Monday, May 01, 2006

join the discussion

I wanted to re-post this so you could keep up with the current discussion on mocad and not have this post be lost. The dialog is definitely worth checking out...even arts writer rebecca has joined in as well as mitch, curator at mocad. I do believe that a discussion online is somewhat difficult and very different than a one-on-one talk because words can be distorted a little and can be taken sometimes the wrong way. I encourage any sort of talk but realize that these are all just opinions and that there certainly isn't one right answer :) I am happy though to see so many detroiters energized about the coming of the new museum!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i for one will be the first through MOCAD's front door to have my rock hard penis in hand and masturbating with pleasure at the displayed works of art. Hope to see the rest of you there.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear mr.peppy pants----

I am SOOOO happy that you have such a great relationship with Rosy Palm and her 5 daughters, but your comment was entirely useless. Grow up.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off the thread, but so is the wanking thing:


Let's do something!

Detroit is losing a good friend to St Louis. And Detroit's artists and galleries are losing one of their staunchest allies and advocates in the press. After decades of writing and tenaciously supporting the art scene here, Joy Colby has retired as the art critic for the Detroit News.

I have never had a better friend. And I know other artists who feel the same way. Joy has invested her life in what we do, and championed our cause here in Detroit. She has believed in us when it looked like no one else did.

Joy needs to be celebrated.

Contact me with ideas or proposals,

Jef Bourgeau at

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears to me that although the dialogue may be circular it is necessary. I think Jef has made several valid points regarding the direction of the museum. I do not like the prospect of "let's wait and see". At the present time this blog site is the only vehicle for many to express their opinions. I much prefer the proactive stance that many have expressed here. I only hope the powers that be will hear it and use it.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I second your opinion.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jef for bringing up the fact that Joy Colby has retired and is leaving. This wonderful woman has been a total and consistent supporter of the Metropolitan Detroit art scene, and knows the history of it inside out!

I can never forget the thrill I felt as a very young artist the first time Joy discussed my work in the News. She has always been there for us, as a voice of reason, acknowledgement, and support.

Gilda Snowden

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been curating one person shows for the Detroit Repertory Theatre since 1987. These shows are off the beaten path, but enable Metropolitan Detroit artists who wouldnt normally have access to a solo show situation early in their careers to do so. Each artist gets a catalog brochure, reception, and no commission is taken if sales are made.

I mention this within the context of the conversations on MOCAD and related issues because I am somewhat distressed about the provincial attitudes expoused. I have been around this arts community, I should say, MOST of the arts communities here [because there are several, and they tend to overlap]. I have observed individuals and various groups taking the initiative to "do something" about the lack of respect and exhibition opportunities facing Detroit artists.

These individuals and groups have then gone out and created a positive force, moving the community [communities] ahead. These creations may have been small, innocuous even, but they had the same affect as a small stone dropping in the still waters-----the concentric circles that resulted reached out and touched many, often after the original force was gone.

55 Peterboro Gallery. Cement Space. Broadway Gallery. Gallery 7. Triple A Gallery. The Artists Guild of Detroit. Bastard Gallery. Barbara Bunting Gallery. The photography gallery in the back of the BookBeat. There are many others, historically. I dont know if, when they started, that they thought they would last long, they might have, but for however long they stayed around, their affect was long lasting.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Detroit artist and very proud of that fact. I chose to be one for the long haul, for a lot of reasons. My observations are that Detroit is not New York, is not Philadelphia, is not Chicago, is not Los Angeles. Those cities will always be valued more than us for a variety of reasons. I am not going to beat my head against the wall fighting that battle any more. I choose to promote my collegues with the tools I have, such as this little exhibition space so graciously donated by Bruce Millan of the DRT.

Will it mean that on some hallowed day ART IN AMERICA or ARTNEWS is going to feature Detroit Art on the cover of their magazines? I am not holding my breath. Do I think that MOCAD should consider Metropolitan Detroit and other regional artists? Sure I do. But do I want to shoot down this venture before it starts by restricting the curator? No. Because if I did, I would have to advocate for a racial quota, and none of us wants to go there, do we??

5:53 PM  
Blogger no-where-man said...

How about the shift from the Whitney Bi from NYC Artists?

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But do I want to shoot down this venture before it starts by restricting the curator? No. Because if I did, I would have to advocate for a racial quota, and none of us wants to go there, do we?? -- Gilda

Gilda, I don't think the request to allow Detroit artists in MoCAD shows is restrictive -- quite the opposite. It is restrictive to deny them.
And why would you then feel forced to advocate a racial quota? An artist is an artist. Basquiat: I am an artist who happens to be black.
But, if you truly feel strongly about a racial quota, why not demand it from those MoCAD choices being made to bring artists here? Kara Walker is a start in the right direction. How many black artists in the second show? Don't just wave race like a trump card. You go girl, if you feel it.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick----Please please please do not put words in my mouth. I made my statement as a form of 'devil's advocate-ness', to show how ludicrous any form of quota is. Isnt it true that "none of us wants to go there?" But I guess you were not sensitive enough to be able to pick up on that. Or maybe it is the inherent failing of having a conversation like this in a blog instead of face to face, where inflections and colorations of meaning can be picked up more succinctly.

