Tuesday, June 05, 2007

best of artists?

This is who Dan Graschuck (collector and chairman at DAM) lists as his picks for best Detroit artists...in case you missed the story in HOUR magazine:

david barr, kristen beaver, lowell boileau, taurus burns, susan goethel campbell, sergio de giusti, ed fraga, christine hagedorn, john hegarty, tom humes, jack johnson, peter palazzola, catherine peet, tom phardel, jo powers, sharon que, mel rosas, clint snider, james stephens, robert wilbert, joe zajac, ron zarkin.

...and the list of best cass corridor artists by giovana costantini (university of michigan, flint; art historian):
1. ann mikolowski 2. gordon newton 3. cay bahnmiller 4. michael luchs 5. robert sestock 6. brenda goodman 7. ellen phelan 8. john egner 9. steven goodfellow 10. nancy mitchnick

This always peeves me because the cass corridor artists usually get the most written attention and why? because they have a "name"? because they got a show at the dia back in the 80's? most of those artists aren't even in the city anymore but they remain like art gods to those here. maybe because many did leave and go on to ny to be part of other scenes. I guess the more I think about it, it peeves me that there haven't been other groups of artists named/recognized and given group shows at the DIA!!
While reading the list, it occured to me that we should have a naming contest of the sorts on the blog (in comment section?). what groups do you feel have names or want to be named? for example, is there a RRR clan? a wayne state clan? a still truckin' after all these years in detroit but weren't a part of the cass corrider movement and are now forever doomed?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cass Corridor Artists paid their dues and then some. That's why they were recognized and given shows at the DIA. And I would never compare a small group of elitest few-years out of undergrad, artists who don't care to represent Detroit let alone ever live in it (ever!), to the Detroit-proud Cass Corridor Artists. Those other artists (RRR and the other newbies) might have talent, but most (almost all) of them are not Detroiters (suburbs doesn't count), have not paid their dues (graduating undergrad doesn't count), didn't function as a group in the way that Cass or other groups before them did (doesn't count!), and they do not deserve the title "Detroiter".

But, the "best of" artists are awesome! Rock on!

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

??? -

to think that you have to live within the city limits to be a "detroiter" or "rep detroit" is an old and ridiculous argument. we're one of the few cities in the world that clings to that foolishness. METRO detroit, moron.

those "best of" artists are stale and boring.

you show your age, ignorance and age-ism with your post.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kevin, detroit PROPER moron :)

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, I couldn't agree with you more on both issues. The Detroit thing is such a lame tired old horse argument. Best of Lists such as this do nothing for the art community at large and when has Hour Detroit ever contributed or written anything significant or relevant to Art. So what about us that aren't included on the list what are we? These things only bread contempt.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, the Cass Corridor folks deserve all of the credit they receive. They represent a movement that was heavily invested in our region for a considerable period of time. This dedication to a single region is rare these days; however, I attribute much of it to young people (not just artists) being a lot more mobile than previous generations.

As far as the debate about city vs. metro region goes, this never ceases to make me laugh. Since when do municipal borders deliniate authenticity? Is the work of an artist living in Indian Village less potant than the work of an artist from Hamtramck? Is an artist from River Rouge not "allowed" to call themselves a "detroit artist?"

Such factionalism in this scene based off of geographic elitism is small minded and hilarious.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's no place like Detroit!.. just as there's no place like hamtramk, birmingham, royal oak, etc. etc... but none of those surrounding communities has gone through the dramatic rise and fall that Detroit has; none other has so a rich history and so much to prove and so many passionate people working towards change...

we can nitpick over borders and geographical bragging rights endlessly. but can we agree that we're all affected by our environment? if you live in Detroit long enough the city is going to rub off on you. and for being creative beings Detroit is bound to come out in the work one way or another...

OF COURSE not every great artist in this city (and there are a LOT) are gonna be on the 'Best Of' list. this list was compiled by Dan Graschuck, any one else would probably put together a totally different list. rather than hate on those included, perhaps think of this list as an introduction to the creative talent Detroit that has to offer to a broader public.

we're all in this together. interest in one or another artist rises and falls, that part is out of our hands. if you're an artist in Detroit trying to make it, make your work, make your work GOOD, and make as much of it as you can, then put it out there. people notice what you do.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes me wonder what exactly goes into the naming/choosing of a “best artist”. I mean what are the specifics that make an artist leap onto a “best artist” list? I didn’t read the article so I am in the dark or let’s just say the twilight. Is it that they are well known, have talent, have street credit (insert Detroit/near Detroit debate), are they unique (which one of these kids is doing their own thing…come on, you known the Sesame Street tune)…? I’m kind of curious as to what the general criteria is and if anyone would care to elaborate on this and/or why do you think your “bests” are the best…I’d love to hear it.

