Saturday, October 31, 2009

Breeding Ground: New Detroit Sculpture at MONA

last friday, on my way home from work, I stopped by MONA (Museum of New Art in Pontiac, MI) to take a look at the exhibition Breeding Ground: New Detroit Sculpture, co-curated by Kevin Beasley and Christopher Samuels, which featured the works of Nathan Morgan, Abigail Newbold, Andrew Thompson, and the Detroit Projection Project (as well as the curators'), dispersed in four galleries and two floors, all delineated and labeled in a convenient map.

due to a scheduling conflict, I was unable to come to the opening reception, which greatly diminished my experience of the pieces displayed - the scale and interaction with the human body (other than mine, and that of multiple bodies) could potentially and significantly have affected my responses, as well as seeing the works at night (as opposed to 2 in the afternoon).

in preparation to the panel discussion to take place on November 01 at 4 pm, the gallery that features the works by Nathan Morgan was modified from its original arrangement. I am aware that my reading of his art may not have been 100% aligned with his intended choice, so I elected not to write about it (though what I perceived seemed interesting). the brevity of my visit also did not allow me to fully experience the two video works by the Detroit Projection Projects (aka Steve Coy and Brandon Wally), so I will not write about these works either. for the purpose of this blog I thought this would be the best option - I am certain more opportunities to look at their works will arise in a near future.

there were a few words floating in my head as I looked at the works presented. they, in one way or another, could be applied to all works seen, in both positive and negative aspects.

S: (adj) facile (arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth) "too facile a solution for so complex a problem"
S: (adj) facile (performing adroitly and without effort) "a facile hand"
S: (adj) eloquent, facile, fluent, silver, silver-tongued, smooth-spoken (expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively) "able to dazzle with his facile tongue"; "silver speech"
S: (adj) transcendent, surpassing (exceeding or surpassing usual limits especially in excellence)
S: (adj) transcendent (beyond and outside the ordinary range of human experience or understanding) "the notion of any transcendent reality beyond thought"
S: (n) transformation, transmutation, shift (a qualitative change)
S: (n) transformation ((mathematics) a function that changes the position or direction of the axes of a coordinate system)
S: (n) transformation (a rule describing the conversion of one syntactic structure into another related syntactic structure)
S: (n) transformation ((genetics) modification of a cell or bacterium by the uptake and incorporation of exogenous DNA)
S: (n) transformation, translation (the act of changing in form or shape or appearance) "a photograph is a translation of a scene onto a two-dimensional surface"

on the first floor, in the Front Window gallery I encountered the works by Andrew Thompson. I have seen and enjoyed some of his works in other exhibitions, but did not notice a particular correlation to what I have seen him produce before to these, with the exception that a personal narrative seems to lie somewhere between the artist's mind and the title of the piece(s). Constituted of refuse and recyclable materials, an inference to the human body (via humanoid shapes, silhouettes and house/dwelling) was made throughout the space. while I can see that these work relate to the vague exhibition description found online (Detroit as a scavenger's paradise), I do not particularly understand why and how this garbage/recycling aesthetic has to do ONLY with Detroit, but with any urban setting - I am also not sure how the word "new" applies here, as works like this have been made for a long time, every where, in both high and low art. While laborious and obsessive in appearance, process and scale, and with beautiful but very minute sections (the weaving of plastic grocery bags come to mind) the pieces overall seemed facile to me, slightly obvious, and not transformative enough from its original source materials - nor did it transcend enough (or at all) its current museum setting - too much of a good thing sometimes is just too much. perhaps an outdoor installation would have shed a more interesting light onto these. I also wonder where these materials will go to once the work is deinstalled - I fear that it might end up where it came from, and to some extent potentially reinforce or contribute to what is being critiqued (this last thought could be applied to the exhibition as a whole actually).

