The idea was brilliant; the execution even better. The Kresge Foundation
asked nearly 40 grant award winners to show their works, do special
live performances, lecture, read, sit on panels, engage each other and
the public with the clear intent of moving Detroit forward. After five
days of extraordinary showcases, with standing room only (and some turn
away) crowds at nearly every event on the schedule, mark Art X
down as a fabulous addition to the city's cultural landscape.
highlights were so numerous it's hard to know where to begin. Opening
night at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) was jammed from wall
to wall in all three main galleries -- and that was at 6:30 p.m. People
kept coming until museum staff had to kick us out at 11 p.m.
Beaver's massive, lovely painting of Sandra Kramer and husband Jim
Shaw, who died last December, stirred all who walked into the
specially-designed gallery, where it took up an entire wall. There were
unveilings of new public works by Charles McGee and Tyree Guyton, two
titans of the art scene for decades; performances by Invincible with
Waajeed, Marcus Belgrave and his space-jazz mates from Tribe, Monica
Blaire, Spencer A. Barefield, Joel Peterson, Frank Pahl and Timmy
Lampinen (aka Tim Vulgar); Chido Johnson's wire car cruise, a
mixed-media presentation by Louis Aguilar, a dance performance by
Valeria Montes, readings by Craig Wilkins, Vaivee Francis, Rachel
Harkai, Lynn Crawford and Steve Hughes. And much more. Our pardons go
out to those we did not see or hear.
An incredible array of
talent was on display. The city was energized. Creative workers were
recognized and honored. Supporting innovators in the community meets
every definition of growth, with major ripple effects to come. Someone
has to say it, so we will: take a bow Kresge Foundation
, take a bow painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, dancers and writers. Encore!
Photographer Marvin Shaouni was in multiple places at once. Enjoy his essay above.