12:46 PM  
Blogger One Way Street said...

The polarization of boundaries between city & suburbs as an issue of any sort indicates tensions way beyond that of any sort of artistic validation through origin. I would also question whether the idea of authenticity, in this case by virtue of origin, has any actual meaning or ability to endow an artist with greater knowledge beyond the artist's own intelligence, creativity or intuition - that such authenticity is anterior to the artist's skills. This is a dour & deterministic view of humankind: we are limited (in whatever way) to that which we are born, & whatever that is, we are representative of it, likewise we are bound to represent ourselves as such. Case closed. This is not dissimilar from the hierarchies of a factory. I remember the city/suburbs oppositions being as strong in Detroit in the 1970s, & also what seems a similar strong level of insularity, with a furious rancor surrounding this insularity. But where do these symptoms of alienation come from? What produces that? Does an artist in Detroit need to be a Detroit artist?

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well yes, if one is going to compile a list of the 'Best of Detroit' doesn't it make a nice tidy little sound bite package if they all are 'Detroit' as opposed to 'SUBurban' artists. Such categorization is plain stupid and only appeals to those that purchase such magazines as Hour. This does nothing for the artistic community at large. It names a small handfull - and those are the names that stick in the minds of readers simply because its in print and DAN has endorsed them.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

exposure for the group of artists on the 'Best Of' list is exposure for the artist community in Detroit as a whole. i bet those on the list are connected in some way or another with all the other artists in Detroit. i think in some way this is good for us all, ya know.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL okay you got me, it's only good for those on the list, F everyone else :D

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now your using your head instead of your eyes covered by those lovely rose colored glasses. Perhaps you could explain the sort of 'connection' or trickle down effect that you expect to take place.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hour Detroit has very little to do with the city. It's published in the suburbs, most of its readership are suburbanites, and of the artists listed I only know where one of them lives but it's on the furthest edge of Oakland County. That artist also happens to pretty much suck, but so do most Best Of lists.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, but they often provide some support to venues in the city of Detroit. I think the Detroit Artist Market often relies on them for support of one kind or another. Perhaps here is a 'connection' that the other anonymous only suggested. Maybe its only a plug for DAM that has been in such dire financial straights.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dylan is most definitly the best detroit artist. so conseptual and yet elegently aprochable. dame that kids good. his ccs show was so incredible i am still thinking of that shelf. consept in abundumce.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CCS really needs to consider some kind of basic English proficiency requirement.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get it together Detroit. Bickering gets you nowhere.

First off, the "best of" artists are not kids, none of them. I'm pretty sure the youngest one is Taurus Burns, and he's not even that young. They are all hard workers, who've been making art in or around Detroit for some time. I'm happy with this list because I know half of these artists and I know how dedicated they are to their craft.

Give them some credit. There's too many haters on this blog who really should be supporting their fellow artists instead of doing what is so common on this blog, which is simply to bitch and moan.

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question should lead to Dan Graschuck, and what was his criterion for the names on HIS list. I am curious. Maybe they are affiliated with the Artists Market in some manner, as he is the head of the board there. I have nothing against the list....all lists are finite and cant include everybody. Just like the current show at the zeitgeist, what criterion did gilda snowden have for the artists she chose

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny you mention Ms. Gilda. I just read about that Zeitgeist show and they said that she curated herself into it. After all the hand wringing over curators at MOCAD doing the same thing, I wonder if it's acceptable for some people to do that but not others.

Also, how did she get left off that list?

