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James Lee Byars: I Cancel All My Works At Death
February 7 - May 4, 2014

I Cancel All My Works at Death is the first comprehensive survey of the plays, actions, and performances of James Lee Byars (Detroit 1932 - Cairo 1997). Spanning the period from 1960 (when he created his first action in Kyoto, Japan) to 1981 (when de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam presented a year-long survey), the exhibition, which is titled after Byars' now-famous speech act, adopts the premise that the artist and his work are better mis-remembered than re-experienced. I Cancel All My Works at Death therefore presents none of his actual performances; nor does it include objects made, owned, or used by him, nor vintage ephemera--with the exception of obituaries published in newspapers at the time of his death. What it does include are suits and costumes, scripts, theater posters, props, puppet videos, a detailed timeline, among other elements. It also includes new, un-authored solo actions and group events that will be carried out sparingly and intermittently during the run of the show.

The exhibition is curated by Triple Candie, a phantom-like institution that existed in Harlem as an alternative space from 2001 to 2010. Run by two art historians who now live in Philadelphia, Triple Candie produces exhibitions about art but devoid of it and realized without the involvement of artists. Recent projects include Epigraphe pour une preface: The Original is Unfaithful to the Copy (FRAC Le Plateau, Paris, 2013), Of the Siren and the Sky: The Life and Work of Michael Whipple (Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 2013), and Maurizio Cattalan is Dead: Life and Work, 1960-2009 (Deste Foundation, Athens, 2010). At the request of Triple Candie, this exhibition has been dramaturged by Jens Hoffmann, MOCAD's guest curator.

State of Exception
February 7 - May 4, 2014

Installation created by Richard Barnes and Amanda Krugliak, photograph Richard Barnes, featured in the New York Times Magazine, July 2013. Originally from the exhibition State of Exception, hundreds of backpacks left behind by undocumented migrants in the Arizona desert; from the archives of Jason De León's Undocumented Project

The exhibition State of Exception, originally installed at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities Gallery in 2013, represents the collaboration between artist/photographer Richard Barnes, artist/curator Amanda Krugliak, and U-M anthropologist Jason De León, considering how best to curate objects from De León’s Undocumented Migration Project. The exhibition presents backpacks, water bottles, border restraints and other objects left behind by undocumented migrants on their journey into the U.S., and audio interviews from migrants relaying their own perspectives and experiences, and their relationships to these objects. There are also video and photographs shot by Richard Barnes on location along the U.S. Mexico border.

The first serious curation of De León’s research, Barnes and Krugliak approach the exhibition conceptually, presenting this human experience always within the frame of Jason’s research and methodology and informed by the perspectives and fieldwork carried out by De León and his crew.

State of Exception conveys the complexity and ambiguity of these found objects, and what they may or may not have revealed in terms of transition, humanity, commerce, culture, violence, and accountability.

Read articles about State of Exception:
University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities
New York Times

This exhibition is made possible by the support of The University of Michigan's Institute for the Humanities and MOCAD.

State of Exception Brochure viewable online here or by clicking the image below.

State of Exception Brochure


Ongoing program

Vdrome is an online platform that offers regular, high quality screenings of films and videos directed by visual artists and filmmakers, whose production lies in-between contemporary art and cinema. They are all narrative films and all a minimum of 15 minutes long. Each screening is presented during a limited period of time. Vdrome is on view at MOCAD and online, the program is organized by Edoardo Bonaspetti, Jens Hoffmann, Andrea Lissoni and Filipa Ramos.

Currently Screening:
April 18 - 27
Daniel Gustav
Cramer "Orrery"


2012, 20 minutes, HD video

Orrery portrays the encounter between two men at night in a hut outside an Australian village. The two share time together. They talk, remain silent and depart at last. The film reflects on solitude, friendship, trust and the fleetingness of time.
Read More Here.


You can view and download this season's program guide here or by clicking the image below.

MOCAD Winter 2014 Program guide

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization supported through invaluable contributions from individuals and members. The Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation provides leading support for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit since 2006. General operating support for MOCAD is generously provided by Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, General Motors Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Masco Corporation Foundation and The Taubman Foundation. Additional funding for programming and educational initiatives is provided by Edith S. Briskin/Shirley K. Schlafer Foundation. Valuable in-kind support is provided by Dykema. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is also supported, in part, by The Andy Warhol Foundation For the Arts, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity in partnership with the Ford Foundation, and ArtPlace, a collaboration of top national foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts and various federal agencies to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S.