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Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit Instiute of Arts
Detroit, MI

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Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48202
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Exhibitions:

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking

Experience & Expression

Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020

Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958-2008: An exhibition celebrating blue-collar workers throughout Southeast Michigan


Events

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking
Sat, Mar 20, 2021 — Sun, Sep 5, 2021
chwartz Galleries of Prints and Drawing

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking celebrates both the artist and the democratic and diverse creative community he developed. Born of Jamaican immigrants and raised in Harlem, Blackburn was an innovative printmaker and influential teacher. Blackburn explored avant-garde ideas while promoting a new collaborative approach to printmaking. The exhibition contains more than 75 works, including lithographs, woodcuts, intaglio prints, and watercolors by Blackburn and the artists with whom he collaborated, including Elizabeth Catlett, Grace Hartigan, Robert Rauschenberg, and Charles White.

Blackburn was raised in Harlem, New York, during the Harlem Renaissance, an unparalleled flourishing of the arts centered in New York City’s Black community. The arts were considered crucial to the well-being of society as well as a fertile medium for activism and these values resonated with Blackburn throughout his life and work. In 1947, he founded a printmaking workshop as a welcoming space where artists of any level and from any background could learn and create together and it remains in operation to this day.

Over six decades as an artist, Blackburn gradually shifted from figurative work to highly colored abstraction. His early work reflected the powerful example of the Mexican muralists and the activist view of Social Realists addressing poverty and race in the 1930s. By the 1940s, like many other young artists, Blackburn had turned to abstraction, focusing on the exploration of color, composition, and mark making.

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and curated by Deborah Cullen-Morales, in cooperation with the Trust for Robert Blackburn and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts’ Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Program. This exhibition is supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation and funding from the Smithsonian’s Provost Office.

Experience & Expression
Through, Oct 3, 2021

To create the art of our time, artists often draw on their own experiences of the world—from the personal to the political, from the aesthetic to the commercial, from the individual to the collective, from the spiritual to the material.

While the Detroit Institute of Arts presents Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020 in the contemporary art galleries, please enjoy this small selection of works acquired over the past decade as generous gifts or by purchase. This installation has been divided into three sections, which explore the use of abstraction and figuration; the experimentation with traditional and novel materials; and the definition of self and others. All of these works invite you to look closely, to ask questions, and to connect with your experiences.

Housing the art of many cultures, the DIA seeks to collect and present works by artists of diverse backgrounds and cultures, sharing the individuality and universality of experiences, ideas, and concerns around the world and at home.

Experience & Expression
Jan 30, Oct 3, 2021

To create the art of our time, artists often draw on their own experiences of the world—from the personal to the political, from the aesthetic to the commercial, from the individual to the collective, from the spiritual to the material.

While the Detroit Institute of Arts presents Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020 in the contemporary art galleries, please enjoy this small selection of works acquired over the past decade as generous gifts or by purchase. This installation has been divided into three sections, which explore the use of abstraction and figuration; the experimentation with traditional and novel materials; and the definition of self and others. All of these works invite you to look closely, to ask questions, and to connect with your experiences.

Housing the art of many cultures, the DIA seeks to collect and present works by artists of diverse backgrounds and cultures, sharing the individuality and universality of experiences, ideas, and concerns around the world and at home.

Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020
Through Jan 9, 2022

In celebration of Detroit’s history as the hub of American automotive design, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presents the special exhibition Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020, from November 15, 2020 through June 27, 2021.

The exhibition highlights the artistry and influence of Detroit car designers working between 1950 and the present day. The exhibition will feature 12 coupes and sedans inside the permanent collection galleries that feature significant achievements in style and technology. The exhibition includes unique examples of celebrated, experimental show cars created for display as well as iconic production models sold to the mass market. Design drawings, many of them rarely seen by the public, and archival photographs will help visitors experience the creative and innovative processes that bring a vehicle from the drawing board to the road.

The exhibition is an opportunity for visitors to learn how designers create the beautiful forms of the cars that captivate our imaginations. The cars and drawings on display are striking examples of their inventive skill. They also document the changing landscape of American culture from 1950–2020, using new technologies to appeal to the fantasies and ambitions of their day.

The cars, four representing each of the Big Three American automakers, will share the galleries with a selection of modern and contemporary paintings and a sculpture that highlight the conversation between the American art world and car culture.

“The automotive industry and the city of Detroit are synonymous with one another, so it seems only fitting that the DIA be the museum to showcase the rich history of car design in the city,” said DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons. “This exhibition will showcase the similarities between the art of car design and the creative process sculptors of the past used to create their masterpieces. Just like sculptors, they start with drawings and preliminary sketches, then produce clay models and from there, “manufacture” the final product.”

Detroit Style marks the first time cars have been inside the museum since 1983. Some of the highlights include a 1958 General Motors Firebird III, an experiment in futuristic space age design with towering fins and an early version of autonomous driving technology. The 1970 Plymouth Barracuda is a legendary Detroit pony car that captured the world’s imagination and still defines the attitude and prowess of American cars. The 2017 Ford GT supercar shows how designers reinterpret the past with new materials and technology to shape visions of the future.

Other exhibition highlights include the emotionally resonant painting Rusting Red Car in Kuau (1984) by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) which explores the personal resonances of cars that mark both success and difficult journeys. Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas (1963) by Edward Joseph Ruscha (born 1937) is an icon of Pop Art, capturing an American landscape of spaces and symbols shaped by and for the car.