moving along upstairs I first visited the North gallery where the works of Christopher Samuels and Kevin Beasley were installed. Samuels' use of prefabricated materials and construction tools provided an elegant solution at times. the image above depicts in two views by far my favorite piece of his, which led me to believe (in retrospect) that here what had occurred is what lacked in other parts of the exhibition. this untitled piece transported me outside Detroit, outside Pontiac, outside MONA, and even outside my own physicality - I concentrated on the fragility of the form in front of me, and the implied tension and descension. the fact that it was installed in the most neutral section of the museum aided my experience. the other sculptures by Samuels , displayed in other two alcove, were not as successful to me. the thought that came to mind was that the work seemed mostly "staged", rather than installed (the word facile again resurfacing). for me that was not satisfying. titles (or at least numbers) and a statement would endow focus to these. the poetics of his pieces were also diluted and lost to me given their proximity to one another - it could be interesting if each artist had work in all four galleries and therefore dialogue with one another.

adjacent to Samuels' were Kevin Beasley's works, which to me appeared to center mostly on the congealing of found materials in mutable substances, as well as what I assume to be found objects, with the repeating of round shapes somewhat prevalent. while transformation here was a more evident concern than in Samuels', the transcendence again lacked. his recent solo exhibition at the org.contemporary gallery allowed me to experience Beasley's work under a much more appropriate light (pun intended), his vision there clearer and simpler but more poignant than here, and the beauty of his simplicity seemed more intentional then as well. While navigating through the space here I had a hard time understanding what was purposeful and what was accidental/already there (the North gallery is not spare on industrial fixtures that have a similar texture and feel to Beasley's art), but not in an intriguing or complex manner but rather distracting and dissatisfying (as if I had taken a bite on a piece of fruit and tasted texture but not flavor). it could be interesting that, in their goal of articulating Detroit, these artists could have reconfigured/neutralized the MONA spaces more by remodeling them (even wall paint and carpet removal) prior to installing their work - a makeover practice that Detroit itself needs more, from a grass-roots and proactive position (as a history - of peoples, objects, towns, etc - can be displayed as an interpretation, rather than as an index). I would be curious to see Beasley's work at the Cave, or similar setting.

last but not least I moved over to the South gallery (the main MONA space) to the works by Abigail Newbold. While the facile aspect of other works in this exhibition veered towards the random, here I found an ease of entry/encountering that was truly joyful. Newbold transformed the materials she utilized (a combination of found knickknacks and mass-produced furnishings with home-improvement store supplies) into large but portable platform environments that were both funny, intimate, familiar and somewhat forlorn. her pieces also transported me away from the (literal and metaphorical) surrounding noise of the gallery, and had the potential of physically me transport me outside the gallery too, because they rest on industrial-sized casters (I imagine that any attempts of moving these in their entirety might aide in their own demise, since they were assembled in loco and potentially too large to fit into its elevators, a concept in and of itself extremely pertinent to this geography). their titles also imply a distant location (with a hint of resort getaway or homemade simulacra to boot). while they reminded me of Australian artist Adam Norton's work quite a lot (and many others who work in a futuristic modular-home approach), I was able to push those thoughts aside immediately and really see their poetic possibilities. in my view these pieces complexly spoke about Detroit, about living in Detroit, about being and thinking Detroit (and/or what I imagine all of these to be to many other individuals) - of an uncertain fear and dignified grace, with a dash of kitsch and sass amidst its post-industrial dissolution and blurred boundaries; that desire to simultaneous leave and set roots (here and somewhere else). these qualities would position this work to exist and interact with a local social perception elsewhere, not just here, and speak to the transient nature of a globalized but interconnected society, and its citizens.

my reading and experiencing of the art might have been somewhat different if the facilities of MONA were also further neutralized (sans carpet, stains and inconsistent wall color and surface, etc). I hope their new annex gallery at the Russell will solve some of these issues of space/environmental interference on works of art and continue giving the opportunities for the new generations of artists to best display their works, because MONA is one of (if not the most) interesting alternative spaces in the metro area.

