Kunthstalle Museum lights up Grand River Avenue

The only museum devoted exclusively to multimedia and light art exhibits in America opened its doors June 10 in the historic former Comerica Headquarters building on Grand River at Warren on the western edge of the Woodbridge neighborhood.

In Germany, where the term originates, a kunsthalle is more than just a gallery. Around the world, kunsthalles operate as exhibition halls and community centers for temporary art exhibits, unlike museums, which host permanent collections. And Kunsthalle Detroit director Tate Osten says the organization hopes to be more than just art space to the city.

"Why Detroit? Everything is ready to go here," Osten says, comparing Detroit's potential to that of New York City's Chelsea meatpacking district in the late 1990's. "These ideas, of Detroit becoming an international center for the arts, this is not my idea. It's been brewing. It's been up in the air. A lot of people have been talking, thinking and writing about it," she says. "And I thought, it's just time to act. Somebody has to take the first step. And the first step is to add something that's missing from Detroit's art scene."

A rotating gallery of multimedia projects, film and light installations is certainly something new to the area.  It's also an opportunity to see a dozen of the nation's preeminent multimedia artists, most of them more accustomed to solo exhibitions at museums around the world, sharing 4,000 sq. ft. of space and a collective theme. With the museum's first exhibition, Time & Place, Osten says, "We're trying to connect video and light-based arts to visual arts in general."

Osten says the Kunsthalle has received enthusiastic welcome from both art insiders and neighborhood residents.

"Everyone understands film," she says. "It's the most understood and accepted medium for the widest audiences."

She found the building, which is around 100 years old, driving around Detroit. "We don't want to be where things are already done," she says. "We want to bring art education to where they are most needed. And people have never seen anything like this. That's the idea."

Kunsthalle Detroit
is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Source: Tate Osten, Director, Kunsthalle Detroit
Writer: Ashley C. Woods
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