Monday, May 29, 2006

mocad's opening

If you haven't been following all the comments that have been posted here is an important discussion sidenote that was addressed:

mocad's site is: mocadetroit.org

and interestingly enough, for the inaugural show artist list, the "detroit artist to be announced" has been removed. From what I gather from countless google searches on the unfamiliar name "christopher fachini", he's been liked to Time Stereo and the rock band Detroit Cobras. If this is the right person, I can't really understand what will be included for the opening, perhaps a rock, noise performance much like the hipster acts that sometimes occur at hilberry gallery? Again, I am not 100% sure, maybe he does sculpture that I am not aware of or my seaches are turning up incorrect info, so if anyone has any definite facts please comment. If this does turn out to be true (which it might not be, please don't jump the gun!) I really feel this is some sort of cop out from the curatoral staff...come on...no detroit visual artist can be found??

29 Comments:

Anonymous jef said...

i had heard that Detroit's final choice would be to provide the music, not any of the visual. i really didn't want to believe it.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

[I believe this is the proper thread for this, and I've included some alterations to fit the situation at MoCAD.
Best all, Richard]

Look, there was an interview with Jack White in the paper today. He said he has left Detroit because he couldn't take all the negativity.

That, and a piece in a Brit paper (from home), came together in my head.

I'm sick of those who say Detroit artists don't make the grade. How can they, if they're never allowed to be tested!

Now, that's negativity by means of inaction! So let's bring in music to side-step it all.

Wanting this MoCAD project to work for Detroit isn't negative. Wanting it to work for the entire community can only be positive and ensure its success over the coming years.

Watching it become a mini-DIA vis-a-vis a social club for the wealthy much like that other institution isn't positive. I understand everyone needs money to make things work, but there's an entire cultural community here as well that's being ignored and neglected.

The other article I mentioned made me think of MoCAD's paid curator Mitch Cope and his comments on there not being a breach of ethics by his including himself in the first two events (however vicariously). And so, this time around I've adapted Mitch to British artist Chris Ofili (however wild that comparison, it works here):

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD) is embroiled in what will likely be "one of the biggest rows in its history". The flak began to fly a month after MoCAD made the triumphant announcement that Mitch Cope has become the museum's first paid curator.

There was one thing MoCAD failed to mention in its successful media presentation and certainly none of the press reports picked up on it at the time: Cope has curated himself into the museum's second show, and into a "catalogue" for its first.

Thomas Hoving, the former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, didn't have much trouble seeing lessons in the promotion of a staff member's work and was fairly unequivocal in describing the conflict of interest as "staggeringly obvious". He added, "to think they thought there's not even a perception of a conflict ... For goodness' sake, it's so obvious."

Guidelines for museum officers are equally unequivocal: "no-one should use, or give the appearance of using, their public position to further their private interests."

The guaranteed boost to Cope's career and prices, from a museum's major endorsement of him, raises another issue of lost ethics.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mitch is an asshole

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Leoqueen said...

you sure are brave, ANONYMOUS, to level that charge at Mitch and not even choose a name that can be responded to directly.

How does your comment further the dialogue about Mocad's opening in this thread?

If the "Detroit Connection" is to be the music, then I would be very disappointed also. I did a Google search for the same person that Ann mentioned, and found the music connection only.

3:20 AM  
Anonymous nick said...

i don't know mitch that well but i really don't think he's an asshole.

if he's really not aware of the implications of curating himself into shows (he should by now), he might be a doofus.

i do think what he's doing at MOCAD will impact its reputation. and if nothing else taint its history down the road.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous The Man shaking his genitals said...

does it really matter. The MocaD will pass or fail regardless of what we do or say. negative or positive. none of us holds any measuable portion that could be deemed valuable in deciding if it is here to stay. hell, when was the last time anyone supported a gallery by buying art? not a little $100 jobby do, but at least $1000. lets get off the MocaD talk and really poke around what artists are out there and what is exciting. who is hot, what is cool? not "why doesnt MocaD like us?" or "If I were running Mocad, I'd...".
boo fucking who...if you had a million bucks to shart a gallery, you would do what ever the fuck you would want, regardless of the cries coming from the great unwashed masses.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous matt-as-hell said...