I only wish I had been able to attend the opening reception and conversed with the artists to get a better understanding of their work. ditto in regards to the panel discussion (my sincere apologies). I also wish that the texts provided online were better articulated, not filled with vague generalizations about sculpture and Detroit (as well as statements by each artist, which I did not find, this of course could be my mistake). the somewhat repetitive statement of placing their art practice as unique (have we not moved past the avant-garde quest?) and socially engaging (what constitutes a "social landscape" anyway and why is that exclusive to here?) without ever defining what those terms t actually mean or meant within this curatorial program, lacked a much-needed substance that could broaden what their practice can/could be and become. as is, the ephemerality of some pieces might veer into non-existence and oblivion, rather than transcendence.

what may make the works in Breeding Ground relevant to our times is not their connection to Detroit or urbanity or their sculptural statement/manifesto... but what happens with these works once they leave this gallery space.

click here to visit MONA's Breeding Ground page
click here to visit the Cave gallery
click here to visit the org.contemporary gallery
click here to read an article on Adam Norton


  1. Thanks for spending what time you could with the show and sharing your thoughts. I always appreciate it when people speak critically of artwork beyond positive buzz.


  2. thanks Andy, I hope what I wrote was fair, as it was sincere.... and I hope you know I am as critical of my own work, if not more =-)

    I've heard you have critique groups, or have had them.... is that still going on?

  3. I wish you'd been able to attend the panel discussion, it was a worthwhile afternoon and an excellent conversation. Having missed the opportunity to talk with the artists directly about the work the night of the opening, there are definitely some gaps in understanding. Kevin, Chris and Nate's installations especially were greatly enriched by conversations with the artists. Maybe that could be addressed with more elaboration in artists statements, both in the catalog and in the venue. The eternal argument persists vis a vis the need for elaboration versus the ability of works of art to stand up to scrutiny without benefit of further dialog. I'm always happy to see someone offer a critique rather than the standard pat on the back. In this close-knit community I think we're all too afraid to offend each other by raising questions. Re: the problem of the neutrality of the space, or lack thereof: Jef wants to get rid of the carpet. Everyone wants to get rid of the carpet. It's been damaged by careless previous installations and years of traffic. That's a problem that rests with the landlord, and the particular circumstances of the availability of the borrowed space. The landlord won't allow the carpet to be removed, so we're stuck with it. I'm not so distracted by the variations in wall color. I think you may have missed one element that Kevin set up, a conversation between an existing vent or cold air return and added elements. I noticed it, probably because I used to work behind the desk where it was located, and was sensitive to the intervention; it was a very subtle interaction, and might easily have been missed by others.

  4. Again as a result of having missed a direct conversation with the artists - you may have assumed all of Kevin's objects, apart from the "swamp thing" agglomerations (is that a word?) were found objects. There are several very skillfully fabricated steel sculptures, beautifully made geometric forms. I enjoyed their casual, almost haphazard placement among the messy cast resin elements.

  5. excellent post! i too am glad to read a nice critical remark on the work as opposed to the 'pat on the back' For me, this show has really blown open and cemented some previous inclinations on my own process of art making and feel considerably more comfortable at pursuing a particular trajectory... or in other words... i like the stud wall pieces and want to make more! With the aid of Mary's words, i think this post is great!

  6. Hi guys, I am glad you are enjoying the blog and its ensuing discussions... this is why I started this, for us all to grow as a community.

    Mary, another reason I started this was to sort of document and thread "what everyone always talks about" (the carpet for example, and thanks for the added history, I learned something today!)... in regards to Kevin's work, I knew some/most were not found, hence the use of the word congealed... it was hard getting focused on writing about one artist and then transposing it to the show at large...

    Chris, glad you've got something from the show, it is obvious that a lot of work took place there... I often find that the value of critique is how it aids in what I do thereafter, either via encouragement or to spite a reading of the work... promoting this communication/dialogue amongst ourselves will only makes us all grow... that is what I enjoy about having my work critiqued... I solidify y claims as an artist.

    last but not least, one common vein of my perspective is looking at writing in relation to the subject of writing.... that is something I find extremely important... if little writing (by the artist and/or curator) is present it is either because there is little there in the first place or because not enough consideration and contemplation took place...

