Thursday, March 25, 2010

The exhibition, “I don’t believe in art. I believe in artists” is curated by 2009 Kresge Artist Fellow Cedric Tai (Detroit). Tai was awarded the opportunity to curate a show after competing in a curatorial program at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID). The program required applicants to organize a prototype exhibition... and install it in two days. The artists in Tai’s prototype show, Adrian Hatfield (Ferndale), Megan Heeres (Detroit), Justin Marshall (Hamtramck), Isaac Richard (East Detroit), Janine Surma (Hamtramck) and Ian Swanson (St. Claire Shores) were invited to make work in collaborating with the young curator during the creation and installation process. “Cedric wanted us to create hybrid works in a holistic play of action and reaction between him and the artists. The process is unique and innovative,” says participating artist Megan Heeres. According to the curator, the show, with its title taken from a quote by Marcel Duchamp, is meant to reflect the influx nature of how artists conceive new bodies of work. “These six artists were handpicked for their diversity of aesthetics, willingness to collaborate and ability to address a unique space with their work,” says Tai.

The exhibition is the first for the newly formed Whitdel Arts (located in the gallery formerly known as Ladybug Gallery). There is an opening reception to meet the artists and curator on Saturday, April 24th from 6 – 11 p.m. The exhibit runs through May 22nd, 2010. Gallery hours are 12pm to 4pm on Saturdays or by appointment.Contact or (313) 899-2243 (313) 899-2243 ext 151 for more information. To learn more about the artists and their work go to:

On May 8th at 6pm there will be an artist walkthrough of the exhibition where visitors will learn about the artists, their work and the processes used to create the exhibition. An exhibition catalog with contributing writers Sarah Turner and Mary Fortuna will be released during the artist walkthrough on May 8th. The exhibition and artist walkthrough are free and open to the public.

During the opening reception, visitors will have an opportunity to cast their vote for the winner of the Whitdel Arts logo design competition. Anyone can enter the competition. Submissions are due by April 17th and the guidelines are at:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Please take a moment to visit this website for the Detroit based art collective, GOD CLUB.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alex Chilton, Rock Musician, Dies

Alex Chilton of the rock band Big Star performed at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple last November. Chad Batka for The New York Times Alex Chilton of the rock band Big Star performed at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple last November.

Alex Chilton, the mercurial if influential rock musician, whose work spanned an eclectic gamut from the soul songs of the Box Tops to the multiple incarnations of his pop band Big Star, has died, The Commercial Appeal of Memphis reported. He was 59. The cause of death is believed to have been a heart attack.

The Commercial Appeal said that Mr. Chilton, who lived in New Orleans, had recently been complaining of health problems, and was taken on Wednesday by paramedics to an emergency room in New Orleans where he was pronounced dead. His death was confirmed to the Commercial Appeal by Jody Stephens, his longtime band mate in Big Star. The group was scheduled to perform on Saturday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin.

Mr. Chilton, who grew up in Memphis, was just 16 years old when the Box Tops, in which he sang and played guitar, had a No. 1 hit with “The Letter” in 1967. When that group broke up in 1970, Mr. Chilton formed Big Star with Mr. Stephens, a drummer, and the musicians Chris Bell and Andy Hummel. The band’s first album, “#1 Record,” in 1972, did not come close to fulfilling the commercial promise of its title, nor did the followup releases “Radio City” and “Third/Sister Lovers.” But their music – gentle and introspective songs like “The Ballad of El Goodo” and “September Gurls,” and exuberant anthems like “In the Street” – had a profound impact on generations of pop and indie acts that followed.

Perhaps the surest measure of the tug that Mr. Chilton exerted on subsequent artists can be found in the lyrics of the Replacements – another malleable rock act that moved more hearts than retail units – who sang in their song “Alex Chilton”: “Children by the million / Sing for Alex Chilton / When he comes ’round / They sing, ‘I’m in love / What’s that song? / I’m in love with that song.’”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chido Johnson’s “Let’s Talk About Love, Baby”

The Art of the Artist’s Book at the Oakland University Art Gallery through April 4, 2010
Valentine’s Day Event! Special informal talk with collaborating artists, Sunday, Feb. 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.

alt textFahrenheit 450 (Homage to Bradbury and Orwell), 2000-2010

Not one of those touchy-feely people? Don’t like to talk about love? Well, JUST GO READ A BOOK. Seriously! Read one of the books designed and made by an artist in Chido Johnson’s traveling project/installation, “Let’s Talk About Love, Baby.”

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Johnson spent his youth reading whatever he could get his hands on. As fate would have it, the rural mission small library had an abundance of romance novels. At the time the project was conceived Johnson was living and teaching in Sweden, he came to the US at a time when love was not in the air. Politics du jour were focused on the tense situation in the Gaza Strip. Johnson responded strongly to how society diminished the individuals affected by the violence by referring to them as “these people.”

Thinking about our innate ability to homogenize individuals, Johnson turned to art, and the book project specifically, to root us back into experiencing love, life and humanity directly by living rather than being fed information off a computer screen. Picking up one of the books from the beautifully crafted wooden shelves made by Johnson himself, you are swept into the precious imaginings of artists’ creations from around the world, using cassettes, tape recorders, French literature, sculpture, painting, silversmith, collage, photography and more. We’re taken on a journey into the heart and soul that leads us to what Johnson calls the “in-between space where pain and pleasure exist simultaneously … a space the word love can only begin to describe.”

Johnson’s vision is to someday have 1,000 uniquely made books, a library of love. The website created for the artists who participate in the project is an artistic labor of love. Visit http://www.letstalkaboutlovebaby. He was also chosen to be part of a conference on February 13th with “Artists” Book Reading, at the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at the CAA Conference in Chicago,

Johnson’s project is part of a larger show at the Oakland University Art Gallery, The Art of the Artist’s Book, works chosen lovingly by curator Dick Goody. In the exhibition’s beautifully crafted fold-out catalogue, Goody writes articulately about artists’ books:
“Walter Benjamin implied that only little-known, little-seen works of art…retain this pejoratively perceived aura. Artist’s books are therefore problematic in the sense that they evade such mass appeal…Their conversion into the realm of mass culture is almost impossible, which makes this exhibition all that more valuable; it is an exploration into the realm of intrinsically exclusive and private material.”

Participating artists range from local artists Lynne Avadenka, Ed Fraga, Susan Goethel Campbell and Dennis Jones to internationally renowned artists like Kiki Smith, Kara Walker, Mathew Barney and Christian Boltanski.

The breadth of work in the show is overwhelming, plan to take your time going through this exhibit. Like a good book you will not want to put it down.