Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Motor City Art Night: some words from a friend

This is something someone sent to me about the Motor City art night:

Motor City Brewing Works is the single best local art venue in Detroit right now. Who has recently helped more artists place more work than that little bar in the Traffic Jam’s parking lot? Measured in terms of number of pieces moved (not art sales dollars), Motor City must have had the best 2005 of any local art gallery of merit. I personally bought more work at Motor City than anywhere else this year. The prices are great and the money goes directly to the artists. Plus, you get to buy work in a salon atmosphere of artists and musicians gathered to see and discuss their peers’ latest work. The cash-and-carry aspect adds further satisfaction for buyers accustomed to instant gratification.

It’s the best not-so-secret-secret in the city.

They show everyone from big names (Scott Hocking, Mitch Cope, Matthew Blake) to the relatively unknown. Sometimes the work is bad and the night under attended, but frequently the place is packed and the work notable. Having a near-sold out Motor City show is a new benchmark for local artists.

Traditional galleries are headed the direction of appliance stores. Remember Fretter? ABC Warehouse is holding on, but not for long. Sears now, instead of just tools, sells everything from ladies underwear to baby strollers. For the most part, a store that sells a narrow category of goods won’t make it anymore. Lament all you want, art will go the same way. It will have to share floor space with clothes, shoes,furniture … even beer. The art won’t suffer any more than stoves do from being sold in the same place as CDs. We may be shocked and think it less “precious” in that environment, but it won’t be. It will just be presented differently — and we will adapt.
The galleries here are doing something wrong — Motor City and other alternative venues are doing everything right.

5 Comments:

Anonymous gemster said...

I love Motor City and the events there. But don't kid yourself that this is the "new" gallery. In every other city and forever -- it's been venues like this where art and artists begin, not end.

12:31 AM  
Blogger allison said...

if most of the galleries are not showing edgier art, or art for arts sake, save susanne hillberry, and as gemster said a venue for artists to start, does this mean that detroit is a decent place for artists to get started? and if so what galleries are here to keep artists going during that transitional period from emerging into professional?

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the afore mentioned person means by "galleries doing something wrong"? If trying to stay in business by selling what ever art they can is wrong, I am not sure what "right" is. Let's face it a commercial gallery is simply that. It is a commercial venture, and if you can't sell anything then you don't stay open. As an artist I do feel empathy for the galleries that do business in this area. The economy is depressed, and the main old school art buyers have long since filled their homes during the 80's and 90's economic boom with as much art as they can hold. Are we all going to end up selling our wares
at Costco? I don't think so. Let's face it you don't decide to become an artist because it's easy. You do it because it is probably the one thing in life that brings you the most joy. Art at Wallmart: probably.
Will I show there. Hell no.

1:42 PM  
Blogger chris weagel said...

Sears never just sold tools.

Pick up a Sears Roebuck Catalog compilation from the turn of the previous century to see eveything you mentioned and more.

11:50 PM  
Blogger detart said...

Would you hang a serious show in a smoky bar? At Costco or Walmart? Hudson's (for those of you old enough to remember what it was called before it became Marshall Fields, and soon, Macy's) used to sell Calders and Frankenthalers. (Those are big names, and were then, as well. Hocking and Blake big names? Respected, yes. Well known, no. Not even amongst serious collectors in Detroit!) Sears sells less now than they did a hundred years ago, when you could buy a corset, a plow, a wedding gown and a HOUSE from their mail-order catalog!!! Youth should not be confused with ignorance when so much information is easy to gather via the internet.

What's with the constant attacks on the area galleries? Most of these gallerists are not in this for the money, but for the love of art, and are feeding their families mac and cheese instead of filet mignon to keep on doing it. Whine, whine, whine. What's your beef, they won't give you a show? What happens when the Hilberry, Lemberg and District Arts galleries close because they are just plain tired of the sacrifices and the whining? (Oh yeah, District Arts is closing. Who's next?) Then where will you be?

11:56 AM  

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