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PAST / CURRENT / UPCOMING

UPCOMING EXHIBITION

Ragnar Kjartansson: Woman in E

On view Friday, January 15 - Sunday, April 10, 2016

WINTER 2016 EXHIBITION OPENING
Ragnar Kjartansson, Woman in E, + Steve Shaw + Chloë Brown + Little Libraries, with live music by BEVLOVE
Friday, January 15, 2016
  • 6-7pm: Members' preview hour, free for members. Includes curator talk with Susann Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large Jens Hoffmann at 6:30pm.
  • 7-9pm: Public preview
  • 10pm: Musical performance by Bevlove
Free/$5 suggested donation from 7-9pm, $7 starting at 9pm.

OPENING NIGHT MUSIC: The beautiful, emerging, independent vocalist hailing from Detroit, MI, Bevlove's soulful lyrics and voice embody the beauty of her hometown. Bevlove is a self-sustaining artist who releases her own music, and who has cultivated her fanbase through her music and performances. As Metro Times asked, "How is this awesome local singer still unsigned?"

RSVP on Facebook here

EXHIBITION PRESENTATION + TALK
Ragnar Kjartansson, Anne Carson, and Robert Currie
Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 1pm
Artist Ragnar Kjartansson, poet Anne Carson, and artist Robert Currie give a collaborative presentation. The program will be introduced by Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large Jens Hoffmann. RSVP on Facebook here.

Ragnar Kjartansson, Woman in E
Ragnar Kjartansson, Woman in E, sketch for a performance, 2015 © Ragnar Kjartansson; courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik.

In January 2016, MOCAD presents a major new performance by Ragnar Kjartansson, the Icelandic artist known for creating spellbinding installations which are equal parts music, performance, sculpture, and cinema. Superlatives are well-suited to his work: he tackles expansive themes using the most ambitious forms. Inspired by the music scene in Reykjavik, where he lives and works, he has created numerous immersive compositions that often involve live musical performances. To realize these large-scale productions, he collaborates prolifically with other artists, including The National, the Vienna Boys Choir, and Icelandic musicians Kjartan Sveinsson and Davíð Þór Jónsson.

Unlike the G-scale, which is commonly used in love songs, E-minor conveys a melancholy, reflective feel. In Kjartansson's haunting new work created for MOCAD, this pensive chord reverberates throughout the museum building, growing stronger as it bounces off the architecture. Woman in E revolves around a single, central figure: a woman dressed in a gold gown, standing on a rotating pedestal. The central figure plays the electric guitar without accompaniment, alone with the instrument and an amp. The atmosphere around her glitters as the notes rebound off the walls and ceiling, creating a deep, guttural tremolo. With its ethereal feel and symbolic references, the work conjures Detroit’s history as a hotbed of sonic innovation that gave birth to Motown and Techno alike.

The piece is also a nod to classic, representational sculpture. The protagonist powerfully embodies multiple tropes of femininity at once—she is a goddess, conqueror, and siren—but eludes a single narrative. The result is a portrait of vulnerability and prowess, of objectification and self-possession. Woman in E is at once an investigation of idolatry, a living monument to Detroit, and an abstracted icon, custom built for the city.

This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and is curated by MOCAD Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large Jens Hoffmann. Exhibition programming support for Ragnar Kjartansson: Woman in E is generously provided by the Taubman Foundation and Ethan and Gretchen Davidson.



Detroit Affinities: Steve Shaw

On view Friday, January 15 - Sunday, April 24, 2016
Curated by MOCAD's Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large, Jens Hoffmann

ARTIST TALK
Steve Shaw in conversation with Timothy Hill of the Hill Gallery in Birmingham, MI.
Saturday, February 6 at 1pm
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation). RSVP on Facebook here.

Steve Shaw, Belle Isle, 1986.
Steve Shaw, Belle Isle, 1986. Courtesy of the artist.

Born and raised in Detroit, photographer Steve Shaw was gifted a camera at age ten. Using this tool to highlight details often dismissed or invisible in the blur of daily life, Shaw photographed people he worked with or encountered on the street, including many World War II refugees and people who had moved to Detroit from the South in the Great Migration. A student of Bill Rauhauser, who dedicated his career to Detroit street photography since the 1940s, Shaw was influenced by images of the conflict in Vietnam, protest, civil unrest, and similar events happening in Detroit. Although Shaw's work often captures people in the vortex of economic downturn, the picture it offers of the human spirit remains overwhelmingly positive.

As a place where, in some sense, the Great Depression has never ended, Detroit is a perfect setting for this kind of work. It is the home of the American automotive industry, and the symbolic center of its 2008 collapse. Steve Shaw was born and raised here, and in his many years living and working in the city, he has found that it offers all the source material he needs. He claims, "I have never had trouble finding inspiration living in Detroit."

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.

DETROIT CITY funding is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Kayne Foundation (Ric + Suzanne Kayne, and Jenni, Maggie, + Saree).

As part of:
MOCAD

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 RESIDENCY
Chloë Brown: Dancing in the Boardroom

On view Friday, January 15 - April 24, 2016

ARTIST TALK
with Chloë Brown
Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 1pm
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation)
RSVP on Facebook here

Chloe Brown, Dancin' in the Boardroom.
Film still from Dancing in the Boardroom (Turnin' My Heartbeat Up), 2013. Chloë Brown.

MOCAD is pleased to present the United States premiere of Chloë Brown's video work Dancing in the Boardroom (Turnin' My Heartbeat Up) and her large drawing From Alfred Street to Temple Street, Detroit. Dancing in the Boardroom uses the music and dance of Northern Soul to explore issues of class and hierarchy within the post-industrial landscape of Stoke-on-Trent in the United Kingdom, a city once known for the production of ceramics. Shot in the disused Spode ceramics factory, the video explores connections between the post-industrial cities of Stoke-on-Trent and Detroit, and asks: what happens when the economic engines of a city slow down, but the people don't?

Chloë Brown is an artist and Senior Lecturer/Course Leader in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, living in Sheffield, UK. She has an MA in Sculpture from Chelsea College of Art, London (1994), and a BA in Fine Art from the University of Reading (1987).

The DEPE (Department of Education and Public Engagement) Space residency 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.

Dancing in the Boardroom is supported by the international research project 'Topographies of the Obsolete' and the ADRC at Sheffield Hallam University.

DEPE Space is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the MOCAD Leadership Circle: Jennifer and David Fischer, Linda Dresner and Ed Levy, Marsha and Jeffrey Miro, Roz and Scott Jacobson, Danialle and Peter Karmanos, Sonia and Keith Pomeroy, Sandy Seligman and Gil Glassberg, and, Julie Reyes Taubman and Robert Taubman.

This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and is curated by Amy Corle, Curator of Education and Public Engagement.



SUPPORT

DETROIT CITY funding is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kayne Foundation (Ric & Suzanne Kayne and Jenni, Maggie & Saree).

DEPE Space is funded in part by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Exhibition programming support for Woman in E is generously provided by the Taubman Foundation and Ethan and Gretchen Davidson.

MOCAD Operations are supported by Masco Corporation, Erb Family Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, General Motors Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. MOCAD exhibitions and public programs are supported by the Taubman Foundation. Additional funding for programming and educational initiatives is provided by the Edith S. Briskin/Shirley K. Schlafer Foundation.