So I’ve survived my first Detroit January. Although the sub-zero temperatures, lots of snow and ice, as well as the onslaught of show proposals and teaching applications, in addition to art-making, have kept me inside, I have occasionally left my apartment when I didn’t absolutely have to. One of these such occasions marked my first visit to the Cranbrook Museum for the opening of Mixed Signals: Artists consider Masculinity in Sports, a group show including the likes of Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Kurt Kauper, Collier Schorr, etc. Although I was able to get into the opening for free (“We are just happy you’re here!”) the 30 minute drive from Detroit wasn’t really worth the visit. For the most part, the show consisted of second-rate work by first-rate artists. I was disappointed by Mark Bradford’s (soccer) balls and sad to see that Kurt Kauper’s preliminary drawings for his large paintings were gridded and sterile. Some of the photography and videos were exceptional, but did not necessarily offer new information when seen in person.
Also at Cranbrook is Mark Newport: Superheroes In Action. Newport, who is Head of the Fiber Department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, knits giant superhero costumes. This exhibition was more engaging and unexpected than the first, my only complaint being that a more performative element to the show could have added even more interest.
Both shows run until March 29.
Also in Detroit this month (opening tonight!) is the 10th anniversary of the (in)famous Dirty Show at Bert’s Warehouse Theater in Eastern Market. The show is marketed as being an alternative to the typical Valentines Day date, its premise being to “promote, publish and propagate erotic art in all forms”. The show includes the work of fellow AU grad Amy Misurelli Sorensen as well as erotic performances, lots of nakedness and other “treats for your eyes.”
If you happen to be in Brooklyn instead of Detroit on Valentine’s Day (and if you are, I am admittedly jealous) make sure to check out The Wassaic Project’s I Heart Art benefit at Work Gallery. Brian Barr, who will also have work in the 2009 Windsor Biennial in April (more to come on this later!), has two lovely Dear Tom drawings in the show. In addition to Brian’s drawings, the show consists of small work by other emerging and mid-career artists such as Isca Greenfield-Sanders and Steve Powers.
And finally, in nearby Chicago, 200 Lincolns opens on Friday the 13th at the Chicago Art Department in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. Brian and I each have a drawing in the show, so if you are spending your Valentine’s in Chicago (or any time before February 27th) stop by to see the show.