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm pretty sure the youngest one is Taurus Burns, and he's not even that young."

i turned 33 last month :D
<3 taurus

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think its damn funny that the city that invented the means of creating the suburban craze is the one that also wants to have nothing to do with it. I almost believe that being a metro detroiter is more "detroit" then someone actually living within the city limits do to its history. I don t think that i would be completely out of line to say that 95% of the artists that consider themselves as "Detroit" artist haven t spent there entire life residing within the city limits. They are either transplants from the burbs or from another metro area entirely or spent a good chunk of time in another city after being born within city limits. We all attend the same galleries and events within the metro area (Detroit galleries, Cranbrook, Ferndale and Birmingham galleries)and are exposed to a lot of the same within our similiar interests. There is no need for the i am better then you becasue i am from here and you from there complex in the small art pond of detroit.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess it all depends on what you are trying to mean when you say "detroit". It you mean a geographic location, then a simple zip-code cut off works just fine. But you're all delving into the gray area of what it means to be "detroit", or "from" anywhere. These are identity issues.

In the new age of mobility they're all obsolete anyway. But we like to name and group and categorize and cross-categorize and then sell that meta-data to the Nnth degree.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was asked to curate the Zeitgeist show, the possibility of me also showing my work was an option that the gallery directors offered.I thought about it, and decided to include myself because I loved the idea of showing work with my friends Alvaro, Jocelyn, and Saffell.

This fall I am showing work at the Detroit Repertory Theater Gallery [in November], even though I am the gallery director, because the Artistic Director of the theatre, Bruce Millan asked me to. It is the Theatre's 50th Anniversary, so he wanted to showcase the art work of this staff member for the Rep's board and community.

In 1996 I curated a Detroit Artists Exhibition at Cranbrook Museum that included the works of Alvaro Jurado, Jon Strand, Robert Hamilton, Peter Williams, Lila Kadaj, Ruth Lampkins, Valerie Parks, and Renee Dooley. I wasnt in the show proper, and wanted it that way, but the Cranbrook directors asked me to bring 1 work to hang at the front of the museum as a kind of entree to the show. I learned later that this was a tradition at that time, for the guest curator to include 1 piece.

I dont have any problem whatsoever with the list that Dan Graschuck made for the Hour Magazine. The artists on it are all people I respect, and am very happy that they got a mention in a magazine with a large distribution. We all have our lists....if we have an opportunity to promote good art then it behooves us to do it, often, and with enthusiasm.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those interested, here is the URL to Stephen Goodfellow's site that outlines various groups in the Metro art world. It might be a good thing if someone followed through on Ann's suggestion to outline the new collaborative groups around now


5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks mostly like a "most-shown-in-Detroit" list to me. And I'm tired of the Detroit Artist Market having any clout anymore. They are some of most poorly put together shows in the area.

I don't really care about Hour picking somebody easy to list a lot of easy names (no offense to the few in there I like). I guess it's just the lack of respectable art coverage by anyone that makes dumb little lists like this seem significant.

And come on. Mikolowski? The Center Galleries show was one thing but honestly, she wasn't doing anything that you couldn't find in your local suburban stay-at-home-mom gallery. She's on the list because she knew the people. Paid what "dues"?

And my final note. Dues? What the hell are you talking about ???? A list of best Detroit artists should have nothing to do with how long they've lived in Detroit or how hard it was or any of that shit. It ought to be based entirely on the work itself. Dues... God.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah we all have our lists, but it is unfortunate that we all don't have the coverage that 'ol Danny boy gets. The only people that this 'best' list is important to are those that are included on it. Hell, one or two might even sell a peice from it, it does nothing at all for the art community at large. In fact I think it does the art community a disservice. It plays to the idea that making art is some kind of contest and belittles what we do. It's in the same category as the 'most beautiful people' in People magazine - a popoularity contest. Meaningless.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A list of best Detroit artists should have nothing to do with how long they've lived in Detroit or how hard it was or any of that shit. It ought to be based entirely on the work itself. Dues... God."

And who, prey tell, will be the author of this most definitive of lists?

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally identify with a lot of you, I am a Toledo artist and you always have theses people from like Lambertville and Ottawa Hills
frontin' like they're all Toledo, and Im always like dude you are so Ottwa Hills.
Keep it up ya'll it's worth it

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I guess it's just the lack of respectable art coverage by anyone that makes dumb little lists like this seem significant"

now thats a smart comment. While I dont altogether agree with you [thedetroiter.com and this blog by ann do pretty well as far as art coverage goes!] there is a great lack of attention paid to the visual arts community by the 'mainstream media'.

this dumb little list has served one more purpose....everybody wonders about all of the artists that arent on it, so at least twice as many artists are being thought of.

might even stimulate more lists.

lets link all of the lists....and any artist that pops up on a majority of the lists goes onto the 'master list'

not a bad ideea but I have had too much to drink

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's a stupid idea.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was being sarcastic

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know - and it's still a stupid idea. Maybe we could end up with a master of the master list - The best artist ever from Detroit!