Isnt it funny that no one called Mr.Peppy Pants on the carpet for the imagery of pleasuring himself in public....the very image of a pedophile or pervert---I guess it was because of the obvious facetiousness of his post!

I am most happy that Kara Walker's work will be viewed here up close and personal. As I teach a contemporary art history class that features her work, it is great that my students will be able to examine her installations personally. I also look forward to the dialogue her work will stimulate. Yummy!

You say, ---"I don't think the request to allow Detroit artists in MoCAD shows is restrictive -- quite the opposite. It is restrictive to deny them.---"

Where was it written, uttered, mentioned, said, inferred, etc etc etc that Detroit artists were to be restricted or denied? Not anywhere that I saw. Do you know something that the rest of the community doesnt?

Again, I am not interested in dictating to any curator what he or she should include. I have curated many shows, and unless there was a specific theme would have resented it mightily if anyone suggested that I follow a script.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that the blogging medium can be frustrating for those accustomed to having more control in general. Yet it is a creative force. Creating conversation, ideas, sharing and
all together being an inclusive force. Thank God or Someone! Otherwise its buisness as usual.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This group only is really about New york artists. I want to build a place to keep the artists from leving Detroit : i once heard. Its so funny that one wants or might run the place from NY.Shrinking Cities has been done a million times. And is really not about art!
Artists here want to be shown as equals with their contempoaries and that is why it is important! this first show has nothing to do with any vision. It is only hand picked artists to fit a space. So whats the big deal Mocad. We already see the artists everywhere else,so really what is so exciting!
So visionary. Can't look outside the box. Can't look at the mid west or Canada because you can't look outside the mags. Detroit artists and community excepts the scaps that the DIA Cranbrook and now Mocad drops at our feet. Suppport us but we do not give back. Wake Up. Same old story.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the same old song, there aren't enough spaces for Detroit artists to show in Detroit so it's inevitable that something like MOCAD will breed jealousy, paranoia and even anger among artists who already feel neglected with very few places available to show their work. And yes there are plenty of talented innovative and committed artists here with work strong enough to stand up against artists from other cities. It's been said before but I'll say it again, artists need to get out there and make their own galleries happen. That's how many galleries in Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, and even LA and NY have started and grown. Work out exchanges with some of those kinds of galleries. They're always looking for ways to get their work out of their local community too. Stop waiting for MOCAD to be the answer to all your hopes and dreams. Obviously, based on the dialogue on this blog, it never will. As many here have stated, they have their own agenda, and it is not the same as yours. Make your own gallery happen, get together a collective to rent a space, curate shows, but at the same time keep the doors open to those outside the group to keep it from being more than a vanity or friends only gallery. Also, if everyone is so unhappy with the MOCAD slate of artists, why not put together a show that coincides with the opening of MOCAD that shows what kind of show you really want to see. The alternative to MOCAD. It seems the idea of MOCAD has sparked a lot of good spirited and concerend discussion but the next obvious step is to do something about what you really want to see happen in Detroit. Maybe rent a space on a temporary basis? Maybe Gilda would consider her space as an option and even curate a show or maybe George N'Namdi would rent out his additional space (unless it's already in development) for a less than a year experiment run by a group of serious artists who want to curate their own group shows. Or maybe MONA can stir things up some more ? Why think small, what about an art fair a la MiamiArtBasel, Chicago's Stray Art or Jupiter Hotel in Portland in a big Warehouse space for the same weekend? Maybe our own version with artist curated shows in booths rather than established gallery booths. Just an idea. Are there any spaces off Woodward that are avaiable for reasonable rent? I'm just reiterating that this blog is inspiring a lot of good discussion about what artists want to see happen with MOCAD and in the Detroit gallery "scene" , but don't wait around for it to happen in one institution or gallery like MOCAD. Gilda is right, eventually the ripples spread and connect other artists and art enthusiasts to each other. I hope this discussion keeps on going, it's heartening to see so many people thinking about how to make Detroit a better place for all of us.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear art lover,

some may be responding to MoCad as you say, out of jealosy, paranoia or feeling neglected. And I also think your other ideas have great merrit. The new museum could and probably will generate the variety of activity that you speak. But the museum is arriving shortly, it is here and now. If by discussing its current direction on this blogsite leads to a louder "voice" perhaps a change could occur that includes more local artists in the inaugural exhibition. This could be something great and unique for this community. And think how much such an exhibition would generate with the so called "ripple effect". Don't be so resigned to accept only what is given.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with art lover about starting collective spaces. Still think that Detroit artists shouldn't be peripheral to the mainstream though.