Asshole! Doofus! Doofus Asshole! Name calling doesn't get us anywhere. That's the kind of negativity that Jack White must've been talking about on his way out of town.

I agree with Genitals... when was the last time anyone supported a gallery by buying art? not a little $100 jobby do, but at least $1000.

And I agree that the only way to make this sort of thing happen, raise the anti/value on Detroit artists, is to raise the bar for them by including them in a museum "bridge" to the greater art-outside.

As long as Detroit artists remain locked in this isolated enclave of dead-end exhibiting to other artists, the pricetag will stay at $100... if there's even a gallery to show at.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Curtis said...

Honestly, I couldn't give a fuck if there's a Detroit artist or not.

No one is being ignored because they are from Detroit. There is no anti-Detroit bigotry taking place.

I would hate to be the artist that got picked out of pitty. You know-"You aren't really who we would have wanted but we felt that because Detroit is in such bad shape we ought to help somebody out."

Unless the show is billed as a representation of Detroit there is no responsibility to show Detroit artists.

That's my two cents.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous matt l. said...

People buy work all the time for more than $100 dollars what are you talking about?

12:46 PM  
Anonymous The man with shaking genitals said...

yeah, hell yeah....who wants a pity show. Why not get detroit artists in shows at other Moca's. Chicago, cinci, LA, NY. why should detroit show detroit. Thats like when the teacher used to force us to make the "Special Needs Kid" play Monopoly with the rest of us. The stupid retard would always get Atlantic Ave and sit on it. Never build a house. Just sit on it and fuck up the whole game.
Who here would want to be that one artist chosen out of pity to be in the first show? Not for being a great artists.

Oh and if you have opened or are currently running a gallery, writing a popular web puplication/ blog, or running an "artspace" you are exempt from the "What the hell are you doing for detroit's art scene" statement.

Most artists are poor folk. Their opinion isnt worth the 100lb paper its printed on. You cant really count on them to be an organized group. Thats what the MOCAD group is mostly collectors. Collectors have money. Money talks. Money buys what you want. Money is a good thing for those who have it.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

too bad mitch is still an asshole.
hah!

4:52 PM  
Anonymous richard said...

This is the negativity Jack White spoke of, that Detroit can never be good enough:

I would hate to be the artist that got picked out of pitty. You know-"You aren't really who we would have wanted but we felt that because Detroit is in such bad shape we ought to help somebody out."

5:45 PM  
Anonymous the jiggly nutsack said...

Coming in January...The MoCAD pity show.

Sign up now. No need to see your work. Just a name and address.
As long as your from Detroit, youre in.

Everyone who cant get a show anywhere else will get top billing.
Must be a "Detroit" artist and believe that you are not good enough.

Colored artists need not apply, we'll have a show for you all in a few months in the back room.


see how stupid that sounds

6:41 PM  
Anonymous matt said...

Speaking of pittyful. Interesting to see Metro Times covering party-art.

Hocking does the Taubmans... Tire-d Art

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read through these comments regarding MOCAD over morning coffee and my mind wandered back to a time when Peggy Guggenheim and the Whitneys proposed contemporary spaces in NYC. This was pre-blog but the same "stuff" was swirling...actually, comments back then were much more negative and hurtful - we could take lessons (just kidding). Let's give birth/life to this idea and let it evolve - as all things do.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Leo King said...

Let's give birth/life to this idea and let it evolve - as all things do....

Yeah, but we (as the cultural community) are life-partners with this effort and shouldn't be locked out from the delivery room on!!!

12:37 PM  
Blogger detart said...