10:55 AM  
Blogger woman on the verge said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Curtis,
who will raise your children . . . the day-care??

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why isn't everyone just proud of their city? there are so many people who's studio or gallery is in clarkston or down river but in any media, it's always Detroit. just say you are from clarkston! who cares? OR actually move to Detroit. tell the truth!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this is really stupid!

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick and Ann are great. I take back my comment on no respectable art coverage. We don't have much, but we do have some. What we really don't have is respectable art criticism. He's a very good writer but most of what Nick writes is descriptive and this blog is mostly casual, the criticism often being just a side note to the images.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well any man with a microphone
can tell you what he loves the most..." - The White Stripes

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A list of best Detroit artists should have nothing to do with how long they've lived in Detroit or how hard it was or any of that shit. It ought to be based entirely on the work itself."


So basically, someone who has made 50 fantastic works of art, shown in 35 local/sub-local exhibitions, just graduated from undergrad, and by chance, happens to have only been a serious artist for 3-4 years; you're saying that they deserve as much credit as someone who has literally achieved 5-10 times that much.

Well, I guess if you don't try then you won't get it right? A little advice for the young artist conquerors of Detroit: Keep working! One day you will own everything and the elderly people who've devoted their lives to your newly liberated conquest will all disapear... Yes, that's cynicism. Get real Curtis. You have to earn your keep and that's all I meant by "dues."

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will it take for all you people to learn that ALL art coverage helps art to thrive, and that your negative attitudes are not helping?

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What we really don't have is respectable art criticism."

you sound like a smart young guy who can tie words together. Why dont you write some criticism of shows you see, and share it with the community?

It seems to me that you artists all want the criticism, but arent willing to step up to the plate to make a statement, especially in a town that at the moment has a dearth of that kind of commentary. There has been a long history of artists WRITING about other artists, or poets sharing their thoughts about the visual arts.

We could always use another voice. What about yours?

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Curtis! You can do it.

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curtis always comments on what is current and he's not afraid to 1.) say what he thinks about what he sees and 2) not afraid of his name on his comments.

Curtis can't decline this suggestion because he already does it. It's apart of who he is and how he's thinking. Many great artists have opinions and criticisms to give, in which they do, but they do it on their own accord...not when the people and mass media request it.

It seems that what is being asked is if he wants to write and publish criticism and to conclude, I believe he'll do this one day when he feels the desire to. Until then, he'll make art that will be readily written about.

The end.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So basically, someone who has made 50 fantastic works of art, shown in 35 local/sub-local exhibitions, just graduated from undergrad, and by chance, happens to have only been a serious artist for 3-4 years; you're saying that they deserve as much credit as someone who has literally achieved 5-10 times that much"


Ideally, we'd like to look at the work and the work alone, but it is common for us to look into the artists lives in order to add value. Lame. But if you are much obliged, the thing that sends an artist into greater recognition should be not only persistence, but reinvention. The evidence that this artist is still growing, changing, and challenging the current, whatever that may be. Its so easy for an artist to find a niche, get a name, make money off of it--and continue with that. Its tempting and challenging to fight, but the most exciting are those leaps and bounds that can be seen with the work. Within the work. With the work.

I find it rather lazy of you in your argument to neglect the details of "someone who has achieved 5-10 times that much." What does that mean exactly? Are we talking about 5-10 times as many works of art that are 5-10 times as large that are 5-10 times as expensive that consist of 5-10 times as many materials that took 5-10 times as many years to make.....or 5-10 times as much of an artist (my dad is 5-10 times better than your dad), graduated from 5-10 times as many undergrad and grad schools and is 5-10 times as serious. I don't mean to be rude really, but clarity is much needed.

When considering this slight comparison of the old vs. the new, because this seems to be what is happening here, the fact that their is a history that must be understood, regardless of if it is abided by , spans over both older generation artists (who if they are still working must address the history they created) and newer generations. We can't get away from it. SO the question lies within, what is each artist going to do about it. Understanding where this stuff came from and concluding to why it is here is important only to make wiser and more decisive decisions in the studio, if you're an artists it comes back to that. Where does this fit where I stand, and where do I stand where this is fitting.

