Thursday, March 16, 2006

Jan van der Marck

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I have to be honest. Whenever jef has a show over at MONA in Pontiac I am a little suspicious to as if it is his work or someone elses. Well, last night in talking to someone at motor city art night I was corrected about the show at MIA (the new space connected to MONA that john cynar is running). I read that it was curated by jan van der marck and the first thing that came to mind was that he was another character of jef because I didn't know about a guest curator when I submitted. Well...anyways I was wrong! He is the past head curator of the DIA! Here is an interview with him to check out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what makes you think this guy is any different?! jan van der marck? i don't believe anything i find on the web. this guy is make-believe. i could make up fake credentials and a bogus interview too.

borgeau created jan de groot as well - an artist that "killed" himself. i came across this story about a year ago in an irish art zine:

try googling mona's "taki murakishi" and you'll find three pages of links to a japanese artist that never existed: from absolute arts to some asian papers.

same with: stig eklund. even greg wittkopf fell for that one.

10:12 AM  
Blogger art blogs are fun said...

hummmm...can anyone else spread some knowledge on this subject?

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jan VanDerMarck is a wonderful person, great scholar, and exemplary curator. During his tenure at the DIA they put together the exhibition INTERVENTIONS in 1995. This exhibit was notable because it was the first one to have a cd/rom as a catalog.
Jan made it his business to get out into the community and see what was going on. INTERVENTIONS was designed so that Michigan artists would see their works within the context of the museum collection at large. I wrote a proposal describing the way in which James Whistler NOCTURNE IN BLACK AND GOLD was a major influence on my paintings based on tornado imagery. I was chosen for the exhibition and my work hung in the 19th century American Painting galleries, right next to Whistler.
There were 45 Michigan artists in this show, and the catalog can still be seen online on Stephen Goodfellow's web site.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the site of INTERVENTIONS

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jan VanDerMarck came to a group show that I was a part of in the Wayne County Building in 1989. I had a number of very large encaustic constructions on display. We walked around through the whole show; I was thrilled that the head curator of the DIA had taken the time to see our show. When we stopped in front of one piece, he asked me to talk about it; I told him it was a monument to my parents, who had both died within a 4 month period in 1987. He asked me if I would consent to have this work be a part of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.
When the work was installed, Jan said to me, "Now you are in the same collection with Vincent VanGogh".

The next year, 1990, I was chosen to be an exhibitor in the Ongoing Michigan Artists Program [OMAP]. The exhibition was titled SIGNATURE IMAGES and it was a two person show with Cass Corridor artist Michael Luchs, who had been an idol of mine when I was a WSU art student. The piece the DIA purchased from me MONUMENT, was in this exhibition along with a lot of my other Tornado paintings and dreadlocked self portrait drawings. Jan wrote the catalog essay that linked the two exhibitors historically within the context of Detroit art and the general contemporary art scene.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using a fake name is Jef's media. It's just as legitimate as any other artist's media. I'm sure that a bunch of people thought that the curator was Jef (especially since the name was so Dutchie), but Jan van der Marck is quite a well-known name in Detroit, he's certainly not an unknown. Younger artist's may not have heard of him so this may serve as a fine introduction.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont know....i though i have seen his face before....

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, what is this supposed to signify? Can you explain, please??

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a joke for god's sake...jesus. I wet my pants it was so funny.
Sometimes when you cry wolf with made up fake people so many times, its hard to take it seriously when a REAL person is involved. Personally i would have picked names like, Heywood Jablowme, Howie Feltersnatch, Phil McCrackin or even the rarer Herb Utsmells.

Everything is cool...

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh. ha ha.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

topher, sometimes you're just a dumb ass. taking one of the few people who've done something for the detroit art community and then humiliate them. that's a sad commentary on your sense of humor. or lack of it.
especially after what gilda told us.
did you bother to read the interview.
dumb ass!

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first time I met Jan van der Marck he was trolling the galleries in the area. He had visited the gallery my work was exhibiting in, like Gilda, and decided to buy it for the DIA.

