Sunday, September 16, 2007

russell artfest

I knew that the russell events were a big thing when I got a phone call from my mom asking what time I was going. Not that my mom's not a hip lady, but I didn't know that the word about the russell's events had spread past certain artist groups and tenants included. It is so strange and fast that the russell has exploded as the "art spot" hosting many studios, small businesses, glass studios, make-shift and established galleries and many other experimental spaces. As positive as this big fair/show was it still has far to come. First off, I recommend a little curation happening. I will say it again, one thing detroit lacks is curators to jury big events like this. Sure you are excited and want to let everyone in but the quality of art down in the alleys was pretty poor. I was thinking it would have been a step up from art fairs but instead the cool evening and decaying building made the tents look grim and sparse. That said, things on the inside were better, or at least selectively better. But this ain't no chelsea district!

Here's the second, I haven't seen this part of the building...everything looks so finished. Where are the plywood walls?

So, there was a lot of art like this...

...and then the standout installation was in the Detroit Industrial Projects (DIP) gallery.
Works on paper and canvas
Serbian artist, Srdjan Segan

And in usual russell center fashion, here posted was the sign to the artist collective group upstairs. Don't miss that might end up lost in the back building with the rats....

yes, more helpful signs :)

And, here we go - the artists collective group, artists involved:
Vincent Troia, Jenny Ziegler, Vanessa
Merrill, Kevin Beasley, Nate Morgan, Linda Baracat,
Gil Vasquez

I was really into the installation set up by the artist/ccs gang. I felt more attention to an overlying theme/idea was taken as a whole instead of each artist having their own random object setups. I brought in a whole bunch of my own meaning and it resonated even more...but you will have to check it out for yourself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the lack of descent (at best)art outside had more to do with the fact that it was free for artists to participate. I'm sure the Russell will eventually add costs to this event as time goes on and some of those "artists" will not be back.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's not about adding costs, it's about adding curation.

grow up, detroit. your faux-hippie "free fest" ways are bringing you down.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous, while i totally agree that there was some hack representation, don't discount the much more qualified artists that were present, several of whom get good "press" here and in other local media

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the work outside was especially "art fair-ish" though I would say a big step up from events like Arts and Apples, or the Village Art Fair, both which take place in Rochester during the summer, and both of which consist of a bunch of sunday painters and basket weavers. The art inside was decent, though a lot of the presentation looked slapped together. The artist's work whose paintings were in the hallway on the 2nd floor (Sikora) looked at times identical to each other. There were 2 paintings of his in particular that looked like the same exact painting. There was also a lot of wasted space. I walked into one fairly large room that was completely bare except for a few small drawings pinned on the wall that took up maybe 6 feet of space. The rest of the room had nothing on the walls. It seemed like a waste of space. I enjoyed the installation of the figure drawings on the long paper. I thought his work was pretty strong. There was one room where this guy was selling "how to paint murals" videos and had all this gaudy cheesy work on the walls. One of which was a painting of a horse with some sort of ruby on its head in a giant gold frame. I thought it was a joke at first until I saw the videos he was selling and realized he probably things that's a really beautiful painting.

There were a lot of pot-smoking hippie types there and people walking around drinking 40's out of brown paper bags, which sort of made it a much less classy event for me.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is Curtis Glenn in that artist collective group? He's the only one missing out of that clique.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know why CCS isn't producing a larger variety of artists who each has their own unique vision, that isn't so dirivative or at least influenced by their neighbors work? You can only do so much with altered junk. Am I right or am I right? I'm just saying, what else is going on out there?

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about the need for some gate keeping on quality out on the driveway. I dug the "melancholy hammer" assemblage and general anthropomorphic acrobatics of the found-object(tools etc.)craftsman.
Also lingered with the ugly-pillow critters outside. ;)

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The collective installation on the 3rd floor has seven individual artists, each with varying approaches with their own work. The show at Russell is exactly what it appeared to be...a collaborative installation. This was a group effort with a group vision. All seven artists still have their own "unique vision" it wasn't necessary to display that for this installation.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(me) There are more schools than just CCS in the area producing artists. It's just that this blog / coverage are a little biased/skewed to focus on that. Which is all good, because no one source can be representative of Everything (capitol E).

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me, the forest is deep and filled with many types of trees. CCS is only one source for artists. Look around, open your eyes, and get a sense of the richness of the local artistic is not limited to the tri-county area.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh m.,

you and your ever-knowingness.

can't wait until you start the most perfect, balanced, objective blog ever.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes. we need m to take over this blog and show everyone thinking is done.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

m and crayoner,

my comment was not without prior knowledge. I know/knew the artists that my comment refers to. And they are CCSers. Yes the world is vast, but my question was a legitimate question about CCS and the artists that it is producung. Now, does anyone have a reply that isn't defensive or doesn't stray from the question. With art comes criticism.

Questions will be asked. Answers should be concise and at least remotely educated. It sounds like a lecture... sorry.

Just consider the question if you will. There is a trend. Are the instructors inspiring this trend, and is it realistically worth so many young artists exploring the same general idea? What's the deal here?

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some instructors at ccs support work such as the installation you saw. But generally they're supporting an individual and not a genre of art. Colleagues of the supported artist see the support as validation or success (or are working in that direction anyway). Then adapt it and call it their own (which it is). Having attended ccs with many of these artists, I can state this as my own observation. I don't think trends are a good way to produce art.

Also, ccs doesn't 'produce' artists. Bloggers need to be more careful with their language (and spelling).

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt the stab. sorry for the spelling mistake.

Thanks for the honest answer

P.S. Artists who graduate from CCS are indeed products of CCS.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, most of the art wasn't all that good. But hey, it's their first year, and I thought it was a pretty good Fest for the first time out. We'll see what improvements are in the offing next year.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think next year the russell fest will have to decide what it wants to be. Mostly music, or fine art or an art fair?? It got a lot of people down there, but with a spotty selection, will that bring people back more than a few times? There was amaturish stuff and too many tshirts. I saw some good stuff outside too, as well as inside. Its possible bad art will jury itself out because it didnt sell at all. I had a booth of admittedly "easy art" small collages to sell to help support the art I do that's more complicated and hard to sell. It was nice to have a place to actually SELL something for CASH! I did well. So I hope they keep the art fair part, but maybe with some jurying, maybe it could be like the Bucktown art fair in Chicago--quirky eccentric fine crafts and art. It would also be fascinating if they had some giant fine art thing, there is so much space there, enough for a zillion installations!

Teresa P

9:29 PM  

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