Wednesday, June 13, 2007

yacht club gallery in Metro Times

(click above for metro times website)
As tough as the Detroit art scene is, there's always someone game enough to fly in the face of reason by opening a new gallery. The latest entry into that select group is artist Ann Gordon, 26, known to most Detroit-culture types as the host of Detroitarts blog.

"I travel a lot and am always interested in other art scenes," she says, sitting at a blond wooden table at the entrance to the gallery, Apple notebook opened in front of her and cell phone to one side. "I want to show people what I've come across in the last few years; that you can bring in artists from other cities, and it's not terribly hard."

The space, Yacht Club Gallery, is on Yemans in downtown Hamtramck. The building was formerly occupied by Primary Space, another gallery. The name is a tease on the supposed elitism of the art world, according to Gordon, and has nothing to do with the Ivanhoe Café, the longtime restaurant on Joseph Campau known as the Polish Yacht Club.

Opening a gallery is something Gordon has wanted to do for a while, she says, initially in response to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. While much smaller than MOCAD, the building's red-brick facade has been updated with frosted-glass windows and doors and sleek metal mullions. There's even graffiti on the side (the difference being that the vandalism in this case is real as opposed to a commissioned artwork). Where MOCAD has been criticized by some for not including enough Detroit art in at least two of its first three shows, Gordon wants the dialogue between local and national art to be central to her project.

"The point is to mix in national artists with people from Detroit," she says.

The first show, F*ck You/Commentary Criticism, features artists from Detroit, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and its theme is a twist — a critique of the idea of criticism. There's a video of Detroit artist and curator Dick Goody reading pedantically (and ably assisted by his English accent) from Art in America to Jef Bourgeau, who responds by tying Goody up with a length of rope. There's also an installation of drawings and collages by Los Angeles-based Mary Addison Hackett featuring a banner that reads "Today was fucked, but tomorrow is another day."

The latter piece hadn't been fully unpacked at the time of this writing and Gordon was considering showing it as is — with the work jammed in a box and pushed to the side (sort of like the postcard image for MoCAD's current exhibition, Stuff), and only the installation instructions mounted on the wall. "It's a way of saying 'fuck you' to the artist," Gordon says, clearly having fun with the installation.

Two other shows are scheduled for the summer, also combining artists from Detroit with those from New York, San Francisco and points in between. The show scheduled for July deals with art as a form of escapism and features hot-shot New York City painter Elizabeth Peyton. The one in August has art as both symptom of and solution for what ails.

Most of the artists' connections have come as a result of Gordon's blog, which has gotten national attention. (It's listed on Artkrush, the arts e-zine put out by Flavorpill, and has been favorably written up by Modern Art Note's Tyler Green, the granddaddy of arts bloggers.) People are surprisingly easy to contact online, Gordon notes, and are generally receptive. Many contact her first. In fact, Gordon was put onto the Yemans building by an e-mail she got from the owners, readers of Detroitarts blog, who thought she might help them lease it out.

While all of this sounds promising, it apparently is to be short-lived. Gordon is planning on relocating to Los Angeles by the end of the year. Yacht Club Gallery is an experiment in what she might be capable of doing in a more hospitable environment, and she's only taken the space for the summer.

"The gallery is really a trial to see whether I want to be a curator, a consultant or an artist," she says. "This space almost makes me want to stay in the city, but then I remember the Michigan winters."


F*ck You/Commentary Criticism opens 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, at Yacht Club Gallery, 2750 Yemans, Hamtramck. The gallery is open by appointment after that. Call 248-709-9747.

Vince Carducci writes about art and culture for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

28 Comments:

Anonymous kristen s said...

this is exciting as it is but elizabeth peyton gee that's great!

11:08 AM  
Anonymous leoqueen said...

pleeese dont leave us Ann!

12:06 PM  
Anonymous m. said...

what a GREAT write-up. congrats.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but what's gonna happen to detroitarts blog when ann leaves?
i r sad :(

2:34 PM  
Anonymous PoPo The AssClown said...

Heavens, most of you will have to stop living vicariously through Ann’s Blog and get out in the sunshine and actually take part in our creative community.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that what YOU are doing, Assclown???

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL
reading this blog IS taking part in our creative community, dumbass. assclown blows.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's up in LA??

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Dude said...

I think assclown means more literally, as in going to the actual shows instead of getting your "fix" online.

Looking at a computer screen and making rude comments anonymously IS NOT taking part in you community.

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you post an anonymous comment...

