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On View: February 6 - March 29

Ragnar Kjartansson: The End

Copyright Ragnar Kjartansson; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik.

Ragnar Kjartansson: The End
February 6 - March 29, 2015

Ragnar Kjartansson is known for his spectacular, music-filled performative live installations and video work. The history of film, music, theatre, visual culture, and literature finds its way into his durational performances, video installations, drawing, and painting. In 2009 Kjartansson traveled to the Rocky Mountains in search of the epic. Filmed in Banff, Alberta, The End is a five-channel video installation synched together as a single, disfigured country music arrangement in the chord of G. Produced with the support of The Banff Centre for the Icelandic Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, the piece was developed by Kjartansson in collaboration with Icelandic musician Davíð Þór Jónsson at The Banff Centre in February 2009.

Kjartansson and Þór Jónsson filmed and recorded the song’s instrumental parts in five idyllic and sublime sites around Banff in temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting projections were arranged to echo one another, with Kjartansson and Þór Jónsson performing multiple parts of the same song. Using the Rocky Mountains as a stage set to perform the historically romanticized role of the artist in the landscape, Kjartansson questions the cultural narratives that mediate our experiences of nature. All the while the work’s melancholic beauty and intoxicating soundtrack prove overwhelmingly romantic, eliciting a curiosity in the contemporary abyss.

Kjartansson studied at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. He was born in 1976 in Reykjavík, where he still lives and works today.

MOCAD presents The End as the beginning of a partnership with Ragnar Kjartansson. In February of 2016 MOCAD will present a newly commissioned work. This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and is curated by MOCAD Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder and MOCAD Senior Curator at Large Jens Hoffmann.


Jamian Juliano Villani

Detroit Affinities:
Jamian Juliano-Villani
February 6 - March 29, 2015

The second segment in the Detroit Affinities series will spotlight the work of New York artist Jamian Juliano- Villani, marking her first solo museum exhibition. Juliano-Villani creates expansive, chaotic scenes painted in a bright, intense palette. Her work is informed by a wide range of sources, including modernist abstract painting, Japanese pen and ink drawings, and 1930s and 1980s American cartoons, including Ralph Bakshi’s curvaceous women. She was born in 1987 in Newark, New Jersey and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

DETROIT CITY runs from September 12, 2014 until January 7, 2018.

MOCAD presents DETROIT CITY, a multiyear program of exhibitions, talks, publications, and educational initiatives investigating Detroit’s current artistic, political, cultural, and economic realities, and what Detroit has in common with other cities and regions around the globe. Detroit Affinities is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and curated by Senior Curator at Large Jens Hoffmann.

Jamian Juliano Villani

Jamian Juliano-Villani, Russell's Corner, 2014, Courtesy of the artist and MOCAD, Acrylic on canvas 30x40 inches

Jamian Juliano Villani

Jamian Juliano-Villani, Mixed Up Moods, 2014, Courtesy of the artist and MOCAD, Acrylic on canvas 20x20 inches

Jamian Juliano Villani

Jamian Juliano-Villani, Double Dose, 2014, Courtesy of the artist and MOCAD, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 inches

Francois Bucher VDROME
On View March 26 - April 8, 2015

François Bucher
Fractal Acces Totems

Introduced by Catalina Lozano

Combining a series of various source materials, interviews with experts, still images from films, and footages of multiple scenarios, Fractal Access Totems questions the linear understanding of time, the correlation between apparently disparate events, and the mystification of history and geopolitics.


Natural Life Natural Life by Tirtza Even
February 6 - March 28

Natural Life, an experimental video installation, will immerse visitors in the experience of over 2,500 prisoners in the United States who are serving mandatory life sentences for crimes committed when they were minors. Focusing on the extreme case of Michigan's legal system, Natural Life portrays the ripple effect that the juvenile justice system's imbalance has had on the lives not only of the incarcerated youth and the victims of their crime, but on family members, law enforcement, legal officials and the community at large.

Learn More Here

DEPE Space Panel Discussions

Thursday, February 26, 7pm
Saturday, March 28, 7pm
Despite a global consensus that children cannot be held to the same standards of responsibility as adults and recognition that children are entitled to special protection and treatment, the United States is the only country in the world that allows life without parole sentencing for youth. A panel of experts will explore the juvenile life without parole issue and consider current reform legislation in Michigan.

DEPE Space is the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s residency program for creative and spirited individuals of any discipline who are interested in a project which focuses on learning and visitor engagement. Launched in 2012, the residency length ranges from one week to one month and ties conceptually to MOCAD’s exhibition programming. Six to nine residencies are offered each year. DEPE Space residents produce an installation, public performance, talk, workshop, Family Day event, and often visit local K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

DEPE Space Residency Natural Life is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and curated by Curator of Education and Public Engagement Amy Corle

Learn more about DEPE Space here

Natural Life booklet (PDF)

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.

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.