    I hope you all know that the reason why I wrote about Breeding Grounds is because the works made me think... they stimulated me a lot, and for me that is a wonderful thing... =-D

    if there is ever a show where I write two sentences, then that is a problem lol
    keep the thread going, this has made my day =-)

    PS: congrats to all involved, artists, curators and Jef/MONA

    PS#2: keep me posted on your next endeavors...

  7. finally!

    Vagner, I really enjoy your consideration and approach to the exhibition because you bring up some valid issues.

    In regards to Andy's piece and the question of where it will go afterward, is an interesting one because his pieces in particular came from his studio. I see no problem with the work going back to the studio to then be repurposed but at the panel he mentioned a person interested in the tv from the front window for when the exhibition comes down. What i enjoy and feel is a strength of his pieces and sometimes mistaken intentions, is the transformational path. Where it goes is of utmost importance and I think transcendence is based on, but not limited to, time. So that could easily fall into a subjective read. I do feel that the final outcome is residue of his thinking process and although his titles reference the mind, we must remember that the pieces only do just that- reference something that is greater and far more dense. His mind at work here is his mind reinterpreting his thoughts in an open physical way that is subject. The relevancy to me is the sorting of self and if it could instigate a self-reflective approach that encourages, "what makes me the way I am?"

    Thank you mary for the added clarification.

    "The eternal argument persists vis a vis the need for elaboration versus the ability of works of art to stand up to scrutiny without benefit of further dialog."

    I think this is an important thing to discuss because rarely will the artist be available to discuss their work and/or illuminate elements within pieces that deserve more attention. The manner of how the attention is applied is difficult to predetermine. My feeling is that there's always more to be desired when considering the audiences' willingness to investigate and ask those questions.

    The recognition of consequences instigates a furthered curiosity.

    I do have to say that I feel an artist's statement only works on an equal level of the work and will only do what another work of art would do, and that's provide an extension on the artists thought process and practices. The only other possibility is that writing destroys the experience of the work by predisposing a way to enter.

  8. Hi Kevin,

    thanks for the response (r u Beasley or someone else?).... what I meant by "where the work goes" has more to do with its longevity...

    while I think re-purposing is interesting, at the end of the day (or a lifetime) we have nothing or very little left to show.... we'll only have ephemeral documentation, nothing really tangible (and here is why texts are important, sometimes the text is the only documentation)... perhaps this is an indication of my own relationship to art, I do believe art is something to be enjoyed, shared, had, held and cherished (hence me being married to it lol), something that should go beyond a short timeline of someone's life...

    more specifically, I would love to see what would happen to Andy's work if it were permanently installed in a public space, such as a city park..... like the "Cadillac Ranch" by Ant Farm, I would love to see some of those pieces age....

    going back on the balance between art and writing, how much is given out, how much is left out, what is left for the piece to express, or the audience to express, blah blah blah.... sometimes I think that both the thing produced AND the writing, together, form the art... that they are symbiotic, interconnected, dependent and contingent upon one another.... people can choose not to read (or for that matter not look at the work), but I think they should both exist...

    in the same way that Chris mentioned that he found talking to people helpful in deciding where he goes from there, writing for the artist creates an inner dialogue that, in my view, is very beneficial to the art-making process... what do u think?

  9. vagner,

    nail on the head. i feel that writing in the way you have just described is the most fruitful and beneficial but i have often found a lot of artists approach the writing as a way of describing the work as if it wasn't present or never existed. As some sort of adjective-laden promotional piece laced with worldly relevance. I think although it may seem helpful, it can prohibit a more rigorous mode of thinking that is based off of impulse and sensory observations, when approaching artwork can reveal its highest qualities with simply more time spent.

    precisely as you say "the thing produced and the writing together form the art," I ask the question of is it writing or is it a matter of comprehending the lexicon? in this case, if the artist chooses to speak visually rather than with linguistics, diction, poetry- then that is the point of entry. i wouldn't insist on a photograph of a poem unless it was presented as such. To request the writing is very understandable but sometimes the writing can be as vague as the object. So i am leary of perpetuating the idea that the writing will provide an easier read and because there is writing, the work is now enhanced(?)

