Ex-MOCAD employees curate exhibition of fellow Detroit art industry workers for digital 'Art Mile' event

click to enlarge Still from Maya Stovall’s Liquor Store Theatre, vol. 4, no. 7. - Courtesy of Art Mile
Courtesy of Art Mile
Still from Maya Stovall’s Liquor Store Theatre, vol. 4, no. 7.

Two former MOCAD employees who parted ways with the museum amid calls for a change in leadership have joined forces for a new exhibition of their own.

Titled ArtWork, the exhibition highlights the work of fellow employees from Detroit's art scene.

It was curated by MOCAD's former Susanne Feld Hilberry Curator, Jova Lynne, and former Ford Foundation Curatorial Fellow, Tizziana Baldenebro and will be shown as part of "Art Mile," a digital platform that launches from July 29-Aug. 5 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to put many art events and gatherings on hold.

In a statement, Lynne and Baldenebro write:

Art workers are at the heart of the creative world. They educate, organize, pack, ship, plan for, administer, document, and tend to the exhibitions and artists. They are the foundation that allows Detroit to be the vanguard of the art world. What makes the role of the art worker unique is that they are often artists themselves, who know all too well the intricacies of creative practice from start to finish. This exhibition presents the works of art made by Detroit’s art workers. Few people encounter and know art like they do, surrounded as they are by art which inspires and motivates them after hours. Navigating the formal and informal means of art production, these artists construct new models for practice. They band together behind the scenes to create the rich tapestry of an unseen art world. Their art trades typically exist outside of the traditional economies of the art market, driven as their exchanges are by barter and kinship. We present them here not only as art workers, but also as capital ‘A’ Artists.

Among those featured include Jose Arevinar-Gomez, Shingo Brown, Jetshri Bhadviya, Alphonso Cox, Lorena Cruz, Chelsea Flowers, Graem Whyte, Tim Johnson, Lauren Kalman, Megan Major, Shelly McMahon, Sabrina Nelson, Vanessa Reynolds, Casey Sayer-Brooks, Darryl Terrell, Wade Tullier, and Bre’ann White.

Art Mile bills itself as "a new, citywide digital art exhibition that champions Detroit's vibrant and diverse arts community through promoting online acquisitions and public programs." It highlights 55-plus local arts spaces with digital exhibitions, artwork sales, museum tours, and live events such as panel discussions, artist studio visits, film screenings, and musical performances.

Other highlights from Art Mile include a livestreamed opening party with a two-hour techno set from DJ Omar-S, a tour of "empty museums" presented by Red Bull Arts, film screenings (like Maya Stovall’s Liquor Store Theatre, pictured above), and more.

You can learn more about the event here.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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