Sunday, March 19, 2006

More Detroit Art Scene History

Thanks to Detroit artist and teacher at CCS - Gilda Snowden for providing this important history and useful links. All information by Gilda is copied from the comment page. Thanks again!

(Gilda): "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]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

part of knowing your history is living it. and then, having a document of it. the best such history is this blog, and nick sousanis's the

we need to support such efforts, and secure them for future generations (the Internet is not forever; we need hard copies of such important work.)

gilda's links are another step in educating us all.

and it isn't about being old farts who wax poetic and lecture the youth: i grew up as an artist through the cass corridor years, but never inter-acted with them at all. they weren't my homeboys. i know most the names now, but am basically ignorant of most their work - then and now.

the point isn't a lecture, but a flag: educating yourself about your history as an artist -- in a place and time is all-inclusive. not just a time-line, but the moment in that line. a living history.

on that line, john torreano is part of our history as well. and currently exhibiting at hilberry. john was born in flint, and trained at cranbrook.

read more on him at the detroit codex:

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Gilda

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a lot of info that there just isnt any available printed documentation on...we have to rely then on memories and verbal issue.

As I was reading over the list of links I posted, I began to think back to the late 80's when the BROADWAY GALLERY was going strong, until it imploded.

It was located on the ground floor of the Merchant's Apparel Building, in the huge storefront, at least 2500 sq ft with an office/loft, on the Broadway Side, in the space that for so many years was Midwest Woolens. When I was a fashion design major at Cass Tech we would walk to Broadway and Grand River to get our yard goods in order to create our clothes.

Well, years later it became a gallery, run by coincidentally, a fashion designer, Tony Scandrick. He and a number of other artists lived in the building, whose landlady was Marie Primo. James Stephens was in that building, along with Robert Berry,Ruth Lampkins, MaryEllen Powell, John Rowland, Peter Williams; John Sinclair and his wife had a space for a while too. I know I am leaving people out. I moved into the building in 1988 and was there for 10 years.

Tony started that gallery and had some wonderful shows. Peter Williams, Dick Goody, James Stephens, Karen Sanders, among many others. I had a solo show opening the Fall 1988 season there, all large scale constructions and the beginning of my tornado paintings. This was the first big show I had after my parents died so it was difficult to put together. At the time I was newly married and living in my studio/flat on the 94 service drive; Tony found me the space in the Merchants Building and we both took a weekend to clean it out to make it habitable for work. What was great about that building was the fact that the elevator could be taken to the basement, and art delivered to the gallery's storage without going outside!

I wish I had taken more documentary pictures of the shows, including my own. I have a few, but they were done with the wrong film and are now yellow. Thank goodness for digital now.

One day after the opening I went into the gallery and Tony said he had something for me to look at; it was a proof sheet for the December 1988 ArtNews review section, with a review of my show. I was totally floored.

Well, Tony did some great shows for a while and sold art;his gallery became a sort of gathering place because he did such theatrical openings. It was so much fun, magical. And when the Detroit Artists Market was going strong right in the next block, the Harmonie Park area was golden. After a while, though, there began to be cracks in the walls, and the Broadway Gallery closed. I think it had about a 3 year run. I dont want to go into all of the negative stuff that happened, here; this was a long time ago. Everybody has moved on.

I pass by that corner almost everyday on my way home and see the space that used to be. It is now a mens clothing store......back to the fabrics, I guess.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gilda, the old Broadway was such a great space. Too bad everybody turned mean and skipped town and all that weird stuff that happened.

Wait - does this make me an old fart? If I'm not complaining, does a tree still fall in the forest?

Jef, speaking of documenting Detroit art history, I have an old filing cabinet in the basement full of old copies of Ground Up. Anybody need kindling? Insulation? Really pretty scrap paper with lots and lots of words on it?

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should send one complete edition of GROUND UP to each of these places--
Burton Historical Collection, the Archives of American Art, the National Library.

Oops, if you havent already!

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should send one complete edition of GROUND UP to each of these places--
Burton Historical Collection, the Archives of American Art, the National Library.

Oops, if you havent already!

4:52 PM  
Blogger GetKat said...

is duffys warehouse still operating or in existence> i recently sent a friend to detroit would could not find it, do you have an address for it.

i enjoyed the shows of works from the collections a few years ago, and wondered if it still was in operation. thanks.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about an art gallery called Hanna Galleries that used to be on East Jefferson in the 1930s??? or thereabout? Trying to dig up some family history.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Farrell Hamann, artist, novelist said...

Farrell Hamann Fine Art (now in Sacramento, Ca) Used to hang out at Myron Green's studio with a lot of the younger set. I planted a lot of the alley flowers near Wayne State U. Bo Taylor (the crazy guy) was an agent and not an art agent. Remember him? Friend spotted Bo in expensive eatery in Lansing dress to hilt and shooting orders. Not you average street junkie. Lived at the Alexandrine st. (sp?) co-0p. Remember Brown's Park sign on little lawn on Cass and the "Tomar is bald! graffiti at 8 mile/Woodward? Best F.

8:08 AM  

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