It would be a lot easier to drop the negativity if this was all being handled more professionally--how can anyone think it's okay for the paid curator to promote his own work in this space? Talk about starting off on the wrong foot...however you name it it's just plain wrong.

Rich people fund art. It's always been that way, it's probably always going to be that way. Thank goodness there are still a few around this town willing to do it. But, it takes more than money to make a nonprofit space work and it takes a whole lot more than money for a nonprofit space to be respected. If MoCAD wants to be respected locally, nationally, internationally--they need to step up professionally. Period.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why can't a paid currator show his own work? we/he can do whatever we want.

and i'm tired of your petty regionalist gripes - we are artists not politicians. thats part of the problem, there is a much bigger conversation. participate.

as for mitch, i just hope he does his homework. We need to see things, this blog is a perfect example of our visual/mental seclusion.

long live MoCAD

9:37 AM  
Anonymous nick said...

It may happen that artists curate themselves into shows at private galleries, even large group shows. (Damien Hirst with his 1989 Frieze show.)

But, point of fact, it has and is totally uncommon and unprofessional for museum officers to put their own work in their own museum's exhibitions.
If you don't understand basic ethics, then we're at a major loss of what's right and wrong, what's professional and unprofessional.

obviously it has had impact at the TATe with the Ofili scandal. "no-one should use, or give the appearance of using, their public position to further their private interests."

and it isn't regionalistic to advocate detroit artists into a detroit museum. it's provincial and regionalistic to say that they're not good enough, and we should only show outside artists.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking it's okay for a paid museum curator to curate himself into a museum exhibition is a great example of visual/mental seclusion. Open the window and look out into the world at generally accepted museum practices....you won't find this one. Anywhere.

11:38 AM  
Blogger detart said...

Brave anon said, "why can't a paid curator show his own work? we/he can do whatever we want."

Go ahead, do whatever you want. That attitude will: NOT generate a base of support for this effort. NOT create an atmosphere of respect for this venture in or out of this immediate cultural community. NOT benefit the launch of this venture.

It WILL alienate and/or cause potential supporters to turn away in disgust. (Actually, it already has.) WILL cause important artists/collectors/curators from outside of Detroit to think twice before getting involved with MoCAD. WILL take away from what has the potential to be an important institution in this city.

Whose side are you on? Go ahead and do whatever you want, but do it knowing and acknowledging the price. If MoCAD has any possibility of making it that possibility only exists if everyone on board is doing his or her very best to do it right. Detroit needs MoCAD--and MoCAD can do better.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A black eye for the TATE--a lesson to be learned...

The Ofili Scandal at the Tate

Is Serota Dead in the Water?

By CHARLES THOMSON

The Tate is still embroiled in what has been termed by The Independent newspaper "one of the biggest rows in its 100-year history". The flak began to fly a month after the Tate made the triumphant announcement in July 2005 of a new major acquisition, The Upper Room, by former Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili. It is a purpose built room made from walnut by architect David Adjaye housing thirteen Ofili paintings, each of a different colour-themed rhesus macaque monkey and based on (but not intended to insult) the biblical Last Supper. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, is rather more phlegmatic than the former Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, and didn't utter a squeak about the lump of elephant dung adorning each primate apostle.

The Upper Room was the trumpeted centre piece of a major rehang of Tate Britain, sponsored by BP (formerly "British Petroleum", now rebranded as "beyond petroleum"), whose products and services "contribute to a better quality of life" (except for those living in large areas of the Brazilian rain forest). The backing of a sponsor so keen to draw a PR veil over certain of its activities now seems ironically apt.

There was one thing the Tate failed to mention in its successful media presentation and certainly none of the press reports picked up on it at the time. I only noticed it by chance on the Tate web site: Ofili was a Tate trustee.