Jan did this on a regular basis when he was chief curator of the DIA. He did the circuit each new opening. He was the last such curator to involve himself/herself in the art scene here. And he was important to the Michigan Artist Project at the DIA as well.

As it turned out, he bought one by Stephen Magsig at the gallery down the street.

He made it a point to know the names of the Detroit artists and more, if he admired them especially. Such as Gilda.

Wasn't funny, what you did.

10:30 PM  
Blogger John Cynar said...

Well Mister Topher very insulting! Jan juried this exhibit for free because he cares to try to help make things happen here. Jef does not get paid for MONA and I do not get paid to run MIA for our time either. I am proud to call Jan van der Marck a very good friend. Maybe you should do some home work before spouting off your mouth or wetting your pants. Especially after Ann posted information. Thank you Gilda for your insight on Jan. It is so sad that Jan is so repected around the world but not in his hometown of Detroit.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

part of the problem with the art community here is they don't know their own history and so, don't know what's real or not.

jan van der marck was the founding director of the mca in chicago in 1967, putting chicago on the art map. he went on to found the miami museum, curated at the walker, then took on the job as chief curator of the dia.

he brought all the energy from these previous jobs to his dia post. he was the last bright spot from that direction.

back to my original point: without a sense of art history in detroit (all we've got is the cass corridor group to dust off -- which only came to prominence through efforts of the dia's sam wagstaff) we only repeat ourselves, or cannot create any self-worth or esteem as an art community. and end up making those who stood up for our lot a lost memory (within 6 years for jan). this place is a veritable black hole for all of us until we get our priorities straight. the business of art and the pride we deserve for our art and our patrons, past and present. and to build on all of that. amen

what topher did to jan was
an ignorant attempt
at defamation of an unsung hero.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The underlying nature of this whole thread has me worried. Jef, you are absolutely right when you state that this arts community doesnt know its own history.....kind of like the fact that some people can list the kings of England back to William the Conqueror but cant name the last 10 Presidents of the United States.

Knowing the history of our arts community is just as important, if not more so, than studying the history of the Abstract Expressionists and what ever else was going on in the East Coast. This can easily be accomplished by asking questions of those who where active in the 60's, 70's, 80's.....any artist you see around with more than a few grey hairs on their head. There was a whole passel of them UNDER ONE ROOF last weekend at the Cass Cafe for the Detroit All-Stars Of Art show....Cass Corridor artists, members of the NO-BRAND art group, Willis Gallery artists and directors [I directed it in 83-84], are exhibiting in this group. A treasure trove of information and gossip about those days.

I guess I am part of the problem....every Fall I teach a class at CCS called CONTEMPORARY ART HISTORY, but because the subject is so broad and rich I havent had time to devote to more indigenous art workers. I am going to change my syllabus to highlight the history of our art world more. The time frame covered in my class is roughly 1980 to the present, but there is sufficient 'wiggle room' to refer to previous decades as they influenced the subsequent years.

To be sure, an entire class should be devoted to this. When I think about all of the factions, groups, exhibitions, galleries come and gone, artists come and gone, news, gossip, successes, failures, schools, personages that made a difference, etc etc etc., it reminds me just how rich and diverse our community is.

A long time ago, when I was a young student artist, I met a curator/jazz expert/arts supporter extroardinaire named Edsel Reid. He told me that every African American artist he knew had an archive, because these artists were so little valued and recorded in the early days that they had to do it for themselves. He and his artist/wife, Shirley Woodson, had such an archive, and told me that when they first heard of me they started a file on me. I was amazed that they did this! But then I started saving things too. First just for my own resume, but then also on other artists because they were just so damn interesting.

