Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

A selection of upcoming artistic happenings in metro Detroit and beyond 

click to enlarge Virginia Lee Montgomery's "Sword in the Sphinx" is on view through the end of October as part of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Virginia Lee Montgomery's "Sword in the Sphinx" is on view through the end of October as part of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

Michigan’s fall arts season is here, with a number of galleries, museums, theaters, and other venues returning with programming after being disrupted by the pandemic last year. (Of course, the situation is still changing every day. Obviously, be sure to check with the venues for the most up-to-date information!)

Events and openings

Detroit Month of Design

Through Sept. 30: Celebrating Detroit’s designation as a “City of Design” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Detroit Month of Design is back with its 11th edition, featuring more than 70 events, more than 175 designers, and 13 installations.

Various venues; see full schedule at designcore.org/month-of-design.

With Eyes Opened: Cranbrook Academy of Art Since 1932

Through Sept. 19: This sprawling retrospective spans the entirety of Cranbrook’s history, with more than 250 works.

Cranbrook Art Museum; 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3320; cranbrookartmuseum.org. Tickets are $10.

Mario Moore: Enshrined: Presence + Preservation

Through Sept. 19: Detroit artist Mario Moore draws from life for inspiration for his realistic paintings.

Closes on Sunday, Sept. 19 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-494-5800; thewright.org. Admission is $15.

Detroit’s Big Shot Talent Show

Sept. 15-Oct. 27: Every Wednesday, musicians, comics, dancers, magicians, and more compete in front of local celebrity judges in search of Detroit’s next breakthrough talent, presented by The D Brief podcast and hosted by comedian Tam White.

Planet Ant; 2357 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; planetant.com. Admission is free but $5 to vote.

ArtPrize

Sept. 16-Oct. 3: After being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, Grand Rapids’ annual art festival and contest returns with a focus on outdoor work downtown and at satellite venues like Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The best work wins $450,000 in prizes, voted on by the public through the ArtPrize website.

Various venues; see artprize.org for full schedule.

Straight on ‘Til Morning

Sept. 17: Opening reception for this delayed show, which features never before seen works by the late Patricia Izzo (1948-2021) and new works by Martine MacDonald. Both artists had started planning and working on this show in 2019 to open in 2020, but the show was disrupted by the pandemic.

6-9 p.m.; River's Edge Gallery; 3024 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-246-9880; artattheedge.com.

50th Annual Habatat Galleries Glass Exhibition

Sept: 18: More than 400-plus glass works are on display at the 50th annual international glass invitational of Habatat Galleries, America's first and largest contemporary glass gallery.

5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. with daytime viewing hours available at Habatat Galleries; 4400 Fernlee Ave., Royal Oak; 248-554-0590; habatat.com and glassartfair.com. Admission is free. Masks are required while in the gallery.

Womxnhouse Detroit

Sept. 18-Oct. 23: For the Womxnhouse Detroit installation, artist Jessica DeMuro Graves, along with co-curator and primary facilitator Laura Earle, have transformed an upstairs bedroom at a house into a womb. More than a dozen artists also worked to transform the rest of the house into a full installation.

Reception at 6 p.m.; 15354 St. Marys St., Detroit; bit.ly/3tuyy0N. Admission is free, but tickets are required.

Sheefy McFly: Eyes Watching You

Sept. 18: Spot Lite's first proper exhibition is a look at the work of rising Detroit artist Sheefy McFly. who will perform a music set as well.

Reception at 6 p.m.; Spot Lite, 2905 Beaufait St., Detroit; spotlitedetroit.com. Admission to the event is free and open to all ages until 10 p.m., when it is open for adults ages 21 years and older with a $10 cover.

Spaces IN Between

Sept. 18: Features the work of Al Johnson, Anton, BAI, and Sam Kthar.

From noon-6 p.m.; Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery; 2351 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-932-7690; irwinhousegallery.org.

Can I come out now?

Sept. 18: Installation and exhibition by Form&Seek.

From 5-7 p.m.; Simone DeSousa Gallery; 444 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-833-9000; simonedesousagallery.com.