When the work deals with this in an informed way then we can potentially have something. Whether you like it or not, or feel it fits in your gallery, well that's to each their own.

Their is also something I want to mention. Of course time has an effect but that's a given, it is the other variables that make shit interesting. Such as the action, what something is doing at the moment, the uncalculated and seemingly independent due to the presence of dependency. In a nutshell, time cannot be ignored but cannot be the end all be all and there are also opportunities for things to be "seemingly independent" of time.

If a young artist has great work and has their shit together they deserve it just as much as any other. We're all on the same playing field.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets try to clear the confusion.


??? metro detroit being detroit...???


I have a feeling the southeast keeps voting for the same shit because they keep concerning themselves with the same shit.

I hear this whiny divide talk once a day, and read it a few times more. just read it in a business publication. you know an argument or idea is getting old when corporate America starts jumping in on it.

Bad habits die hard…right? Sure, why not.

Really, this is an easy concept….

detroit is a city of it;s own. Good or bad.

metro detroit is an accumulation of communities/cities surrounding a city called detroit. This accumulation is often referred to as a suburban community. Simple and a fact, if you live out of a major city center you are living in a suburb/.

So…this does not mean Detroit is bad or that the suburbs are bad.

BUT --- they are VERY different.

In Detroit you inherit a lot of problems to live there. A LOT!

Though things are MUCH better…
Please always remember… the suburbs were developed to avoid the problems in Detroit.
We know… it wasn’t you… your parents, right? Fine, but the history has played out the way it has so we deal as it is.

I believe the feeling is, if you avoid Detroit as a home, you avoid the problems it has. And people who have chosen to NOT take residence have caused the city to suffer greatly. SO… To then claim to be from Detroit while sipping drinks with your cool friends, but not actually live there, you are making a huge claim.

Are you wrong for doing this. Nope. You live in metro detroit. Which has acted as a Detroit place holder because people abandoned the city. Fill out a form for a job. That will tell you exactly where you live.

Lets face it… If you tell people you live in Downtown Detroit you get a much different reaction then telling them metro=Detroit.

The surrounding areas are great and maintain a good creative community that provides exactly what the suburbs have worked for decades to develop. THAT’S GREAT for both Detroit and that surrounding area. Ferndale and other nearby areas are a HUGE reason why Detroit is healing and should be included in the new success of Detroit. ferdale might be a borough of Detroit much like Brooklyn or Queens is to New York City.

Any way you slice it you could be wrong. I probably am. and will be told here/.

FINAL POINT:::::::: Quit being stale and do some big crazy shit so we don’t all have to move away to be famous. Start a theatre or a bad ass bio company or a solar company or a skate park or something.

I like it here.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Sheree Rensel said...

Well, I liked this post. I found it funny in a bizarre way. It inspired me to write my June 10 blog post about this "BEST ARTIST" idea. http://www.shereerensel.blogspot.com/
Oh and if I am in any Detroit Artists group or clan, I think it would be called: “I can see this is FUTILE so I am getting the hell out of here gang of one" LOL LOL LOL
Sheree Rensel
Detroit Artist living in St. Petersburg, Florida
(Do the Detroit city limits reach that far?) :-0

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your first point was well stated. I agree completely, but I would NOT include someone 1-2 years out of undergrad in a best of (entire city) list. I just wouldn't. 3 years maybe if they were showing growth (like you said) and were undoubtedly proving their devotion to being an artist in that city.

Your second point on the other hand was just nitpicking. 5-10 time the achievement; think about it and do the math. Devotion deserves note. That's the way it works. Try getting anything (i.e. grants, residencies, city commisions, exhibitions outside of Detroit, etc.); the fact of the matter is that you won't without the prior achievement.

4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why people feel the need to LEAVE the metro detroit area with sophistication of this level....

Detroit is a finite geographical boundary. If you live two blocks west and you're in another zip code you're no longer in Detroit. Makes it easy to categorize.

That's the great thing about being from NY. Best of NY anything can be the city or the state at large. Much less confusing. Or, more confusing potentially.

The point is that you're all still missing the point.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree that devotion does tell plenty, but I also feel the need to focus the emphasis on the work moreso than time because devotion is just not enough. There are many devoted people as artists; young, old, male, female, black, white, tall, short, but these things should not guide the best of blah blah blah....if one is so tickled to create such a thing.