I implore every young artist out there who hasnt already done so to start asking questions about what went on. Look at the Avalon Bakery and try to imagine the years of exhibitions that took place there as the Willis Gallery. Google KICK OUT THE JAMS, or Ellen Phelen, Nancy Mitchnick, Macarthur Binion, Gordon Newton, Keith Aoki, Mary Jane Jacob, Jay Belloli, Sam Wagstaff, Michael Luchs, John Egner, James Lee Byars, Robert Sestok, Sybil Oshinsky, and Jan Van Der Marck and see what you get.

7:38 AM  
Blogger John Azoni said...

quick change of topic:

Was the show even "juried"? because it seems like everyone that submitted work got in. Maybe I'm wrong, just curious.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know several people that didn't make the cut. I don't wanna name names though...

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow…whether the guy is real or not is not the point. He is very real and very much alive. The issue here is when do we take seriously an organizations attempt at promoting art? Is Jan a true supporter of the arts…yes. Is Jan one of the most important people in the local art field today…yes. Is Jan really curating the event or is he being used for his name in an attempt to get him involved in some way against his will all for the sake of art? For all we know, he could be on vacation in Italy and not even know this exhibit exists. We know that Mona and the Pontiac galleries have had an ongoing fascination with fictional history and artists. Using Picasso’s name in association with a photo show is the latest example. But, one should not get so perturbed when the tables are turned. Jan has never really has had his photo posted on the Minneapolis St. Paul’s “this weeks prostitution arrest photo’s page” or even associated with acts of that type. Kind of like how Picasso never really had a camera that was found after his death. I think this outrage is equal to the outrage felt when one realizes they have been punked’. It’s the type of response you have to expect when you create elaborate circumstances in an effort to question the public’s perception of art. What are we to take seriously when we have been burnt before?
What I did was very rude, yes. But that’s what you have to expect when you play with the perceptions of the public. My intentions were honest, if not understood.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what happens at MIA has nothing to do with jef bourgeau, but john cynar. john is its director and has worked hard to have this show come together. jan, as juror, has too.

i helped john hang the show. and these are real artists -- in it. and good artists. and local artists. topher questions them as well by his hijinks.

now is topher saying john cynar isn't real and should have his picture posted as a rapist. is it topher's job to tell us what to believe and not believe about our community. is his form of playing "bourgeau" a constructive critique of our art world?!

anyway. making up artists has nothing to do with the MIA.

yet we have topher using this imagined association with bourgeau as an excuse to make up rap-sheets for real people, people who stand up and support artists just like this low-life. there should be rap-sheets for people like topher, "artists" whose intent is to attack and pull down our art community. we have a long history of them as it is.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Pass the buck! You have never been burned. It is out there! MIA was opened to help artists in a very difficult arena to be taken seriously. Find it interesting that you are willing to show your work in the show and have little to say regarding a person who juried you in. I would say come pick up your work., but I will not step down to your level. What did you learn at Wayne. Your judgment was stupid but your ignorance continues. You talk the talk all over the bog and forum. You do not know anything or have any respect for the art community. Its all about me(again). You must have learned that well from Wayne State! Pass the buck on Jef. Wrong person ! Look in the mirror. Jef and other people have helped MONA Try to make something happen in Detroit. For the Artists. Again this is MIA not MONA and if you want to take it up with me I am real! You want to challenge my credentials lets do it. I have spent more then 18 years trying hard to make things happen in this town. I am ready when you are to step up to the plate!

John Cynar

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MIA is there, it is real, it is positive. I am proud to say I was juried into one of their first shows, the one that took place in the old Rite Aid space in Downtown Detroit. The images from the show are online as we speak, as archive.

I dont understand the anger at MONA's forays into visual and artistic dialogues. The notion of Picasso's Camera intrigued me in much the same way as Meret Oppenheim's Teacup or David Hammon's sidewalk sale of various sized Snowballs.

Also take a look at the late James Lee Byars, a master at utilizing varied identities and devices as a way to stimulate the audience into discourse.

I might say that Byars, who studied at WSU back in the day [wayyy before i was there], had to leave this area to find an 'appropriate' audience.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know about this Cooper Holoroski character? Is this a ficticious creation of Cooper Holoweski, or just a simple mis-spelling?

