Michelle Andonian, Andy Warhol in Detroit, 1985 (printed 2008); ink jet print. Gift of Michelle Andonian in honor of Joy Hakansen Colby, © Michelle Andonian.
In November 1985, Andy Warhol traveled from New York to Detroit promoting his new publication America with a scheduled stop at the DIA for a special book signing. Warhol took time for an interview with Colby and staff photographer Michelle Andonian joined them along with Warhol’s assistant Christopher Makos. The group had breakfast on the top floor restaurant of the Ponchatrain Hotel where Warhol took in the view of the city (he later remarked in his diary that Detroit was so sprawling, it reminded him of Los Angeles).
At one point in the conversation, Warhol referred to Detroit’s most recognizable riverfront architecture as “that interesting sculpture over there.” Taking a cue from the world’s most famous pop artist, Andonian suggested a quick portrait with the so-called “sculpture” – the Detroit Renaissance Center – as a backdrop, and Warhol agreed. The photograph is a recent gift from the artist to the DIA’s permanent collection and currently is on view in the exhibition In the Company of Artists.
This portrait along with over 90 others will be on view in the exhibition through February 15, 2009.
In closing out my fourteenth year here at the DIA, I was most excited in 2008 to see the renovation and reopening of the Albert and Peggy de Salle Gallery of Photography on July 9, 2008. The DIA was fortunate to have for the gallery’s inaugural exhibition Kenro Izu’s Sacred Places. Organized by the Peabody Essex Museum from The Lane Collection in Boston, over 50 platinum prints were on view featuring mostly ancient sites in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
Visitors viewing photographs by Kenro Izu in the exhibition Sacred Places at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 2008, photograph by Eric Wheeler for the DIA
Students viewing photographs of Tibet by Kenro Izu in the exhibition Sacred Places, 2008, photograph by Eric Wheeler for the DIA
The gallery saw a good amount of traffic over our summer months and into the fall, but two highlights of this exhibition were Kenro’s lecture to a standing-room only audience in early September as well as our first-ever online photo competition (see detroitssacredplaces.wordpress.com and flickr.com/groups/detroitssacredplaces/pool for details) that saw over eighty entries by primarily Detroit-area photographers featuring their imagery of Detroit’s “sacred places.”
The DIA showed its first permanent collection photo exhibition in seven years when In the Company of Artists opened on November 19 (it will be on view through February 15, 2009). As with most permanent collection exhibitions, new acquistions are on view for the first time in this exhibition. The department of prints, drawings and photographs received several gifts from some very generous donors in the Detroit area. Of particular note is a 19th-century albumen print showing painter James MacNeill Whistler in his Paris studio around 1892. The photograph was donated by Detroit-area collectors Leonard and Jean Walle who also loaned a number of works to the exhibition from their collection of rare 19th-century photographic portraits.
Whistler in His Paris Studio at 106 Rue Notre Dame des Champs, 1892, by Dornac Studios (Paul Cardon)
In addition to works on view in the photo gallery throughout the second half of 2008, the DIA also installs rotations of contemporary photography in the Asian galleries as well as the contemporary art galleries and contemporary African American art galleries. Works by Toshio Shibata (on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, NYC), Abelardo Morell and Edward West currently are on view and new rotations occur about every three months.
The DIA hosted a number of photo-related programs including lectures by photographer and historian Deb Willis, Getty Museum associate curator Virginia Hecket on the schools of German Photography, and a film screening of Black, White and Gray and discussion panel celebrating the life and career of Sam Wagstaff (see metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=12875 for Glen Mannisto’s essay about the event).
The DIA is looking forward to 2009 upcoming exhibitions including Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky opening in late April and a related May 17 lecture with Karen Sinsheimer, exhibition organizer and curator of photographs at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. A January 22 lecture with artist Ari Marcopoulos is also scheduled at 7 p.m. in the DIA’s Lecture Hall.
Posted in Exhibitions, Lectures
Tagged Abelardo Morell, Ari Marcopoulos, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Edward West, James MacNeill Whistler, Jeffrey Gusky, Karen Sinsheimer, Kenro Izu, photograph exhibitions, Photography, Roman Vishniac, Sam Wagstaff, Toshio Shibata