Furthermore, when, a few months earlier in July 2004, the Tate had launched its Building the Tate initiative, stating that they did not have sufficient funds to buy contemporary acquisitions and appealing for artists to donate work, Ofili had enthusiastically backed this with an article in The Guardian newspaper. It is now apparent that at the same time a secret fund-raising drive was still taking place at the Tate to buy his work for £705,000 (negotiations had started after the work was first exhibited in 2002).

The Freedom of Information Act was implemented in the UK in January 2005. I applied under it for trustee minutes relating to the purchase, which I was sent, and the price of the work, which the Tate initially refused to divulge. The Tate's reliance on an entrenched tactic of autonomy and secrecy turned a PR difficulty into a PR disaster, as the story was dragged out over five months in the national press with a series of "damaging" (i.e. truthful and long-overdue) revelations, all pointing to the Tate's hitherto remarkable lack of public accountability.......Thomas Hoving, the former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, didn't have much trouble seeing lessons in the purchase of a trustee's work and was fairly unequivocal in describing the conflict of interest as "staggeringly obvious". He added, "to think they thought there's not even a perception of a conflict ... For goodness' sake, it's so obvious." The official DCMS guidelines for trustees are equally unequivocal: "no-one should use, or give the appearance of using, their public position to further their private interests. This is an area of particular importance, as it is of considerable concern to the public and receives a lot of media attention." The trustee minutes show that Serota and the trustees were quite clear that they were flouting these guidelines, but were willing to take the risk.

There is a member of the government with particular responsibility in this area. He is David Lammy, the Minister for Culture in the DCMS, who, as it happens, was guest of honour at last year's Turner Prize. He has refrained from intervention in the Ofili dispute so far. His office wall displays an artwork--presumably a favourite--borrowed from the government's art collection. It is Afro Lunar Lovers by Chris Ofili.

Serota has proved himself somewhat cavalier about rules. In December 2004 he applied for a grant towards The Upper Room purchase from the Art Fund charity (also known as the NACF or National Art Collections Fund) and signed a form stating that there was no prior commitment to purchasing the work--a condition of grant application. In fact eight months earlier the Tate had paid an initial installment of £250,000 towards it. A letter from Ofili's dealer, Victoria Miro, was received at Serota's office on 5 April 2004 thanking him for the money. He has blamed this wrong application on "a failing in his head". What the hell does that mean? The obvious answer is "lying and thinking no one would ever find out", which at that time with Tate's bastion of secretiveness would have been the case. The Freedom of Information Act changed the rules and came as a rude shock (Chris Hastings of The Sunday Telegraph used it relentlessly to find out about the Art Fund and other information). Michael Daley of pressure group ArtWatch UK had also asked awkward questions about the grant.

Serota acted swiftly when he realised he had been caught out, and wrote to the Art Fund offering to refund the money. They magnanimously accepted the application had been a "genuine mistake" (!) and said the Tate could keep the money after all. The Chairman of the Art Fund is David Verey, who is also Chairman of the Blackstone Group "a leading global investment and advisory firm". Verey was appointed Art Fund Chairman in 2004, prior to which he was--wait for it--Chairman of the Tate trustees, in which capacity he had endorsed not only the Ofili purchase but also that Serota should seek external funding. However, the Art Fund stated their decision represented no conflict of interest, as Verey was not in the room while it was taken............

Holders of public office in the UK are required to follow the Nolan principles. The first of these is selflessness. These principles have also been brushed aside as if they count for nothing. I wrote to Ofili and pointed out that he chose to accept public office and the duties attendant on it. I pointed out that if he was genuine about asking artists to donate work, then he should set an example by refunding the money for, and hence donating, The Upper Room, apparently his "most important" work. If the Tate is reliant on donations of work, then it is up to a trustee to set the example that the best work should be donated. I have not received a reply from him........

