Iconic Charles McGee mural displayed in downtown Detroit for a limited time

See the celebrated Detroit artist’s 2011 ‘Play Patterns II’ until Oct. 16

click to enlarge Charles McGee's "Play Patterns II" on the side of the Stevens Building Apartments. - Randiah Camille Green
Randiah Camille Green
Charles McGee's "Play Patterns II" on the side of the Stevens Building Apartments.

We have been blessed with another masterpiece by prolific Detroit artist Charles McGee in downtown Detroit.

In partnership with Orange Barrel Media, Library Street Collective unveiled a new display of McGee’s 2011 Play Patterns II this week.

It’s not the full-scale original piece, but a section of the painting is on the side of the Stevens Building Apartments at the corner of Washington Blvd. and W Grand River until Oct. 16.

The celebrated artist and educator passed away in February 2021 at the age of 96 following a career that spanned nearly eight decades of paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and public works.

McGee was an integral part of Detroit’s art community. His work is featured at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. In 2008 has was named the first-ever Kresge Eminent Artist.

Library Street Collective represents the estate of McGee and has worked closely with his daughter Lyndsay McGee to assemble a collection of his remaining works. In 2017, the gallery commissioned McGee’s largest mural Unity, which is around the corner from the new display at the 28 Grand building downtown.

“It’s been an honor working with Charles McGee and the entire McGee family throughout the years to further integrate his longtime community-driven art practice into the city of Detroit—from murals to various public installations and, notably, the Charles McGee Legacy Park set to open in early summer of 2023 in the city’s East Village neighborhood,” said Anthony Curis, Founder and Partner of Library Street Collective.

McGee suffered a stroke while working on Play Patterns II in 2011 and enlisted the help of assistants to complete the mixed media painting after leaving the hospital.

“All 50 elements of Play Patterns II are essential and represent the world and nature as a consortium,” McGee’s daughter April McGee-Flournoy said in a press release. “The piece represents my father's work and legacy. It inspires us as a family to strive for unity in a collective effort to honor who Charles McGee was, and his tenacity to overcome challenges with the hope we will live a life that brings inspiration to the world, and our community. My hope is that the billboard sends a message that we all are essential, and must work in concert together, in unity, to fulfill our purpose in this world."

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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D . Her favorite pastimes are meditating...
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