suburban glitter @ cranbrook forum gallery
I can probably count the number of challenging avant garde shows that detroit encounters in a year on one hand. To be fair, detroit has fewer galleries in comparison to say ny or la, and fewer open minds as well, so it isn't completely fair to say that we have nothing when again I feel somewhat forced to be happy for what we do have. For any of you just tuning into the blog, the more I travel the harder I am on local shows, only because I know what the caliber is out there. I still think we/detroit can compete with the best and that is why when I see a good show I might have more to say than after seeing a less than mediocre show. It is like when I was back in art school and there were some students who weren't up to par but the other students would hold off during critique because they knew that they couldn't handle the true criticism. The students who were doing well suffered the tough criticism because everyone knew that they had ground to stand on and could think for themselves to challenge and defend the criticism. That is where I am when I see a good show by artists that are well on their way to a healthy art career. Do you open the doors to a healthy dialogue ... or say, "oh, they are better than the rest so we shouldn't say anything...we should be happy to experience a good show" ... ?
This show was something that I could imagine seeing in another city or even by a cranbrook graduate. I even hate saying this because I hate comparing detroit shows to ny/la/other but hey...isn't that where all of our good artists move? These ccs students are well developed in their direction but I feel that the show fell apart in their intent/focus. I have seen Ladd's pieces at an underwear-hair fashion show and Spaysky's works here. The collection of pieces was almost there but I was distracted by the fact that a third of the content had already been shown and seemed like a retrospective of past work put together in an over-the-top presentation. This mind-numbing excessive object display was the idea of the show, but it was somewhat clouded by the recycled nature of items. I had somewhat highly anticipated the show, and upon walking into the space I was initially excited. Foil covered walls and over stimulating pop icons covered the space from floor to ceiling. I found that Spaysky's Spears/Federline video (also seen at the ccs show), which blared Spears' whiny voice repetitively in the background, created a jarring, in-your-face feel that summed up for me what the show was about - in a good way. This is about glitz, brands, symbols, icons and success, and pointing it out while mocking these important American images. I believe that I have been ruined by seeing Ladd's show here and feel that merging of works muffles Spaysky's glaring pop vision. I can already hear the murmurs of detroiters saying, "oh, why be so tough on such a good show?" But why pat good artists on the back when they can receive honest criticism from just one blogger? I am really getting tired of everyone walking on eggshells, hoping not to piss off or offend a galleriest or artist. We may have a smaller art community here, but what good does merely describing a show do? This show had foil on the walls. It had a sculped Epcot Center out of aluminum foil, Scotch tape and cardboard. "I like this. I don't like that." Yes, this is a wonderfully challenging show to see and study and I recommend anyone not familiar with Detroit art to go see it. Go think. Have your opinions. Disagree with your friends. That is what makes a great show.
see "sucking marks" at Scope Miami