Compare the difference of struggles between a black female in the sixties trying to be an artist and a white male trying to be an artist, as gripping as it may be....the work should still speak on its own. Devotion equates to persistence through good times and bad. If the artist is as devoted as they claim then it will show in the work. Young, old, white, black, tall, and short.
Now can you define devotion, because obviously that is circumstantial.

:::Shout out to Lester Johnson:::

This is of course, if we MUST talk about the artist's lives in relationship to the work. Which I'm not all about in the first place.

The list is stupid and we know that, but what makes this discussion interesting is the idea of value and accreditation as an artist. We could easily spend another 30 comments on John Currin and Dana Schutz...

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree, the work comes first and foremost, but then what good is a single judge since taste in art is subjective. While I might like the work of Kristen Beaver, you might prefer something along the lines of Jack Johnson, completely different styles. Even more, in the fact that a jury is subjective, there is bound to be some sway given to the artists he or she knows or is friends with. Some of my favorite artists are my friends, and some of "the best" artists, I don't even know. In this, I would say that this list is dismissable, but if you were on it, would it still be.

I think that because this list benefits some Detroiters, that it should be supported. In reality, there are no rules. Everyone who makes an attempt is deserving if he or she is in the right place at the right time. Kick ass and others will take note.

At least they're talking about art. The media talking about art is a key element to a thriving art community. Go to New York or L.A. to live for a year and you will see that the Detroit art community is struggling to prove its worth to the public (and government). This list helps just as any other art coverage would help.

Oh, and by devotion, I mean that they have made the choice to dedicate their lives to their craft no matter how good or bad times have gotten (just like you said).

The matter of race, age, etc. being considered by a jury is seperate in my mind, but I agree with you there as well.


3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At least they're talking about art. The media talking about art is a key element to a thriving art community"


When I saw the amount of editorial 'real estate' Hour magazine devoted to the art article, i was pleased. WHO is on the list is irrelevant, really...the fact that artists were discussed was significant.

Robert Wilbert being featured prominently is a result of his stature in the community, longevity as a painter and teacher of artists, and the quality of his work. Being a former student of his, I was really proud.

In the same week, painter Jocelyn Rainey was featured on the cover of the Metro Times. Great exposure for another artist.

Ann is spearheading a new exhibition space.....One more venue that will extend dialogue.

Craig Paul Nowak has been getting lots of exposure in MODERN PAINTERS mag. When I saw this I immediately imagined the conversations stimulated by this....
"Where is this artist from?"

When the spotlight shines on any artist in the community, it benefits us all. Its all positive, and all can share in the glow.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True to a certain extent, Gilda. It's also great when new galleries pop up in Detroit. But if we don't have the courage to call them on it when they show shit Detroit will never be taken seriously. I'll bet you agree with Bush Jr. on a lot of issues concerning immigration reform but that just isn't enough to not want to kill him.

Publicity is publicity sure enough, but if we don't have the guts to criticize it, it will never get past tabloid level.

Two more points.

First. I love the Beasly.

Second. ???, I love Duchamp and he quit art to play chess. "You're really dedicated" is something you say to people when you don't want to tell them they suck.

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Maybe you should sober up...

Then write something intelligent in the morning to redeem yourself.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush and immigration?

Where did this come from?

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right Gilda. That was a bit of a stretch. What I meant was that yes, this kind of coverage is better than nothing but that isn't enough to stop and be satisfied with it.

I was responding to this statement you made:

"When I saw the amount of editorial 'real estate' Hour magazine devoted to the art article, i was pleased. WHO is on the list is irrelevant, really...the fact that artists were discussed was significant."

WHO is on the list is most certainly not irrelevant. It wouldn't be irrelevant in New York or LA or Chicago and if we let it be irrelevant here we are confirming the idea that Detroit should not be taken seriously as a contributing city to the greater art world.

And ???, what I meant with the Duchamp comment was that dedication is a great quality in a person but has nothing to do with the consideration of the quality of the work. And the work makes the artist to the same extent that the artist makes the work. If a person makes wonderful art in their sleep for one year and then quits they are more significant than someone who makes mediocre work their whole life.