The guaranteed boost to Ofili's career and prices, from the Tate's major endorsement of him, raises another issue. Over half of the purchase price for The Upper Room came from five benefactors. Before you feel a warm glow that there is redeeming altruism in this business, you should know the Tate minutes record that these five (anonymous) individuals were also simultaneously purchasing their own private Ofili work. Were such an activity to be translated into City terms it would be deemed "insider trading", which is a criminal offence. It seems incredible that a public body would knowingly enter a transaction of such dubious ethics. But then, as Robert Hiscox, a major art insurer, has pointed out, art is "the last unregulated financial market".

It is also now known that a trustee's partner bought an Ofili work after the decision to purchase The Upper Room was taken but before it was publicly announced. Serota has said this was not taking advantage of privileged information as the Tate's purchase of The Upper Room was "common knowledge within the art world" (although not my part of it). Shortly before this claim, the Tate Chairman, Paul Myners, had written to me with a completely contradictory statement to explain that the reason even a mere mention of The Upper Room purchase had been omitted from trustee minutes on the Tate web site was that it was "confidential or commercially sensitive".

As Serota assures us that this "confidential or commercially sensitive" information had become "common knowledge"--to the people in the art world with the right connections, that is--it has to be asked whether such "insider" insight played a part in Ofili's $1,000,000 auction record in May 2005, i.e. two months before the public announcement of the purchase of The Upper Room. The Painting Afrodizzia was sold by Charles Saatchi and bought by Todd Levin, the curator for collector Adam Sender of Exis Capital. Underbidders included Manhattan dealers John Good and David Zwirner, who represents Ofili's work in the States.

The Tate says whatever suits it at the time to get it off the hook, blithely regardless of contradicting itself. In June 2003 Serota said the price of The Upper Room "would have to come down". It didn't but he now claims the same price is a bargain. The trustees justified the purchase of a trustee's work on the grounds that it was "unique", yet the Head of Legal initially refused to divulge the purchase price in case this hampered Tate buying "similar" works in the future. Serota has claimed there was no conflict of interest in the purchase as Ofili took no part in the proceedings, yet a curators' report for January 2003 stated: "in discussion with the artist and his representatives, a joint acquisition is being negotiated" and in the January 2003 trustees minutes Chairman David Verey said, "negotiations with Chris Ofili would continue"..........

That evening during the Turner Prize giving he (Serota) launched into an unprecedented speech to defend the purchase of Ofili's work on the grounds that it was a great piece of art and that therefore the Tate should not be censured for acquiring it. This quite disingenuous approach successfully avoided all the real objections to the purchase by pretending that the quality of the work was the central issue when it hadn't even been a previous subject of debate.

The same argument was trotted out two days afterwards in a letter to The Times by Lord Smith (formerly Chris Smith, Culture Minister), who puffed that any talk of conflict of interest was "a nonsense". A leading charities barrister, Christopher McCall QC, wrote dryly three days later: "Lord Smith of Finsbury's valiant attempt to defend the purchase by the Tate board of a work by one of its members suffers one defect. It ignores the law. As any competent adviser will confirm, trust and charity law lays down an absolute rule that a trust cannot enter into a transaction with one of its trustees unless special authority is to be found."

The Charity Commission states plainly on its web site, "The law states that trustees cannot receive any benefit from their charity in return for any service they provide to the charity unless they have express legal authority to do so." McCall concluded his letter, "If Lord Smith is right, expediency is to be preferred to the acceptance of the principles of the law. I do not accept that the public interest is well served by such an attitude even if I recognise that it is one which has an appeal to an overbearing executive."...........

Paul Myners was appointed a trustee in 2003 and succeeded David Verey as Chairman on 26 March 2004 (i.e. was Tate Chairman at the time of the Art Fund application). Myners is also Chairman of Marks and Spencer, Guardian Media Group and Aspen Reinsurance, a member of the Court of the Bank of England and a non-executive director of the Bank of New York. He has compiled reports for H.M. Treasury, commended by Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, notably Institutional Investment in the United Kingdom (2001) and The Governance of Mutual Life Insurers (2004). In the first of these he made the point that "a regime based on transparency and disclosure ... would encourage trustees to think carefully about whether their investment strategy is sound. Making it publicly available would expose it to public scrutiny." He also lectured the City, "Empires, religions and monarchies have all collapsed where there has been a lack of openness ... It is a form of soft corruption which encourages an outcry against them."