    I love to write and agree wholeheartedly that it helps my inner dialogue and to practically sort my thoughts. In fact i normally provide a text with everything but this show never manifested a complete written selection, just tons of parts that I've decided to save as a thing of its own. But i also find just as much vulnerability in what I write as I do with the objects I make, which has brought me to a conclusion that i must produce (whatever that means) often and wisely.

    As for the permanence, this is tricky because I've personally dealt with the idea of preservation and even conservation. I've tried to put some sort of order to it by asking when does it become a pivot point for my practice? This is interesting to me because I try to make some decisions based off of marketability by either ignoring it or giving it a nod, both ways it is deeply considered. Artworks are investments and very few people will purchase a piece that is deteriorating in front of their eyes, or a drawing on paper simply taped on the wall.

    So when looking at andy's pieces i don't consider re purposing as a low-down default, but re purposing as an essential artistic decision. Subject. We look at that piece to wonder where the work will go next but I also like to think - look at where it has come. The drawings from his undergraduate years, other pieces (the woven bags) in their entirety totally reestablished as a different form. I think this is an interesting thing for him and I would be interested to see it pushed further into various venues.

    I think to simply remove that piece outdoors wouldn't do his practice justice because of his site specificity, but i could almost guarantee his approach would consist of the amalgamated structures.

    any takers on this stuff?



  10. that is a loaded and long entry entry... let me try to answer it in parts..

    - thinking is not always rigorous, to assume everyone engages that way to anything they see is a bit naive in my view

    - I do not believe it is possible to speak visually, but only represent, so no, I do not think a work can speak by just being (unless there is text in it or voice over or something that is quite literally speaking or using language).... and even then that might not even be speech in the same sense that writing speaks more broadly...

    - I did not mean to say that writing provides an easier reading than the work itself, but a reading that is important

    - if writing is as vague as objects, than I'd say that is not good writing

    - agree with u completely on the vulnerability in writing being similar to the one in making art (hence it taking me so long to post this original entry)

    - I like what u say about placing ur practice in relation ignoring or giving a nod to marketability, but I think that a place in between might be possible to achieve.... I do not think that binaries need to be uphold in every situation, I think gray is a good place to be....

    - I do not feel that Andy's work is site-specific at all, so I do not understand what u say... I think any neutral space (such as a museum or gallery, even though I wrote that the MONA is not neutral enough) provides little context.... so it is specific in a sense that it fits the space, but there is no dialogue created between the piece and its location... if the piece was in a bus station, or inside a shopping mall, or in the backyard of a suburban home, etc, these types of site for me are specific enough and would therefore add a dimension to the pieces that for me were hard to get as I saw them.....

    not sure if I made any sense, I read your post a few times, so I might not have completely understood u.....

    u should start ur own blog, Kevin ;-)

  11. Vagner, reading your blog got me very excited. It is good to hear of people opening up discussion for the art that we have seen and the topics that it may generate. Thank you for this!

    There are so many points in your blog that I want to address, so I’m going to just jump in to a part that I feel needs to be discussed by everyone who has heard of the exhibition at MONA and the panel discussion.

    When talking about Andrew’s piece, you expressed your confusion on how it has to do with Detroit, and not just with any urban setting. What I think I see here is a misunderstanding of what the exhibition is and how it relates to the panel discussion that took place November 1st: The title of the exhibition is Breeding Ground: New Detroit Sculpture. The panel discussion is, I think, mostly being referred to as Detroit: Breeding Ground. However I believe a lot of people are melding these together as one thing, and while the two definitely feed off of each other, they are two separate entities. The objective of the exhibition is to showcase a collection of artists that benefit from living and creating in Detroit, not that they are trying to create a commentary about Detroit with their work.

