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Detroit City/Detroit Affinities: Annette Kelm

On view Friday, May 6 - Sunday, August 28, 2016

Annette Kelm, Percent for Art, 2013, c-print, 6 parts, 28 3/8 x 19 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery.
Annette Kelm, Percent for Art, 2013, c-print, 6 parts, 28 3/8 x 19 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery.

The photographic works of the Berlin-based artist Annette Kelm often feature a single, vaguely familiar object, which she renders using a direct and realistic style that oscillates between genres, such as documentary and advertising. She makes series revolving around these objects, pressing the relationship between photography and sculpture—her work moves between the creation of images and the recording of a staged object or objects—in order to unfold her subject's social, economic, and cultural context. The work shares much with that of contemporaries such as Josephine Pryde and Wolfgang Tillmans, but perhaps her clearest influence is Christopher Williams, who also puts his camera at the service of finding historical marks and contexts embedded within forms. Yet whereas Williams typically provides lengthy captions that help viewers decipher and unpack his images, Kelm offers few clues.

The presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit brings together works from throughout Kelm's career that outline the abovementioned concerns. In particular the piece Monney (2015) offers a link to Detroit, given the city's turbulent financial past and current economic realities. The work is a photographic triptych in which numerous freshly printed US $1 bills spell out the word "monney" (the misspelling is intentional). The composition is then abstracted and deconstructed; in the final picture the accumulated banknotes are no longer legible as a word. Kelm thus points toward the artificial character of money—a cultural construction that has been created as a way to pay for goods and services that also functions simultaneously as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, something that "stores" value yet as a mere piece of paper is worthless in and of itself.

The work establishes a connection between art as commodity and art as an investment possibility that, like the dollar, is based on symbolic, not intrinsic, value.

Curated by Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large Jens Hoffmann

As part of:

DETROIT CITY is comprised of three concurrent series: Detroit Affinities (exhibition), Detroit Speaks (education), and Detroit Stages (performance). This multi-year research program is one of the most ambitious undertakings to date at MOCAD.

DEPE Space Resident Mitch McEwen

Mitch McEwen, A(n) Office / McEwen Studio with a video series curated by A(n) Office and Dawn Lundy Martin

On view Friday, May 6 - Sunday, August 28, 2016

 House Opera, courtesy of McEwen Studio / A(n) Office
V. Mitch McEwen, Photo of House Opera during SigiFest 2015, courtesy of McEwen Studio / A(n) Office

The DEPE (Department of Education and Public Engagement) Space Residency Project and exhibition series presents interdisciplinary art that serves as a catalyst for learning and transformative conversation about complex social issues. DEPE Space offers opportunities to reflect upon the personal relevance of these topics and how they relate to communities in Detroit and throughout the world.

In the DEPE exhibition produced by V. Mitch McEwen and collaborators, a series of design studies, maps, and abstract design codes will reimagine processes of demolition and preservation, specifically focusing on the tens of thousands of vacant houses in the city that were built in the early 20th century. This extensive collection of studies continues the ongoing research of McEwen Studio and A(n) Office focusing on demolition alternatives for publicly owned vacant structures. Visitors will encounter an excessive number of architectural scale models arranged from the floor of the gallery to the steel girders above. These architectural models, fabricated both by hand and digital processes, coalesce into a large sculptural field. Alongside these study objects, animations and interactive tools show how these design tactics would impact the image of the city.

The design research of Methexis began with McEwen Studio’s House Opera | Opera House project. House Opera | Opera House, located in Southwest Detroit, is McEwen's long-term collaborative project, involving Marcelo López-Dinardi, partner of A(n) Office, Dawn Lundy Martin, and a number of artistic collaborators. For Methexis, McEwen produces new designs to address the tens of thousands of buildings structurally and materially similar to House Opera. Rather than attempting an artisanal solution for each vacant house, McEwen deploys algorithmic methods to present alternatives for vacant buildings.

The film series accompanying the design exhibition extends this negotiation of architecture with drama, process, and language. Curated by A(n) Office and Dawn Lundy Martin, 3 series of videos punctuate each month of the exhibit with one of these relationships. Firstly, Lundy Martin explores architecture and drama–dramas of embodiment. Secondly, A(n) Office presents videos of architecture and process, mining the oeuvre of Gordon Matta-Clark and others. Finally, Lundy Martin presents a poetically rooted video grouping exploring architecture and language. Each segment of videos runs for about a month at a time &emdash; three weeks in May and July, and four weeks in June.

May: Dawn Lundy Martin curates videos around leisure as a problem, form, and desire of bodies. Videos include works from Ronaldo V. Wilson and Martin's own video titled Impossibility.blackness.Leisure.

June: A(n) Office curates short videos about themes of algorithms, variations, control, and time, as well as the condition of vacancy. Including Gordon Matta-Clark: Bingo (1974, 09:45 mins, color, silent) and George Maciunas: End After 9 (1966, 1:00 min, b&w, silent)

July: Dawn Lundy Martin presents a poetically rooted video grouping exploring architecture and language.

Sune Woods, A Feeling Like Chaos, 2015, two channel video projection (4 minutes 6 seconds); Amir George's film, Moments of Intention, 2016 (11 minutes 11 seconds).

DEPE Space is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Mitch McEwen's Methexis is supported by the University of Michigan Office of Research, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Taubman College, University of Michigan, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

Carlos Rolón/Dzine Vintage Voyages and Atomic Memories

On view Friday, May 6 - Sunday, August 28, 2016

Carlos Rolón: Vintage Voyages and Atomic Memories Photo Credit: CW Mosier
Get Nailed 2011 Public intervention and performance | New Museum, New York, New York Image credit: Chris Mosier. From the publication, Nailed: The History of Nail Culture and Dzine.

Carlos Rolón makes art a universal experience for everyone to share. For his Mobile Homestead project, Vintage Voyages and Atomic Memories, Rolón will create a pop-up nail salon within the context of a domestic space reminiscent of his family's home on the Southside of Chicago. On Saturdays during the run of the exhibition, gifted nail artists will work in the installation, creating customized nail designs for visitors who have made prior appointments. Each room will be decorated and finished with vintage wallpaper, framed mirrors, and craft based works such as hanging handmade macramé's for visitors to explore. Rolón views this project as a community service in both micro and macro forms. The various retro decorated rooms will serve as visual backdrop and speak to the many influences of an era when ornate tchotchkes, optic and geometric wallpaper design went beyond kitsch and into modern art. The complete installation and nail salon creates a sense of wonder that is bold and brilliant, leaving the viewer with visual re-discoveries and new conversations.

ARTIST TALK: Friday, May 6 at 7pm with Carlos Rolón/Dzine in the Mobile Homestead, book signing to follow.

The Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead is commissioned by Artangel in association with MOCAD, LUMA Foundation and Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts with the generous support of the Artangel International Circle. Additional funding for Vintage Voyages and Atomic Memories is generously provided by Nancy Rogers, Dallas, Texas


Exhibition programming support is generously provided by the Taubman Foundation.

DETROIT CITY funding is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Kayne Foundation (Ric & Suzanne Kayne and Jenni, Maggie & Saree), Quicken Loans, Andre Sakhai, Liz and Jonathan Goldman, Jane Suitor, Scholar Property LTD, Jasmin Tsou, the Krawiecki Gazes Family, Kimberly Brown, and William Leung.

Detroit Speaks funding is provided by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.