8:09 AM  
Anonymous kevinb said...

I want to illuminate something that was made more evident to me in a wonderful conversation with Ann herself. This is what i have learned: Detroitarts is Detroitarts because a person interested in the arts community, who was eager to learn about the community, was motivated enough to share her findings with the rest of us.

Magnificent.

Now that she's leaving, it puts into perspective how much we rely on her coverage and how this is wrong. Ann should not be the end all be all....no disrespect Ann I highly admire what you've done, but the weight should not be on your shoulders. Ann carries a lot of weight and sometimes it feels she carries it all. Vince and Nick always have wonderful coverage but a visible response to what they write, such as what this blog provides, is not available.

i think it will still be necessary to have a blog like this continued if not started in the near future by another being, because this blog has become a part of our art community. this is where the dialogue happens. This is where i can share my thoughts with a million opinionated anons, gilda, curtis, m., popo, i mean hell...this is great.

I'm assuming that most people feel this way but don't want to post it for the fear of the "well then why don't you do it," response. So all I'm going to say is this: if something doesn't start up, its gonna suck without it.

note: Vince, wonderful article.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Dude said...

Anon,

The difference is that I don't claim this to be my way of taking part in the community. I just do it to participate in a blog however I see fit.

Kevinb,

Good point. Has anyone talked to Ann about taking over DetroitArts if possible? Since this is already the accepted forum for discussion, it may be possible for us to keep it. You should look into that Kevinb. Maybe you could even recruit a team of devoted gallery goers to make the job easier. It sounds like fun to me. It's too bad I can't help, because otherwise, I'd love to.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous m. said...

Kevinb, a shout out? that was the sweetest thing ever. :-) And such fine company for my monogram.

My feeling is that the vacuum will of course generate it's own solution. You can foist is on someone.

Bad timing, Ann! I know someone who was interested in paying you for this blog. Alas. Do you plan to do an LAarts blog once you get where you're going? Let me know.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous PoPo the assclown said...

“reading this blog IS taking part in our creative community, dumbass. assclown blows.”

Some how I imagine a morbidly obese home bound he/she in a blue muumuu typing franticly at a cheeto orange stained keyboard while breathing oxygen through a tube.
If you consider reading a blog the same as participation then I must be a wicked stud for all those dark lonely nights reading Penthouse Forum.
AssClown doesn’t blow, AssClown ROCKS. He rocks your ass baby. Get out and do an interview and get it in the MetroTimes. Do a review. Get your art seen in a gallery 3 or 4 times a year. Sell a work. Do anything but read a blog fat ass.
That’s why Ann is so thin!

10:23 PM  
Blogger detroit art works said...

hey m,
yeah, I plan on still bloggin in la.....email me if you have any interesting news....
cheers!

thanks everyone for all the kind words! hope to see you saturday!

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were you there last nite, Assclown?

8:58 AM  
Anonymous magnus said...

Assclown [I love that name!] must go out once in a while, because he knows Ann is thin

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

popo the assclown, it seems i've gotten under you're skin, so much so that you've come up with the most ridiculous image of me you could think of to ease the anxiety that welled up from my comment. you have quite an imagination, but you're way off. i understood you're original point, i just thought it was pretentious to assume that people who read this blog don't go out to shows. i can't make it to every single show, which is part of why i love detroitarts.. i get coverage of what i'm missing out on. granted calling you a dumbass may have been a bit excessive, but hell it's fun to occasionally be an anonymous asshole.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous m. said...

I don't go out to shows. I have netflix.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon,

you're special...

a lot of young artists still feel as though it isn't their responsability to attend art exhibitions.

I think it is their responsability.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Curtis said...

Careful with the word responsibility.

Princeton's Dictionary defines it as, "the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force".

I like going to good shows. Sometimes I like going to bad shows too. But the hell if I want to be bound to go whether I desire it or not.

Likewise, when I have a show I would rather a person not come at all than come because they felt socially obliged to.

To elaborate: When one is expected to attend a show, it is easy to feel that same "responsibility" should be felt by the artist. This means we now have a group of socially bound viewers with expectations that artist be socially bound, in some form or other, to please them.

If a viewer falls into this trap, they reduce their ability to see. Likewise, if an artist, in reaction, falls into the trap, they reduce their ability to make.

When a viewer trapped in "responsibility" attends the show of an artist trapped in "responsibility", mediocre work is somewhat enjoyed.

That, I think, is the worst kind of show and I don't want to go to any more of them.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous wendymosso said...