    You referenced what you could find of the exhibition when you talked of Andrew’s work: “Detroit as a scavenger’s paradise”. It interests me that this reference, in addition to the panel discussion, caused so many viewers (and readers) to assume that the work solely deals with Detroit. It makes me wonder how the audience would respond to the exhibition if no information was offered at all. Not unlike the experience it was to find MONA on opening night- if it wasn’t for the window installation, all I would have had to find it was a small white sheet of paper stating that it was indeed the Museum of New Art. Or at least it felt that way.

    And perhaps that is the beauty of it, that despite some difficulties with it being a borrowed space, things went on as planned. As for the adjusting of colors, carpeting, and arrangements of the building, that just brings me back to yet another discussion going on here: the tendency of people to grasp for anything that may aid them in understanding the work. And yes, that is why the typical art gallery has neutralized settings; to let the work breathe in a “blank slate” environment. But, more importantly, this I think joins the conversation of the artist having an artist’s statement to accompany the work.

    I always notice that, when handed writing as soon as I arrive at an exhibition, my mind is directed down whatever path the text leads me to. I find that to be unfortunate. Like having the luxury of a neutralized, blank space, isn’t it just as precious to see a work of art with our own uninfluenced thought, rather than what an outside source brings to the table? Like Kevin said, the artist is not usually on hand to talk about their work and elements of it that deserve more attention. Shouldn’t the art do that on it’s own? Furthermore, I would like to think of a work of art as a conversation; the start of a conversation. With that, conversation can never happen with one biased side (by that I mean the art in conjunction with the artist‘s words), or then it becomes more of a theory or congregation of very similar ideas that is very hard to challenge with outside opinion. When the artist leaves the work to speak by itself, the viewer can then enter with their own background and hopefully bring to surface a new train of thought that the work might not have been able to generate if an artist’s statement clouded the possibility of an intimate conversation between artwork and audience.

    Thanks again for offering a place to discuss! I only hope to see more of this kind of interaction, and more people to add to it.

  12. ...and I stress the confusion taking place between the panel discussion and the exhibition. I attended both and think I messed up the titles in my post.

    Surely there is someone out there who can better clarify what exactly the panel discussion does, did, and will do. I'd like to hear, considering how important this conversation is for me and all other artists who deal with Detroit in any way.

  13. (this post is too long to do it in one piece, how annoying – this is part one)

    thanks Megan for joining in... glad to hear you are enjoying this...

    I am ecstatic that there's been so much interest in this post (or any post for that matter).....

    let me try to respond to ur response =-)

    the way I view art in general, and the way that I tried to view the work in the show, is in this order:

    1- I look at the work once, try to experience it as well as I can, walk around, etc... looking is important to me, and usually at this stage I take a physical inventory of what I see (like a catalogue and/or description of the things/materials, etc)

    2- I try to find out then who made the work and read a title.. then look again (this did not happen really at MONA because it took a while for me to get a hold of the sheet with the names, pieces were being turned on and lighted as I walked, etc)

    3- text time: I either ask the artist to tell me something about their work and/or I read anything that was provided (again at the BG show I did not read until I got home and went to the site, though Jef did tell me some stuff about the work, specially Nathan's)... and btw, if the writing or the talk r not helpful, I then go to step #4 (though in a perfect situation a good conversation will ensue and blend in with #4)

    4- I take inventory of my responses, both analytical and emotional....

    in terms of looking at art without text, of chance encountering it with little or no context I find that it is hard for that to actually happen... in theory yes, but in actuality very unlikely... first because that would assume one would have to be in a place where walking and wandering is commonplace, and there are few places is possible in the US (in cities), and that it would be assumed that one has a lot of leisure time to do so, unless of course one went to a location where it is known that art exists and may be found, like the Russell (or on a vacation in NYC, wandering in Chelsea for example).... and that (the Russell) is a context (an artist space), much like MONA... the best place to have such encounters is where public art exists (all of a sudden the side of a building has a mural, a message, for example)... I already wrote more than once about Andy's piece being placed in the public sphere..... I think it would be great to find it at such place...

