Art world takes note of new Eastern Market art space

Jul 15, 2015 at 2:46 pm

The watchers of the art world over at Artnet News offered their take on the soon-to-open Wasserman Projects space in Detroit's Eastern Market. The space is headed up by art collector and businessman Gary Wasserman, who was in Brooklyn last month to talk about what he's trying to do with the 9,000-square-foot space.

"We are not solving an urban problem, this is not meant to save the world. This is meant to be part of the fabric of what creates the urban experience," he said.

He went on to say, "Detroit is not having a renaissance. It's not having a comeback. It's not a revival. Detroit is not the first city to fail, it is simply the largest city to fail. And as such, it becomes a laboratory for how we deal with these communities where the economic underpinnings are just gone."

Isn't it refreshing to hear somebody just sort of tell it like it is? Wasserman's go-to-hell frankness is a welcome change of tune from our usual platitude-mouthing members of Uplift, Inc.

But what exactly will Wasserman use his "laboratory" space for? Aside from a gallery and residencies and more, he will have chickens.

Yes, chickens. The space will be home to a permanent installation of a Belgian artist's "Cosmopolitan Chicken Project," featuring chickens from all over the world.

Wasserman sounds like a frank and funny guy, but, unless he was misquoted, he made at least one misstep: According to the piece, Wasserman billed the space as "Detroit's first truly mixed-use, community-driven artistic facility." That comment set many local artists' eyes rolling. After all, many local arts groups have pooled their resources and created spaces for themselves, formally and informally. At least one person I know decried statements that "dismiss all the other spaces that have existed in the city for years."