Arthur Rimbaud quit poetry at 19 and is still one of the most significant French poets of all time.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

opinions, opinions. you didn't really explain why you think that who is on the list is "most certainly not irrelevant", curtis. and your foot is still in your mouth with that weird "immigration reform" comment to gilda.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your on the list its relevant, if your not it isn't. Simple as that. This list does not make people aware of art it only caters to art as a contest and a lowest common denominator form of rag writing. It really makes me ill -probably because I'm not on the list.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who really reads hour anyhow?

If this issue wastnt laying around my neighborhood with its horrible looking cover crying for detroiters to slobber over- i wouldnt have given hour a minute of my time.


its a lazy mag with lots of ads and a predictable format.

quit crying. if your an artist on this blog pissed about the representation of artists in detroit via hour magazine....gues what kids???your probably not as artist as you hoped.

blah. and ka ka poopy do.

christ=== hour mag is now our standard of good artists?

i am so happy. very happy.

i cant wait to hear what they say next.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, you said it!

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"opinions. you didn't really explain why you think that who is on the list is "most certainly not irrelevant", curtis. and your foot is still in your mouth with that weird "immigration reform" comment to gilda."

Granted my foot is in my mouth with that comment. I apologize. It didn't make much sense. It was late when I wrote that comment and I was running on three or four hours of sleep in the last three days. If I had woken up in the morning and were able to remove it before anyone saw it I certainly would have.

Moving on. It's not irrelevant for any number of reasons. I can't believe anyone would find content in art coverage pointless. Delegated "art space" is nothing but propagandistic advertisement without content.

It's not irrelevant because if the only art purchased in Detroit is dated than it drives artists looking for new ideas out of the city. Part of the reason almost exclusively dated work is purchased is because no major publications give any attention to anything but dated work. (Other than Nick at the Detroiter)

It is good to criticize the critics. It can ONLY be good. If Detroit is going to become a thriving art city it is imperative that we have quality art coverage.

The whole idea of a top ten list is beauty-magazine shit. I don't mean to imply that this is a low for Hour magazine. It's perfectly predictable, but wouldn't it be nice if we could encourage them to step it up?

On the other hand, no support makes for hungry artists. That's why we have so much great shit leaving the state.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


what do you mean dated? (details and examples please)

because if you mean what i think you mean, then that work isn't dated, it's just different from what you and your friends make.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont want to leave anyone with the impression that I think that there is no room for critical dialogue. Of course I believe that this kind of social intercourse is needed, nay, essential, for a thriving community. We have had a history of this kind of pointed dialogue here, which is why

it pleases me to see the 'back-and-forth' that takes place between the intelligent posters on this and other blogs.

List-making is not a pursuit that I relish. The last time I had the opportunity to do so in abundance was when I gave a lecture at Cranbrook in conjunction with the exhibition I curated in 96. It always bothered me that I could only show 8 artists because of the space limitations. Before the lecture I put out a call for all artists in the Metro Detroit area to send me 2 slides each; I planned to make my talk a litany of what our community consisted of. There were no limitations on media, age, stature, etc. Enough work examples were sent that I was able to show work for 90 minutes.

Curtis, I dont discount or disagree with the basic premise you offer. Please realize, though, that my pleasure in seeing artists get ANY recognition in print, in HOUR or in any other forum is a result of 'growing up' as it were, spoiled.

There were so many writers around here covering the art scene.....Sandra Yolles, Manon Meilgaard, Lynn Crawford, Gerry Craig, Vince Carducci, Jim Gustafson, George Tysh, Ibn Pori Pitts, Roger Green, Jim Hart, Jamie Kirchner, Dennis Nawrocki, Dolores Slowinski, Dwight Smith, Joy Colby, Marsha Miro, and a number of others I cant recall at the moment. There were outlets such as the Chicago Art Examiner, the Detroit Focus Quarterly, and Mary Fortuna's GROUND UP--that were the precursors to blog culture. I even spent 3-4 years writing reviews of shows that touched me, because I could get them published in the Chicago Art Examiner, Dialogue [Columbus],and ArtPapers out of Atlanta; there was a true interest in art from the Rust Belt, Detroit in particular.

Add to this the fact that we could 'count on' getting our shows covered in the daily papers, regularily. Joy in the News and Marsha in the Free Press had reviews every week, as well as comprehensive articles on this group of artists or that group of artists.