  14. (part 2 of 3)

    now imagine you are in a foreign country where u do not speak or read the language, and you happen to encounter art..... this happened to me (sort of, I knew it was an art venue) in St. Pete Russia - I do not read the Cyrillic alphabet at all...... it was interesting to look at the stuff and see what they were up to, but what was most accessible to me were the photographic works (and even then I was left in the dark)..... the other stuff was very random and strange and unmoving (of course perhaps it could have been bad art).... one piece consisting of garbage bags and vacuum cleaners (that inflated it) had a weird vibe and an interesting noise, but the thought "that the hell?" was there for me from the get-go.... it was not until I got back to my hotel and by chance (wonderfully so) I read my tourist guide and realized the inflatable shape was exactly like a well-known monument in the city (the bronze horseman).... and that made the piece wonderful to me..... so in this situation it was my research/reading that aided in my appreciation to the work (and pure luck, though I would have run into the statue eventually, as it was a couple blocks from my hotel).... the next time I saw the piece (I had an installation in an adjacent gallery, so I saw it daily for a whole week) I really enjoyed it and thought it was quite brilliant, actually..... a great commentary on a further westernization of the western-most city in Russia...

    for me this happens all the time... I look at something, do not find it so great, and then I live with it (in my mind) and read about it, or talk to the artist, etc and then the piece becomes something else to me..... of course I imagine that is not the case with everyone...

  15. (part 3 of 3)

    now Megan, do you always read every label in museums? I rarely do as a rule, and if I do, I look at the artist name and where they come from and try to stop there at first.... and only if the piece grabs be I go any further... again, imagine reading everything the DIA has, it would take months to go through.....

    at the MONA I looked at the pieces by Kevin and thought they seemed random to me (though I really liked one that looked like melted glass with bits and pieces inside it, round and brownish like coca-cola)..... I also did like the rusted red rectangle on the wall, but felt they were lost amongst all the stuff there, in that vast space..... I then turned around to look again at the table with objects and I think Jef told me that they were supposed to be arranged like pieces in an archeological dig (or some other taxonomic setup)... I then made a comment on how gorgeous the table was (because that I could look at undisturbed from certain angles, I think I knelt down)...... I enjoyed the light dome slowly warming up and lighting the wall it rested upon (it reminded me of the show at the org again, which I really enjoyed, it was such an uncanny experience there), and I liked what the glass sheets resting on a perpendicular wall could have been, but again for me the space really interfered..... I did not look for the titles of his pieces until after I read the statements at the website, but they did not aid me much, to be honest.......

    and this is how I got to where I got...... I did not go the panel, but every where I went to read about the show (the facebook announcement, the website, etc) there were reoccurring mentions of Detroit, which to me, as a newcomer to this area (4.5 years here), seems to be a lot of people's raison d'être.... and i think that sometimes that is mismanaged energy.... sure, I have done work about here (one short video, 55 seconds)..... but I like to think that I am (and have been) an artist no matter where I live.... and that my work would have a common thread independent of location (as I believe it does)... does this place I live affect me? of course, in many positive ways (specially the people I engage with, have met some wonderful artists and been fortunate enough to make a few friends in this process).... does it drive my artistic production? not really...

    perhaps my reaction/response to the show would also have been different if the title of the show was an other (or at least without the "New Detroit Sculpture" subtitle)..... and that is (its title), for better or for worse, the ultimate context I could not remove from my experiencing of the work, because that is how I found out about it in the first place (an announcement with its title as the heading)...

    one exercise I do in my head when planning a show, or working on a piece, is considering a few words to describe it (a potential title).... this helps me figure out what the work is about, or at least which direction it could go towards (I usually look up definitions then)... if I were to title this exhibition,I think I would have titled it as this (or something along these lines):


    titling is crucial (hence this thread)...... how would you have titled this exhibition?