Sofa Stories

Sept. 18-19: Conceived by 2020 Kresge Artist Fellow Andrew Morton, Sofa Stories raises awareness and funds to benefit youth in Detroit that are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity with a selection of monologues created with the input of young people from the Detroit Phoenix Center performed by actors on sofas.

Various venues; see sofastoriesdetroit.com for the full schedule.

Detroit Youth Choir 25th anniversary gala

Sept. 18: Detroit Youth Choir celebrates its successes with a gala that will include a tribute to the late R&B star Aaliyah.

The Detroit Youth Choir's First Annual Gala will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; thewright.org. Tickets start at $105 and can be purchased at detroityouthchoir.org/gala.

MORPHOGENESIS

Sept. 18 and 25: Next:Space is celebrating its soon-to-open new gallery space with a preview featuring the work of Detroit- and Chicago-based designer Cody Norman, who transforms recycled plastic to look and feel organic using 3D printing and a handheld plastic extrusion gun.

Noon-5 p.m.; Next:Space 2863 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit; nextspacedetroit.com.

Launch! Tour: Add Some Spice<

Sept. 23: Linda Shears leads this discussion on how to incorporate color into a space, including the 60/30/10 rule and color-mapping. Event is free, but space is limited.

10 a.m.; various showrooms; michigandesign.com.

Armando Pedroso: Wide Open

Through Sept. 23: Pedroso creates paintings of houses using a variety of materials, including roofing tar and blowtorches.

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center; 1516 S. Cranbrook Rd., Birmingham; 248-644-0866; bbartcenter.org.

JAM3A

Sept. 23-26: Originally planned as an in-person festival, JAM3A (Arabic for “gathering”) has moved to a virtual platform due to the pandemic. The three-day fest will be livestreamed across various platforms including artist talks, film screenings, a virtual marketplace, and performances from 47SOUL, Alsarah and the Nubatones, Emel, Hello Psychaleppo, Medusa TN, Oddisee, Ramy Essam, and REMOooOTE: Detroit-Palestine (a Poetic Societies production).

See full schedule at jam3a.org.

click to enlarge Artist Patrick Dougherty will create one of his famed “Stickwork” sculptures in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Artist Patrick Dougherty will create one of his famed “Stickwork” sculptures in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood.

Sidewalk Detroit

Through Sept. 25: Internationally acclaimed artist Patrick Dougherty will create one of his famed “Stickwork” sculptures in Brightmoor. The project begins with three days of volunteers helping to harvest overgrowth from Detroit parks. The bundled saplings are then transported to Eliza Howell Park where Patrick and the Sidewalk Detroit team will begin construction and installation of the artwork. The project will be completed and celebrated with an artist talk and an official opening on Saturday, Sept. 25.

3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25; Eliza Howell Park, 23751 Fenkell Ave., Detroit; ​​bit.ly/3A8QekS.

Ocean Body

Sept. 25: Featuring work by Helga Davis, Mark DeChiazza, Shara Nova/John Dante Bianchi, Lily Cox-Richard, Ed Fraga, Jack Henry, Sandra Osip, and Ashley Eliza Williams. Through Dec. 18.

Wasserman Projects; 3434 Russell St. #502, Detroit; 313-818-3550; wassermanprojects.com.

Art + Object: Group Exhibition

Through Sept. 25: Group show includes Richard Nonas, Sally Ross, Mel Kendrick, Gorge Ortman, Rakuko Naito, Carol Hepper, Jake Berthot, John Walker, Carole Harris, Addie Langford, Katherine Porter, Sean Scully, John Duff, John Torreano, Glenn Goldberg, Roni Horn, Stanley Whitney, Minnie Evans, Tadaaki Kuwayama, Mark di Suvero, Donald Lipski, Jene Highstein, Donald Sultan, Allie McGhee, Elliott Green, John Rowland, and Robert Turner.

Hill Gallery; 407 W. Brown St., Birmingham; 248-540-9288; hillgallery.com.

Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos 2021

Sept. 25-Nov. 7: The DIA celebrates the Mexican Dia de Muertos with its annual presentation of creative ofrendas, or altars for the dead.

Detroit Institute of Arts; 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org.

Blue Plate Special

Through Sept. 26: John Miller makes oversized glass food.

Flint Institute of Art; 1120 E. Kearsley St., Flint; 810-234-1695; flintarts.org.