On any given evening artists gathered at Alvin's, or Niki's Pizza, or the International, or Cobb's to 'discuss' work. Some of those more volatile 'discussions' were talked about the next day. This faction against that faction and so on.

But as time passed and things and attitudes in the society at large changed, the amount of coverage for the arts around here diminished to almost nothing. Of course HOUR magazine is *not* ARTS.....a truly great magazine that stopped publishing a long number of years ago....[go to the library and find back issues. This periodical put Art In America to shame....there were very few ads and the editorial content was stellar. And even though it was published in NY they didnt stay there; one issue had Gordon Newton as the cover article.....]

but HOUR showed some artists. Metro Times too. Hell, even VOGUE has periodic coverage of artists. These tomes are NOT ArtForum or Tema Celeste, and everybody knows it. Whatever art that is there has to be seen within the context of a trendy restaurant guide, or sex ads, or Kate Moss selling something.

Which artists are on whatever list? which ones shouldnt have been mentioned? the statement is made that "if we let it [choices of artists?] be irrelevant here we are confirming the idea that Detroit should not be taken seriously as a contributing city to the greater art world". Yes, there has to be curatorial responsibility, but not necessarily because we are trying to "keep up" with NY or Chicago or LA. The DNA of this arts community is imprinted by the hard-scrabble history of this area. The flavor is decidedly different and unique, and as far as I am concerned, is equal to the other three. When I travel to other arts centers and it becomes known that i am an artist from the Metro Detroit area, i have never recieved disrespect because of it.

Again, the dialogue has to re-start somewhere. If it stimulates writer/artists/observers to comment critically, or start a gallery, or promote their community in any way, I applaud. That is what I was doing when I mentioned the list favorably.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets end this thread. Thanks.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are not problems of Detroit, these are problems of the art community. Period. media. Period.

you could say that detroit gets even less quality coverage than NY or LA, but coverage is systematically dwindling everywhere. It just is. I just got back from BEA in NYC and having gabbed with most of the major publishing powerhouses and sat through endless lectures about what media is going to look like in 2, 5, and 10 years I can tell you with 100% certainty that what you're trying to foist as a problem of detroit isn't anything personal. it's much larger than detroit.

'We' as a community have to come up with ways to counteract(replace) this type of degrading(as in deteriorating quality) coverage/publicity/notoriety/acknowledgment, etc. ourselves. This is the New Media Model. The first step is to critique the status quo which you are all loquaciously capable of doing. The 2nd step (which I see considerably less of) is individuals taking responsibility to be the change they want to see: write the reviews, maintain blogs, self-publish magazines. it's so easy and affordable to do now. If not you--- who? That's why I applaud all of Ann's efforts on this site and beyond.

And, good lord, if the book is dead the newspaper/tabloid industries are rotting zombies. Don't look to publications like 'hour' for anything but packing material (in NY, Detroit, OR LA!). how can you expect them to recognize anything of contemporary importance when they're so dense that they haven't even realized their own medium is dead.

THAT is why this best of list is impotent. not because of who is or isn't on it, but because of who commissioned it.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best of list sure caused quite a reaction around here... i wouldn't necessarily call it impotent. i do agree with the being the change one wants to see though.. many like to point fingers and blame the other yet the problem always begins within oneself. i sometimes wonder if the biggest change most of the gripers here want to see is their name included on a best of list somewhere like Hour Detroit, but since it's not they're like F#*@ Hour Detroit.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tonight there is a panel discussion about the state of cultural prose in our community-
State of the Arts: Arts Writing in Detroit
8-10pm at MoCAD

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It only matters if you were included on the list. If your not included its impotent and inane. It does nothing for the art community at large - its filler.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the best artist on my own best artist list and no one else is included.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon -- you're wrong. it's just as impotent if you were included as if you were not because (as i said above) it will gain those who were included no further notoriety or publicity. it will not put their names in front of someone who hasn't seen them before, and since hour has no standing or authority...

it's nothing more than a weak ego stroking. and since ego stroking is a far cry from intercourse, I stand by my earlier description. impotent. there is nothing to be jealous of here.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did someone just fart? I thought i heard a fart. sounded like one of those 74 post blog discussions that never die. uht oh.. i hear the belly boiling. it may not be over.

i better go sit down and let it work its self out

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah...and it was a big one. can you smell it over there?

2:13 PM  

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