It is a lack of openness and response to the public which pays for it that has generated the alienation and lack of sympathy which the Tate now suffers. Serota has been Director for 18 years and has essentially run the Tate as a private fiefdom. He is an art fundamentalist with a zealot's single-minded vision and conviction. The trustee board which should be composed of a genuine variety of outlooks has been moulded over the years to a consensus group. Serota found older artist trustees (such as Antony Caro) too independent and outspoken, and concluded "it just seems to work better when you have artists who are a new generation, or indeed erring on the younger side, really"--Chris Ofili being an example of the latter.

Current Chairman Paul Myners is a classic example of artspeak by rote, but merely displays how out of touch he is (with a current resurgence of painting in the country, not least in Charles Saatchi's new show The Triumph of Painting), when he pronounces "painting is the medium of yesterday", though this is doubtless music to the ears of Serota, who plans more space for video art on the basis that public interest in it is "greater than ever before". It may be, but the BBC2 Culture Show still found that only 2.8% of the population are interested in it. Anything in contemporary art which has popular accessibility--and figurative painting in particular, especially if it has any element of the "traditional"--is an anathema to Serota. Art must be "difficult", to use his term.

My objection is not to the collection of "difficult" work, or even for that matter acquisition number T07667 by Piero Manzoni, Artist's Shit, consisting of a tin of the same, though I think the price was rather steep at £22,300. My objection is that the Tate's (i.e. Serota's) obsession with such work results in a failure to acquire a representative selection of contemporary artistic practice. This subjective selectivity is exactly the mistake made by the Tate in the early twentieth century, which has led to unfillable gaps in the current collection. Serota is sure that his predilections will be vindicated by the future, as were the past Tate Directors whose views we now regard as ridiculously narrow. Serota thinks he is avoiding the mistake of the past, when in fact he is repeating it.

He is a man of outstanding qualities, single-minded, determined, capable, courageous and to a large degree selfless. The monument to his drive is the successful and remarkable creation of a huge new museum in London, Tate Modern. For a time it was difficult to challenge him, when he pulled off one of the few successes amidst other Millennium fiascos. However, the same qualities that led to his greatest triumph are creating his greatest disaster, and his current acquisitions policies are leading to a ruined cultural legacy for the future. It would take a remarkable transformation for him to change tack at this stage, but it is essential that change takes place at the Tate, if necessary by finding a new Director, who will provide, as Stephen Deuchar, the Director of Tate Britain promised in 2000, a "comprehensive overview".

Michael Daley of ArtWatch UK commented to me recently that flyers shot down over the Pacific in World War Two were told, "don't bleed"--it's OK in the water, as long as the sharks don't smell your blood. Serota's been shot down and he's certainly bleeding. Maybe Dame Sue and the Charity Commission passing the buck between them (and the Culture Minister doubtless avoiding it altogether) will rescue him this time, but his current policies will continue to have enemies gunning for him, and he has provided them with plenty of ammunition.

Charles Thomson is Co-founder of The Stuckists. He can be reached at: stuckism@yahoo.co.uk

More on the 'Ofili scandal' can be found on www.stuckism.com

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan Spaysky's an asshole

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Jef said...

Almost 10 years ago the MONA received a letter from a major NYC museum asking us (Detroit) to please step off of the art train. I believe this condescending notion still exists, and works from our end as well --- believing Detroit artists aren't up to snuff for a museum show even one in our own city:

November 5, 1997

Dear [MONA],

We have received your mailings for about a year and have become aware that they are not germane to us geographically, nor in relation to our mission or interests.