AMP Seeds

Sept. 23, Oct. 7, Oct. 21: Allied Media Projects launched an AMP Seeds speaker series program featuring artists with a social justice bent. The Sept,. 23 event “Reimagining Safety” features a conversation about reimagining community safety without police between Myrtle Thompson-Curtis, founder of Freedom Freedom Growers, and Cat Brooks, member of the In Our Names Network, moderated by Tawana Petty. The Oct. 7 event “Dismantling Barriers” features the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective, who will discuss the systemic inequities in filmmaking and UFC’s latest short film, The Undocumented Rejects. The Oct. 21 event “Performance as Resistance” includes performances curated by Brown Radical Ass Burlesque co-founder Una Aya Osato, with a lineup including New York City-based performers Michi Ilona Osato, Junior Mintt, and Morgan Bassichis.

5 p.m.; see alliedmedia.org/amp-seeds for full schedule.

Motor Bella

Sept. 23-26: The new Motor Bella event aims to hold auto enthusiasts over while Detroit’s longstanding North American International Auto Show pumps the brakes due to the pandemic. Expect industry auto reveals, next-generation technology exhibitions, and more.

See motorbella.com for the full schedule; M1 Concourse; 1 Concourse Dr., Pontiac; 866-618-7225; m1concourse.com.

click to enlarge Artist Takayuki Mori covers objects in fluorescent lines, creating the illusion of a 3D virtual reality world, as part of Detroit's Dlectricity festival. - KEN KATO
  • Ken Kato
  • Artist Takayuki Mori covers objects in fluorescent lines, creating the illusion of a 3D virtual reality world, as part of Detroit's Dlectricity festival.

Dlectricity

Sept. 24-25: Detroit’s biennial festival of lights returns with installations, videos, performances, and other artwork from more than 40 designers in the Midtown area and Beacon Park, culminating with the dazzling Light Bike Parade.

See dlectricity.com for the full schedule.

DIY Street Fair/Funky Ferndale Art Fair

Sept. 24–26: Dozens of makers will hawk their wares at Ferndale’s dueling yet complementary art fairs, which also includes musical performances, food trucks, and plenty of beer.

See ferndalediy.com and funkyferndaleartfair.com for full schedule.

A View from L.A.: Kim McCarty & Kelly Reemtsen/Jessica Rohrer: Bird’s Eye

Sept. 25-Oct. 30: Artist reception by appointment only.

David Klein Gallery; 1520 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-818-3416; dkgallery.com.

click to enlarge The work of Jason Revok will be presented at Library Street Collective on Saturday, Sept. 25. - COURTESY OF LIBRARY STREET COLLECTIVE
  • Courtesy of Library Street Collective
  • The work of Jason Revok will be presented at Library Street Collective on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Stare Into the Abyss

Sept. 25: The Detroit-via-California artist Jason Revok presents an exhibition of bold, minimalist work known for its tension between stark geometry and embrace of human imperfections.

6-8 p.m.; Library Street Collective, 1274 Library St., Detroit; 313-600-7443; lscgallery.com.

Melter 2

Through Sept. 30: Digital works by Takeshi Murata.

Flint Institute of Art; 1120 E. Kearsley St., Flint; 810-234-1695; flintarts.org.

Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum ‘Saints & Sinners Gala’

Oct. 1: Tickets are usually $100 for this annual fundraiser, but this year’s virtual event is free, or you can donate the ticket cost to support the museum. The event includes a virtual cocktail hour and behind the scenes tour.

7-8:30 p.m.; see marshallfredericks.org for more information.

Brackish

Through Oct. 2: Using the vernacular of kitsch, Brackish explores the relationship between beach imagery and the sterility of the white exhibition space.

Public Pool; 3309 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-405-7665; public-pool.org.

Bo Bartlett: Forty Years of Drawing

Through Oct. 3: This exhibition presents graphite drawings and gouache paintings spanning 40 years of Bartlett’s career.

Flint Institute of Art; 1120 E. Kearsley St., Flint; 810-234-1695; flintarts.org.