Cautionary Tale: At the Nova Art Fair in Chicago, many of the galleries were founded by artists. And, talking to them, nearly all have been caught up in the business side and have neglected their own art.
From what Jeff said about MoNA, he has had an art lay-off of 8 years. Although one could argue that MoNA has been his art. And that can work: check out the group of artists who formed the Wrong Gallery.
Anything can be made to work in the art world. So, just do it.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paco, I agree totally. Mazei said this is going in circles. But there's only one point we've been trying to make, while others are spinning away from that thread... Putting their wagons in a circle, in a defensive mode, as if such an idea of inclusiveness is a horrible destructive thing.

To see a balanced inaugural opening of NY and Detroit Artists would be a revelation! Why is that so hard to understand?

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

paco and dagmar,

I'm with you.

2:08 PM  
Blogger no-where-man said...

hello! the inside is out the outside is in.. graduated from detroit went to nyc thinking "wow" finally here, now everyone here is bitching the big "market shows" - armory, whitney - bi is that it is not nyc being represented...

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is old is new again, no-where-man.

The inside is out, the outside is in. I like that.

Its true. But I know quite a few NY artists, and none of them have EVER had a show there. But they are in NEW YORK CITY.....

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A side track, but what if the metro Detroit area had a efficient train system? I have fantasized about a triangular main route with its points at Ann Arbor, Royal Oak and Wyandotte meanwhile having important stops on the way.

People could experience the possibilities and culture as in NYC. The Public trans there is so awesome. Continually growing with good Public Artworks as well.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would solve a lot of problems, Pacopez. As it is now, I cant get to see the shows in Pontiac, Rochester, etc, because I cant afford the gas.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MoCAD's first show will create its history. Detroit should be part of that history.
And, one would hope, the museum will build on this first excitement. Perhaps, the SHRINKING CITIES' presentation of urban flight will dampen that irreparably. Time will tell.

Anyway, MoCAD is a chance for greatly improving Detroit's art future. I just hope it can survive its staff.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MOCAD is currently mounting a series of fund-raisers, mostly at rich peoples' homes (taubman's) with rich people invited. (that's only natural, they need money.)

however, to dispel its negative imaging in the detroit art world, it should open its arms to regional artists and ask for their help as well. there should be an in-house auction of detroit/michigan artists' work.

this would allow big-time MOCAD investors, and the collectors among them, to see detroit art in the flesh. and, god forbid, buy it.

it would show that MOCAD truly respects this art community, and appreciates and welcomes their involvement. and it would allow the art community, through its donation of work, to feel a sense of partnership with MOCAD. a feeling of ownership in the museum.

this auction should be inside the museum, and before its october opening. such an event would create the groundswell of support this effort truly needs to succeed in any real way.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with you about the auction only if there are an equal number of Detroit or Michigan artists included in the inaugural. It seems to me there should be some tangible, direct return for our investment. Do we really need to support another venture that appears so exclusive?

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the auction is a separate issue from any detroit "quota". nothing should ever be tied directly to anything else, or nothing happens.

the auction would be supporting an institution detroit sorely needs -- to bring it into the 21st century art world.

that being said, a strong show of support from the art community should enable it, and bridge a real involvement in MOCAD: the possible fall-out in future shows, and involvement on exhibition and other MOCAD committees.

the two need each other, and not as adversaries, but to create a healthier environment for new art.

just as the DIA needs MOCAD to complete the art balance in detroit. MOCAD needs the art community, and should recognize that.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I knew you would react the word "equal". I don't intend it to sound like a need to fulfil a quota of Detroit artists or simply a reaction, that we'll do this for that. You've said yourself that there is no reason not to include local artists with the inaugural exhibition. I think only one or two local artists included appears to be a token gesture. Including three to five local artists is more open minded. I'm not interested in putting restrictions on the curator either. I advocate a fundamental change in approach, thought and direction for this inaugural exhibition that is inclusionary and not exclusionary. I'm for a proactive stance that could perhaps make this happen or at least be seriously considered. I'd much rather see a groundswell with this idea in mind.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH yes, another auction for us to donate to and let the rich folk buy our work on the cheap is just what the doctor ordered. Many of us can't get a show in town but somehow our work is always good enough for a fundraising auction for some fancy charity event and for the rich and beautiful to have their pictures taken so they can be seen in the society pages of the News or Hour Magazine. Real representation is what we need, not another expensive fundraiser to make the the already rich and famous feel good about themselves.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of the many artists that gets approached by fundraising committees for art. I used to do them all, then realized that a whole lot of people were getting my art and I was getting the "exposure".

Now I only do a few, and they are either for the benefit of educational groups or MAPP. I do one every year for Delta Sigma Theta, because they ALWAYS sell the work and their cut is only 10 or 20%. That's a smaller percentage than any of the non profits.

If the auction could split the proceeds with the artists as described above, or if art could be purchased by the committee at discounted prices from the artists and then auctioned, then maybe more artists would participate. I hear so many artists speaking angrily about groups approaching them to continually donate their works and the only recompense is "exposure", or a ticket to the afterglow of some function.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've been approached by charities, and have given to auctions for ten years but this is the only one that i feel would benefit me as an artist - in the end (despite knowing it would help pay mitch cope's salary) i'd still do it cause at its poor misguided heart the cause is right.

7:15 PM  

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