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Byars was one of the most amazing artists in the last few decades. When he died in Egypt in 1997, I surveyed about a dozen Detroit artists who were his peers - only one remembered him vaguely from Wayne -- thinking he'd been a trouble-maker.

Some key events in the history of Chicago's MCA reflect on van der Marck, Byars and the museum's strong support of local artists (why not here?!):

1967: In October, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) opens its doors to the public in a newly renovated one-story building at 237 East Ontario Street that had been built as a bakery and for a time had served as the corporate offices of Playboy Enterprises. The MCA is founded as a kunsthalle, and Jan van der Marck is the first director. His premiere exhibitions are Pictures To Be Read/Poetry To Be Seen and Claes Oldenburg: Projects for Monuments. He also presents Dan Flavin: Pink and Gold, the artist's first solo museum exhibition.

1973: Jan van der Marck presents a memorial exhibition of the work of Eva Hesse, before other institutions have recognized her importance.

1996: The new MCA building opens, hosting a large sculpture of James Lee Byars as visitors first enter the museum. The November exhibition is Art in Chicago, 1945-1995, celebrating five decades of Chicago's rich artistic legacy. (When has Detroit ever gotten such a survey!)

2002: Local artists are selected to participate in the MCA's new 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work monthly exhibition series highlighting emerging Chicago artists. (Detroit still waiting.)

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My head is spinning. Are you guys for real? You really didn't know who Jan was? It hasn't been that long since he was at the DIA, he frequently attends openings all over town, has written a great deal, etc., etc. What are they teaching you? What knowledge are you looking for on your own? I guess it's easy to complain about what has and hasn't happened in Detroit when you have absolutely no idea.....

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

attention condescending you old-timers:

To those of you over 40 who love to run around saying, "you kids don't know this and this?!?! what?!?! what are they teaching you anymore? you are lazy and don't try to learn your city's contemporary art history. geez, you really should know these things. how can you now know them? you have no idea about anything."


for you relics, this stuff isn't history you had to do anything to learn, it's stuff that happened during your lifetimes. all you had to do to know about it was have a pulse and memory.

we, the young ones, have to work to find out about this past. as gilda said, they don't teach it. so, no, we didn't learn it in school - because it wasn't offered. instead, we read books, explore the city and ASK QUESTIONS OF OLD PEOPLE. those are the ways we learn.

so, old jerks, stop being jerks when we don't know something and ask questions about the past. WE ARE TRYING TO LEARN. don't make us feel stupid for not knowing yet - help us.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I got up this morning thinking about this whole thread and woozy from vomiting my guts out all night from stomach flu. Started to compile this list of sites that outlined the beginning of Detroit's Cass Corridor art history as a foundation to add to my class when I teach it in the fall. Then I thought that it should start by being offered on this thread.

It is an awful lot to comprehend all at once, but save it for study later. As I was visiting these sites this morning I realized that there was so much more that could be added! Like the history of the Detroit Artists Market when it was in Harmonie Park for so long a time.....that big face on the side of the building was a commission given to young artist at that time, Kurt Novak....or the murals that were done in the early to mid 70's all over town by Lester Johnson, Al Loving, John Egner, Aris Koutrolis, Steve Faust, Bob Sestok; the Egner mural is the one on the side of the the Park Shelton, and is being covered over by their new parking structure. Al's mural on the First National building was sandblasted off, and many of the others fell by the wayside because the building owners didnt appreciate them.
And then there is the whole story of Mr James Duffy, possibly the best advocate for the arts! He supported the Cass Corridor artists by buying their works and installing them not only in his house, but by turning his pipe warehouse on West Jefferson into a veritable museum of art! If you can find a copy of the catalog KICK OUT THE JAMS:DETROIT'S CASS CORRIDOR there is a picture of a Gordon Newton sculpture in Duffy's Warehouse.
I have listed below a number of these websites. I hope they help illuminate our history. There is so much more, I will try to find more documents, sites, and personages to share.

