly visits photo exhibitions at the DIA with his CCS students!). One notable young photographer Sean Doer will be on hand as well – if you don’t know Sean, his work graces the pages of a recent publication Lost Detroit.

The DIA will get in on the Art X Detroit action this Saturday, April 9, with a full day of events devoted to the pursuits of Kresge fellows. One of many highlights is a program with nationally acclaimed writer Luis Aguilar on Saturday evening when he presents The Troublemakers: The True, Epic Story of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Depression Detroit, with readings, historic images and original music composed and performed by Jessica Hernandez.

Going on as well this Saturday, in what may well be the big photo event of the spring, is the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography (DCCP) exhibition Artists Choice: Photographic Works by Michigan Artists which will open in their new digs at the Russell Industrial Center. DCCP Founding Director Kyohei Abe mentioned the current space is temporary until renovations are complete on another space at the Russell. Kyohei will be present as well at the DIA for the upcoming panel discussion Perspectives on Photography – Friday, May 20 at 7 p.m.