Tuesday, April 17, 2007

changing cities @ mona

From the MONA press release:

In the last several decades, Detroit has suffered a growing loss of cultural history, and, so, any real sense of place. The city’s art institutions have been debilitated by short-term memory and lack of local interest. Artists have quickly been lost to time, either through death or diaspora.

Currently, there is no established system, gallery nor collecting, for nurturing or encouraging an artist to stay and thrive; none for the necessary growth to create a career or even to form some collective identity of the city.

In this first in a set of new initiatives, the Museum of New Art (MONA) is launching a bold response to overcome this forced entropy. Changing Cities will hopefully be the initial step in establishing a global art exchange, swapping Detroit artists and work with artists in other cities.

First in this series will be an interchange with 8 artists selected from the city of Chicago.

Sandra Perlow

Diana Guerrero-Maciá

Dan Ramirez

Peter Stanfield

Todd Pavlisko

Bernard Williams

Cody Hudson

If you haven't made it out to MONA this is a real show to go see (don't expect to be deceived by the artists here). I hope that the exchange is something that continues - this could start a beneficial relationship between the two cities. And even if MONA doesn't draw the crowds, it still will be great for the participating artists' resumes and vice versa. I honestly can't get the work by Bernard Williams out of my head...it is a little Carol Dunham/Guston/Mike Kelly. The two stylized race commentary portrait paintings on a somewhat used looking blanket knocked my socks off! Go see the show and support the artist exchange!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a follow-up, the museum will be creating an on-line artist registry for Michigan artists. A Detroit Codex, of sorts. To create a database from which to draw artists whose work will be chosen for future city-swaps, starting with Chicago's ThreeWalls Gallery.

Artists are invited to visit the museum (email ahead if possible) on Saturdays from 2 to 5pm: bring along a CD with (up to 10) images and a few hardcopies of work examples.

A group of three jurors will curate the online registry and traveling shows. Toronto, Los Angeles and Hamburg are three cities we are currently working to swap artists.

The CD's will be put into the museum archives for our own reference for future shows.

If there seems to be enough support-base here, the museum will continue to pursue site venues in other cities for potential swaps in the coming months.

Jef Bourgeau
Museum of New Art (MONA)


9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what, someone in detroit who seems to understand the real underlying problems and also offers potential solutions instead of blatant self-promoting... shocking.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of the best local shows to happen in quite some time. congrats, jef.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all starts and ends with the artists. They have to make things work and support efforts. Otherwise everything just becomes a footnote to a string of good intentions.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jef should be given a macarthur grantr

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It all starts and ends with the artists. "

Matt: only to an extent. The people in charge of the institutions (like MOCAD) have a huge responsibility to get not only the audience on board, but the artists as well. The artists don't have to support a program that is run like *&%# out of some sort of obligation. The directors/curators have an obligation, too. If they were qualified to be doing their jobs, they would know that.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i don't think we're disagreeing.

the artists in the area can make or break not only the cultural community, but even an institution -- if they put their hearts and minds to it.

they can not only protest, but create actions, interventions, lectures, panel discussions and more if they are dissatisfied with the directions of things.

i remember ann writing on the blog how she went to mocad before they opened and pleaded the case for inclusion of regional artists. if only her voice had been multiplied, maybe they would've listened.

a big voice, a collective voice and actions draw the media, and these people fear bad press more than anything. since they smugly believe they are serving the community already.

i am an artist, hear me roar!

matt d.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the first detroit artist traveling show i've heard about in my life. and i love the idea that its not just going to chicago but othe major cities/sites too. cool.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a great idea!

The NCA did something similar a few years ago here, the show of works on paper of local traveled through the South and also the upper rim of the African continent.

Sasha Eckes tried to organize an exchange between Detroit artists and Bay Area artists, when she left Detroit to return to San Francisco

A number of years ago, I think in the mid 80s, Stephen Goodfellow organized an exchange between Detroit artists and artists in Hunt, England

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like an ongoing project, not just a one-time thing. So I hope it gets some support here first.

John Cynar tried an exchange show with Germany too.

I'm ready for the DIA to reinstate their MAP project again as well, hopefully when they reopen this autumn.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm ready for the DIA to reinstate their MAP project again as well, hopefully when they reopen this autumn."

do you know something, matt d., or is this wishing

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm ready to organize when the dia reopens to lobby for a new map, much like what the mca has in chicago.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

matt d., no we're not disagreeing at all. I just wanted to make the point that sometimes artists take too much BS from the institutions. they expect and demand little from the people who run these programs. they get little as a result. it's sad. I think that there is also a problem with artists promoting/expecting/accepting management positions for which they are unqualified for because it's "within the industry". Just because you can paint, doesn't mean you can curate or manage a program. Let's advocate for qualified directors instead of this nepotism. On the otherhand, qualified directors usually come with a pricetag and are hard to keep within the non-profit sphere. Ah, well.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

matt, what do you remember about the old OMAP program at the DIA?

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gilda, i remember that it was fun. i remember that it was at the wrong end of the museum, miles from the contemporary galleries. i remember that it became a locker room after. i remember the dia spin was that the artists themselves did it in. that there was too much in-fighting and nepotism. i remember that i was proud that it was there.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great show. But you left out the works by Michael Pajon. Also, it's Mike "Kelley," not "Kelly".

8:08 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Voss said...

I'm writing a story for Crain's about Jef Bourgeau's effort to promote Detroit artists with "Changing Cities." I would like comments from Detroit-area artists. If you're interested in talking with me, send me an e-mail at lizvoss@aol.com with your telephone number or give me a call.


Liz Voss

12:43 PM  

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