James Haefner: Michigan Modern/Building Cranbrook: Saarinen in Michigan

Oct. 6-Jan. 9, 2022: Featuring more than fifty photographs by the acclaimed Bloomfield Hills-based photographer James Haefner, this exhibition explores Michigan’s extraordinary legacy in architectural modernism. A complementary exhibition focuses on the architectural work of Eliel Saarinen.

Cranbrook Art Museum; 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3320; cranbrookartmuseum.org. Tickets are $10.

Motor City Comic Con

Oct. 15-17: This year’s guests include more than 250 comic writers, illustrators, creators, including Jim Starlin (the artist and writer who co-created Marvel's Thanos, among other fan favorites), actors Elijah Wood, Breckin Meyer, David Koechner (Anchorman), Catherine Tate, Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), wrestler Britt Baker, Ice-T, N'Sync’s Joey Fatone, and Saved By The Bell star Mario Lopez, among others.

Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi; motorcitycomiccon.com. Tickets are $30+.

Respond / Resist / Rethink

Through Oct. 16.: Stu­dents designed posters and made videos in response to the prompt “what change would you like to see in your com­mu­nity?” A virtual panel discussion will be held from 4-5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17; the event is free and open to the public.

Stamps Gallery; 201 S. Division St., Ann Arbor; 734-615-5137; stamps.umich.edu.

MOCAD

Oct. 21-Jan. 9, 2022: MOCAD's fall exhibition season includes John Kørner’s Intercontinental Super Fruits, the first solo museum exhibition of Kørner’s work in the United States; Take Root, Jeanette Ehlers’s visual celebration of the ways that Black women have created networks with each other; Jane Jin Kaisen's Parallax Conjunctures, which utilizes video installation and addresses such topics including the Korean War to the role of women in histories of resistance; and Universal Human Resource, the first museum solo exhibition of work by the artist Hannah Toticki, which investigates the emotional architecture created by work environments in western cultures.

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; mocadetroit.org.

Youmacon

Oct. 28-31: For its 15th year, fans of Japanese animation, comics, video games, and culture will return to downtown Detroit for one of the such conventions after taking a hiatus last year. Expect fan favorites like Live Action Mario Party, tabletop gaming, Clara Cow’s Cosplay Cup, a Youmacon Dance Competition, and the Maid Cafe.

TCF Center and Renaissance Center; youmacon.com. Tickets start at $65.

TRIPTYCH: Stronger Together

Nov. 5: Unveils a new body of work by Jonathan Harris and introduces Crystal Starks-Webb and Terrell Anglin in their first-ever public exhibitions. Runs through Nov. 25.

5-9 p.m.; Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery; 2351 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-932-7690; irwinhousegallery.org.

Art Nouveau Innovation: Danish Porcelain from an American Collector

Through Nov. 28: This exhibition features 75 ceramics from Danish porcelain companies Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grøndahl.

Flint Institute of Art; 1120 E. Kearsley St., Flint; 810-234-1695; flintarts.org.

click to enlarge Autos and auto-related art on view at the DIA. - COURTESY OF THE DIA
  • Courtesy of the DIA
  • Autos and auto-related art on view at the DIA.

Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020

Through Jan. 9, 2022: Twelve cars presented alongside concept art and art inspired by cars proves the hold that the automobile has on our imagination.

Detroit Institute of Arts; 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org.

A Queer Reading of UMMA’s Collection

Through Feb. 20: Curatorial fellow Sean Kramer scoured UMMA's archives for artwork that incorporates queer themes.

University of Michigan Museum of Art; 525 South State St., Ann Arbor; 734-764-0395; umma.umich.edu.

Theater

Don’t Drink the Water

Sept. 17-Oct. 3: On a trip to Eastern Europe, a New Jersey couple and their daughter take refuge inside an American embassy after being mistaken for spies.

Stagecrafters at Baldwin Theatre; 415 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak; 248-541-6430; stagecrafters.org. Tickets are $30.

Live And Vaccinated: Marcia Pillicotti’s One-Woman Show

Sept. 18: A night of stories and laughter from humorist Marcia Pillicotti’s life in Detroit.

Planet Ant; 2357 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; planetant.com. Tickets start at $26.

Thurgood

Sept. 23-Oct. 10: DPT opens its season with this portrait of the first African American justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

2998 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-576-5111; detroitpublictheatre.org.

