|Art & Opportunity|
By Ann Gordon
Jul 27, 2005, 23:39
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Art & Opportunity:
A Detroit Discussion
How do you get Detroiters excited about art? Enter Mitch Cope and Clint Snider to the scene: Two young, active, hardworking artist/curators who are willing to help stand up for the Detroit art community and make fresh, stirring ideas happen. They spoke with Real Detroit about the current state of emerging art in Detroit.
Real Detroit: How do you view the Detroit art scene? Do you think there are opportunities out there?
Mitch Cope: Depends on how you define opportunities I guess. Having shows at the Whitney and just making the best work you can possibly make are two different things.
Clint Snider: I think if you're enjoying making work any success that comes with it is a privilege.
RD: I think people place blame on Detroit.
MC: It's really easy to see the negative in Detroit. You forget the fact that there's a lot of positive things and unique things. For instance the atmosphere in Detroit, the communities in Detroit, and the ability to do work that you can't do in other cities. More environmental work, more interactive work. There's more space to do things. You can open a gallery in Detroit with hardly any budget. There's a lot things you can do in Detroit that you literally can
t do in other cities. I realized it was so easy to network in this city. You just know a few key people and you're everywhere. You keep them informed and everyone will be informed. You put a little effort in the marketing and everyone knows.
RD: Would you blame the economy? Collectors buying outside of Detroit? Lack of art writing? Galleries not supporting emerging artists?
MC: Probably a little bit of all that " In order to get an art economy going you need a certain momentum other than a few hot galleries Galleries pop up and go away. You need to gain [collectors'] trust.
RD: Do you think galleries are playing it safe by only showing established artists?
RD: Clint, you are co-curating the show at Susanne Hillberry.
CS: Susanne doesn't just show established people. A lot of the people that Susanne shows were emerging artists when she started out and she just maintained friendships and watched them grow. She has one of the more healthy attitudes. I think she respects the artist first and then with that, the art that they�re making. She's very willing to move in new directions with the artists.
MC: She's gone a step further and had young artists and curators like myself and Clint actually curate the shows.
RD: Do you think some artists are intimidated approaching galleries?
MC: You really have to put the effort forward to get over your fear of rejection. You�re going to get rejected no matter where you go. In New York it's much worse.
CS: I spent a weekend just doing that: Going to places, talking to people, sending things. I had a pack of 25 things I never heard from a single person. Not one.
RD: I attended the talks for the starting of a contemporary museum in Detroit. Is this something that is still in the works or you�re involved with?
MC: It's still in the works.
RD: Are they just waiting for funding and for people to back it?
MC: It's not so much that they�re waiting for funding even though they are; they're waiting for support. There's a lot of money sitting there waiting to come forth from certain people. They're waiting because they want a larger community, which I think is smart.
RD: Do you think there�s a thing with it being in competition with the DIA?
CS: That�s the weird thing about Detroit. You can�t imagine that in another city; like in Chicago, two major [art museums] battling it out. If anything it'''just going to bring in more outside people. If any of those people are for the art in the first place they�re going to want more of it.
RD: Both of you being artists and curators, do you feel frustration with this city?
RD: So what do you do then?
CS: That's why in some respects I wanted to curate a show. The things that you look around and see and make sense to you might not make the same sense to other people. Without me acting it might not get done. So that's a little bit of what curating a show was: Bringing some people together that I've never seen together and maybe should be together.
MC: That was one of my original goals with the Tangent Gallery and the "M.O.R.E." show. You have to do it. You have to take the initiative and try to change things. That's what I like about Detroit. The important thing is that I think to survive in Detroit you have to get out of Detroit.
RD: Do you have to leave Detroit for a period to emerge as an artist?
MC: I think you have to see the outside world. If you're stuck in Detroit doing your thing I think you'll become bitter or naive. You have to get out to see how the world works and see that Detroit isn�t so bad. There's positives to Detroit.
RD: Why stay in Detroit?
MC: You can create your own community; you can create your own gallery.
CS: You have to find your own definition of what is art and how you define it in the first place. Staying here is kind of about finding that � if I believe in art its worth staying here to make.
RD: How do you get people to care about Detroit art?
MC: You start having shows, you start doing events and over time people will start noticing. | RDW
-Graduated CCS, '95
-MFA from Washington State Univ., '99
-Co-Founder/Director Tangent Gallery
-Curator: Detroit section, "Shrinking Cities," (Berlin)
-Graduated CCS, �98
-Exhibited at: DIA, Artcite & Artscene (Windsor), "Shrinking Cities" (Berlin)
-Instructor: CCS, BBAC
Ann runs detroitartsblog.com
Summer Pack II Opening Reception July 29 Susanne Hilberry Gallery