"Where MOCAD has been criticized by some for not including enough Detroit art in at least two of its first three shows, Gordon wants the dialogue between local and national art to be central to her project."

might be interesting to see the show that MOCAD has up for the next week, a whole bunch of detroit artists working with the theme of music and conflict

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

curtis,

you're nitpicking...

Do you think that artists should go to art exhibitions? Yes?!!!

Wow, so we agree! Seriously, look at what you're arguing. Nobody is suggesting that you attend shows that don't interest you. I'm saying that people support art, and without the constant support of the art community, there would be only a small percentage of the usual number of viewers at each show. Therefore, in order to get the attention that you, or Detroit, or anybody wants, they need support. And that support begins at the base of the community, the artists themselves. That's responsability.

Just support your community Curtis.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hour Detroit showed some love for artists and look at the backlash that spurred by the local community. some people are just never satisfied.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous m. said...

artists should not be the majority of those going to gallery shows in the same way that poets should not be the majority of subscribers to a lit magazine. The unfortunate reality is that it is easy to guilt individuals within a community with this "it's your responsibility as an artist" BULLSHIT. It is not. It is the gallery's responsibility to get the art out beyond the obvious bubble. But they're too lazy, or inept. So they scale back and try to figure out how to make ends meet by relying on the obvious demographic. Sad. But not unique. The literary community is RIFE with it and as a result lit. magazines are slowly curling up and dying. I don't know the depth of the impact of this strategy within the vis.art world but I feel pretty safe in assuming it's on a similar track to a similar end unless those in positions to do so stop being lazy and inept and focusing their attention on guilting artists to attend art shows. Imagine is computer manufacturers focused solely on selling computers to computer programmers, what an inbred and unsustainable little economy that would be...

12:50 PM  
Anonymous curtis said...

I like m. Even when we disagree. At times I get angry when I read things m. writes but I enjoy that relationship for the most part.

That said, I agree with you m. And thanks for joining me on this. It certainly isn't nitpicking. It's terribly important.

I'd like to add that it isn't the gallery's responsibility when the gallery doesn't give a shit. And it isn't the showing artist's responsibility when she/he doesn't give a shit. It is solely on the head of the people who desire.

To think that it is someone else's responsibility to get an audience for your work, or your friends work, or your gallery is as m. said, "BULLSHIT".

"Do you think that artists should go to art exhibitions? Yes?!!!"

No"!!!". But I don't think they shouldn't either.

"Just support your community Curtis."

I do. But I'm very picky about who makes up my community.

On a side note, anon, you both told me what I think and what to do. That is just bad manners.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

absurd...

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

m, your examples are terrible. Regardless of anything you said, if artists don't support other artists, then why should anyone else care?! That's the bottom line.

And curtis, you live in an imaginary universe. You don't get to decide who makes up your community unless you decide to move to an already established community, and even then it's going to change.

I'll alter my prior argument to state that you're a fool if you are attempting to succeed as an artist and you aren't interested in viewing or even supporting what else is happening in your field. Your responsability is to yourself! It just is.

And yes it is the gallery's responsability and anyone who wants to strive in that field's responsability to do everything they can in order to succeed. What alternate universe were you guys educated in! I know what I just said is rude, but it irritates me that in a state of disarray, a majority of artists and art affiliates can't seem to grab ahold of this simple bit of common sense.

And who am I, I'm nobody, but believe me when I say that I wouldn't be writing if I weren't concerned.

Check it out, I know I shouldn't name names, but here goes:

Gilda Snowden is the epitome of what a Detroit artist or any artist for that matter should strive to be. She supports the community, works hard to make herself known and understood, she invests back into the community (a lot), and she attends every show that she can without argument, she curates shows, educates students, and provides opportunities.

People like Gilda know that in order to receive, you must first give. And if in the end you only take, then you are destined for failure. Attending shows not only helps you, it helps the exhibiting artist, and it helps the community.

Ann Gordon, is another fantastic example of someone you should strive to be like. The majority of her art career since graduation, she has been giving back to her community. All she does is give. Now after establishing a nationally known blog, she is opening a gallery. Do you think that her doing this is solely a selfish act. I would guess not. Again, she is doing it for the community (you can do it for yourself and the community, and most people who do anything worth noting, do it for these two reasons).

A lot of people believe in Detroit.
And it's people like you two who dish out these pesamistic and closed-minded ideas, who make it hard for the believers to pay it forward.

That's it. Agree?/Disagree?

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