Looking Back Through Stained Glass

Sept. 30-Oct. 9: Described as a “70-minute, family-friendly, punk rock, musical fantasia,” this production features drag queen Nancy Nogood and recording artist Ugochi Nriaka.

Planet Ant; 2357 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; planetant.com. Tickets start at $16.

Everybody

Oct. 1-16: All roles are determined by lottery at the beginning of each performance, challenging the cast with 128 different possible performance opportunities.

Bonstelle; 3424 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2960; theatreanddance.wayne.edu.

Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite

Oct. 8—Jan. 16, 2022: This exhibition of more than 40 large-scale color and black-and-white photographs by Kwame Brathwaite is the first major exhibition dedicated to this vital figure of the second Harlem Renaissance.

Detroit Institute of Arts; 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org.

Twelfth Night

Oct. 15-17: The Shakespeare classic.

Stagecrafters at Baldwin Theatre; 415 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak; 248-541-6430; stagecrafters.org. Tickets are $20.

Puffs

Oct. 15-Nov. 1: A clever twist on a certain famous school for witchcraft and wizardry.

The Ringwald Theatre; 290 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-545-5545; theringwald.com. Tickets are $15 on Monday and $25 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Rent ‘Farewell Tour’

Oct. 18-24: Twenty-fifth anniversary of the Broadway classic.

Fisher Theatre; 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-872-1000; broadwayindetroit.com. Tickets start at $39.

Cinderella

Nov. 12-Dec. 5: Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s enchanting musical.

Stagecrafters at Baldwin Theatre; 415 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak; 248-541-6430; stagecrafters.org. Tickets are $35.

The Snow Queen

Nov. 19-Dec. 11: Adapted from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

Bonstelle; 3424 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2960; theatreanddance.wayne.edu.

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Nov. 2-14: Broadway adaptation of the classic film starring Adam Pascal (Rent) as Edward Lewis and Olivia Valli (Jersey Boys, Wicked) as Vivian Ward.

Fisher Theatre; 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-872-1000; broadwayindetroit.com. Tickets start at $39.

A Very Golden Girls Christmas, Vol. 2

Nov. 19-Dec. 20: Everyone’s favorite Floridian foursome is back with a new Yuletide adventure.

The Ringwald Theatre; 290 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-545-5545; theringwald.com. Tickets are $15 on Monday and $25 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Dance

Dancing in September

Sept. 17: A night of burlesque performances to classic soul, R&B, and disco presented by Eartha Kitten.

Planet Ant; 2357 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; planetant.com. Tickets start at $21.

Detroit Movement Sanctuary

Sept. 18: A performance raising funds for Detroit’s dance community.

Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts; 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8500; musichall.org. $40 suggested donation.

Move

Sept. 25: Eisenhower Dance Detroit opens its 31st season. Repertory includes Hyper, created on EDD in January by internationally acclaimed choreographer Micaela Taylor; Surge, crafted by EDD artistic director Stephanie Pizzo; and Sign of our Times by Pizzo paired with tracks from the Beatles.

Detroit Music Hall Amphitheater; 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8500; musichall.org. Tickets are $25.

BLISS

Sept. 25: A recreation of Ragnar Kjartansson’s performance piece based on Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, re-staged by Yuval Sharon and conducted by Christopher Rountree in partnership with University Musical Society.

Detroit Opera House; 1526 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-961-3500; michiganopera.org.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Dec. 3-5: A Broadway-style musical that mixes contemporary circus artistry and holiday themes.

Fox Theatre; 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-3200; 313presents.com. Tickets start at $34.50.

A Magical Cirque Christmas

Dec. 12: A festive, family-friendly holiday event.

Fox Theatre; 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-3200; 313presents.com. Tickets start at $40.

Artist talks

Penny Stamps Speaker Series

Starting Sept. 16: U-M’s Penny Stamps Speaker Series returns on Thursdays with virtual events. Speakers include Stephanie Dinkins “On Love & Data” on Sept. 16, Andrea Zittel on Sept. 23, Rashaun Rucker on Sept. 30, and Alison Bechdel on Oct. 7, among others.

8 p.m. on Thursdays; see stamps.umich.edu for full schedule and other ways to watch.

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