“This exhibit is a love letter to Detroit, and a celebration of an artform pioneered in our own backyard, said Ben Colman, curator of the Detroit Style exhibition. “It is a privilege to share some of the stories of the Detroit designers who transformed the modern world with their work.”

Due to the current global pandemic, school field trips to the museum are on hold until further notice but the museum’s Education Department is working to create a series of educational resources that can be accessed by both parents and teachers online. There are also plans for an educator workshop surrounding the exhibition.

Additional elements of the exhibition include a playlist of verbal descriptions, available on the museum’s YouTube page, designed to increase accessibility and to give visitors with vision loss access to select vehicles and artworks in the exhibition.

Visitors and individuals at home will be invited to create their own drawing of a car to submit. A selection of submitted drawings will be featured in the exhibition throughout its run. A worksheet has been created to help inspire people’s ideas. The worksheet will be available on the museum’s website once the exhibition opens, and can be submitted via social media platforms using the #CarsDIA hashtag.

A playlist will be available on the DIA’s YouTube page and website featuring in-depth video interviews with designers in the automotive industry including Emeline King, Ed Welburn, Craig Metros, and Ralph Gilles.

Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020 is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Major funding is generously provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund, General Motors, and Mrs. Jennifer Adderley in loving memory of her husband, Mr. Terence E. Adderley.

Additional funding is provided by the Marvin and Betty Danto Family Foundation, FCA US LLC, The Suburban Collection, Jennifer & David Fischer and Darcy & David Fischer, Jr., and Consolidated Rail Corporation on behalf of William Milliken.

Additional support is provided by Barbara and William U. Parfet, TCF National Bank, The Fisher & Company Family, and the Friends of African & African American Art.

Major funding for the exhibition catalogue is generously provided by the Margaret Dunning Foundation.

For more information on the exhibition visit: dia.org/detroitstyle.(opens in new window)

Admission to the exhibition is included with general museum admission, which is always free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. At this time visitors are required to reserve a timed museum admission ticket before arrival. Mask are required to enter the museum. Admission to the exhibition will be limited to allow for proper social distancing inside the exhibition space.

Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958-2008: An exhibition celebrating blue-collar workers throughout Southeast Michigan
Nov 15, 2020 — Sun, Jun 27, 2021

Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958–2008, opens Nov. 15, 2020 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, closing June 27, 2021. The exhibition presents more than 90 photographs by Marshall, whose black-and-white images highlight Detroit’s streets, architecture, music scene and factory workers. The photographs document six decades of blue-collar life, capturing the changing industrial, and societal landscapes of the city over that time. The exhibition is free with museum admission, which is free for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

From 1975 through 2005, Marshall worked as a freelance photographer for local and national labor and trade magazines. During this time, he took some of his most compelling images, such as labor portraits and candid photos, shot alongside the assembly line workers in factories, shops and plants throughout Detroit, as well as at Dearborn’s Ford Rouge plant, General Motors plants in Flint, Mich., and in other areas of the Midwest.

Detroit Photographs explores five themes presented as sections in the exhibition: Everyday Detroit, Public Life, Workers, Sounds of Detroit, and Turning His Lens Toward Europe. Everyday Detroit features Marshall’s photographs of people at newsstands, factories, and parades. Public Life is a compilation of images from various social settings throughout the city, including hippies at the 1967 Belle Isle Love-In, and business leaders, and socialites at exclusive events. In Workers, Detroit auto assembly line and other factory workers the humanity behind manufacturing, as well as the rapid changes of the auto industry. Many of the factories he visited closed shortly after the photographs were taken. Sounds of Detroit highlights the city’s jazz and blues scene with images of singers, musicians, and Detroit’s buzzing nightlife. The exhibition closes with a special selection of photographs taken in Europe from 1987 to 1990, including images of the Berlin Wall before it was torn down.

Nancy Barr, DIA Curator of Photography, worked with Marshall for two years on the selections for the exhibition. She notes, “Russ has a great affinity for Detroit and its culture, having worked in the city for so many years. He captured the beauty of its vast industrial landscape, its architecture and landmarks like Michigan Central Station. He also immortalized the spirit and diversity of the people who walked its streets and worked in its factories. We also get a sense for his interest in music from photographs of live performances all over the city.”

Marshall’s love of jazz, blues and poetry inspired YouTube and Spotify playlists he curated especially for the DIA. Links to these and other online offerings, including a virtual exhibition tour and brochure, teacher lesson plans, and large print labels will be available on our website and social media channels.

Born in 1940 in a small town in Pennsylvania, Marshall was raised in a blue-collar family. Three years later, they relocated to Detroit where his father found work on the Chrysler assembly line. He developed an interest in photography as a teenager, shooting on the city’s downtown streets and capturing Detroit’s people and sights. From 1960–1964, he enlisted in the Navy and became a U.S. Naval aviation still camera photographer. Returning to Detroit, he continued his own photography in addition to pursuing a professional career. Throughout his mid-to-late career, he participated in solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums in and around Detroit. Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958–2008 is his first solo exhibition for a major museum and draws on work from the permanent collection, which was largely gifted by the artist to the DIA in recent years.

Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958–2008 is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Major Funding is generously provided by TCF Bank. Additional support is given by the Friends of Prints, Drawings & Photographs, Dr. Cynthia Chow and David B. Chow, Lindsey and Tom Buhl, and Alessandro F. Uzielli.

For more information on this exhibition, visit: dia.org/RussMarshallDetroitPhotographs(opens in new window)

Admission to the exhibition is included with general admission, which is always free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. At this time visitors are required to reserve a times museum admission ticket before arrival. Masks are required to enter the museum.
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