We kindly ask that you take us off your mailing list immediately. You will notice that any further mailing we receive from you will be returned unopened should you not comply. We would consider continued receipt of mailings to be a breach of our rights and wishes. Please be respectful enough to observe this request.

We appreciate your cooperation.

Sincerely,
[Thomas Krens]
Directors Office
Guggenheim Museum

12:29 AM  
Anonymous jef said...

Flash Art wrote a piece about the letter, and the responses to this article were and are still enlightening:

MAIL HARASSMENT?
Jan/Feb 1998 FLASH ART

The Guggenheim Museum sent a letter to Detroit's [MONA] telling them they would no longer accept by post any further press packets or museum news.

"Take us off you list immediately," ordered the Director's office to Detroit's new contemporary. "Should you not comply, any further mailings will be returned unopened and will be considered a breach of our rights."

The Guggenheim's reason for rejecting the mail is that Detroit is not "germane to us geographically, nor in relation to our mission or interests."

Why the hostility toward one museum from another over common publicity mailing?

[Jef Bourgeau], director of the MONA, could only shake his head.

"When is a museum not a museum? When is art not art?" he posed. "When it's become a global conglomerate? Or when it's considered geographically irrelevant? And when did we begin to draw such lines?"

12:43 AM  
Anonymous jef said...

Below are some responses to the idea that Detroit is irrelevant to the art world:

...Why not tell the Guggenheim to go to hell?
With hopes for your continuation,
Leon Golub

...What has the perceived function of regional museums become anyway? But to act mostly as some sort of art world borscht belt - a circuit of showcases to prop the careers of aging and untested art stars!
- Peter Krug, MCA

...The meaning of art in the life of a community should never be solely dependent on outside art or its instituions.
Yours sincerely,
Lewis Biggs
Director
Tate Liverpool

...If regional culture is openly censured and refused a voice in the larger art forum, it has no voice at all. Dialogue in the contemporary arena is and must be fresh and immediate, or it is lost in time.
Yours sincerely,
Declan McGonagle
Director
Irish Museum of Modern Art

...The blocking of communications from a regional museum and its artists to the larger, more visible museums can only further promote these prevalent notions of "yahoo-ism" and "geo-chauvinism" as evidenced by the Guggenheim.
Sincerely,
James T. Demetrion
Director
Hirshorn Museum

1:01 AM  
Anonymous blogger said...

i guess what the dude's saying is detroit doesn't need to speak through outside artists (mocad's first show) to make its mark but should find its own voice and use that; and the way to do that is to hand the mike over to detroit's artists.

11:49 AM  
Blogger julia said...

I have been out of the Detroit community for fifteen years, but am very excited to hear that the MOCAD plans are underway. There is plenty of talent FROM Detroit, at least that much has been proven, in both the visual and music arts fields. I think the timing is quite perfect, especially with the economic embroilment of the manufacturing sector. Detroit is obviously in need of some serious redevelopment, and artists and art communities have historically been the frontline of creating such regeneration by raising exactly the types of questions that are being raised on this blog.

The MOCAD, at the very least, will create a destination point for seekers of a contemporary art community. (It's very scattered and difficult to get a sense of the contemporary art scene as a whole, speaking as a sort of ex-pat of the area). It's very important for Detroit artists to plug into to find more artistic and intellectual debate on an international and national level, whether or not they are included in exhibitions there or not.

With the depth of the DIA's contemporary/modern art collection, coupled with the flexibility and freshness of the kunsthalle-style MOCAD, Detroit has great potential to be a major destination for the contemporary art community, in my opinion.

And, I really love Leon Golub's quote: "Why not tell the Guggenheim to go to hell?" Lots of people, especially involved in the art world in New York, do!!

Detroit, I'm so proud of you! I hope there will be room for me to grow with you.

3:11 PM  

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