Willis Tribe, Early Period - 1968-82? [includes pictures of Ellen Phelan, others]

Willis Tribe, Late Period - 1981-97?

Here is a list of the artists who showed at the Willis Gallery in the 1983-84 season when Gilda Snowden was director:

Willis Gallery 1984-85

Willis Gallery History 1992-1995 [on artist Matthew Hanna's website]

Intervening years between Early and Late Willis Galleries
Bastard Gallery No.1, 1978 Book of the Dead, 1980

"Shoestring Detroit" 1977 Artist Guild of Detroit first show

Artist Guild of Detroit 1975 - 1981?- Was Located on 2nd and Grand Blvd. -

Michigan Gallery Tribe, 1971 - 97

The "Mugs" at Michigan Gallery

Common Ground I & 2, 1962? - 1985? Artist Studio in the Corridor

They worked at Alvin's - 1971-'97

Cass corridor From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Avalon Bakery 1995? - present

Forsythe Studios, 1970? - 1980? Artist Studios

Farwell Studios 1974 - 77? Artists in the Farwell Building [Capitol Park]

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should add that the "tribes" sites I listed are the brainchild and work of artist Stephen Goodfellow, who a long time ago felt that it was important to preserve this history.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

history is happening all the time. it isn't just about ten or twenty years ago. it isn't just for old farts. but last year, or five years ago. or even now. or what's happening with detroit artists who've left michigan and are out creating their own history - now.

it's all the stuff happening in our art world, at the moment as well as before, those lives and work that we're not aware of and should be -- to create a real sense of identity and place.

the full picture.

so, the MONA is compiling the Detroit Codex: A Living History of Detroit Artists.

If you have an artist to nominate and some information on him/her, please pass it along. We will consider all serious suggestions.

This isn't about friends or self-promotion, but truly important contributions by such artists to the Detroit art scene and beyond, in an effort to document and preserve their contributions in some small way.



Jef Bourgeau
@ the MONA

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to do my part to create a real sense of identity and place. I would like to nominate:
Jane Speaks
Her undying devotion to the detroit art world made it what is is today.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim is so right! Old Fartists need to practice what they preach. I went to CCS and Wayne and herd all that dogma. Felt kept and put down. Have no desire to stay here so the history and the put downs don’t matter. My work speaks for itself and is HOT. Selling my work to private collectors so what’s the big deal. Thanks for speaking up for us young artists. Was it Logan’s Run that killed everyone over forty? Sorry too young to remember that. Sure glad not to repeat that one. Why not try talking about art? Not Fooling anyone! Ann please bring Mike back at least he had something interesting to say even though it was only about himself and was kind of sexy..

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's kill anyone who uses logan's run as a reference for anything.

yuck. this guy makes me puke.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t think anyone has the right to be so upset with the “old Farts” or what ever they called them,… at least they have made a REAL devotion to the arts and not just their own ego bound consciousness!! There are good people out there trying to help…. . Gilda and the rest of them at least have devoted their lives to helping the arts and expanding the impact of the Detroit artist… even during some of the hardest times for the art scene. “Gilda I love you”
Knowing the history of this art community is the foundation that we all stand on and we should all do our part to give them the respect and attention they disserve. I just wish that we could work together to take back some attention from this media smothered world and focus peoples attention back to real beauty…. and or spotlights some of the problems that our world faces…like war…. industrial and commercial slavery …. Or the unsustainable lifestyle that is promoted by the powers that be…. .. . or we could stand back and shit on everything that we don’t like… change nothing… and be apart of that ever expanding depression that we all know too well. But who am I to say…right?

11:33 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Voss said...

Thanks, Gilda, for posting all the links to learn about Detroit art history. That's helpful to people like me who cover the arts too!

It's good to see all of this spirited discussion from area artists. Great to have this forum.

Liz Voss

1:36 PM  

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