We all know Detroit has great artists and art galleries. We all know Chicago has great artists and art galleries. But what would happen if the two came together … it could be way cool.
It all began last year. In March 2012, artists from CAC’s BOLT Residency program traveled to Detroit to visit artist studios, artist-run spaces and galleries with a select group of Detroit artists. They checked out Power House Productions, Signal Return Letterpress Shop, CAVE, The Alley Project, artist Scott Hocking’s studio, Popps Packing, Public Pool, 2739 Edwin and, of course, the abandoned Michigan Train Station.
Then two months later in May the Detroit artists visited Chicago art venues including 6018 North, Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Projects, Smart Museum, Mess Hall, threewalls, Southside Hub of Production (Shop) and the Hyde Park Art Center.
This trek up and down I-94 created new friendships and provided the seeds for an art exchange.
“True exchanges like this are a rarity,” says Nancy Jones, co-curator of EXCHANGE. “The EXCHANGE project has provided participating artists from Detroit and Chicago with new conversations with colleagues in other citites, and stimulated new friendships as well. This is something that artists always do, of course, but seldom with the opportunity for exhibitions in each other’s local venues.”
From this first iteration of the Midwest Artist Exchange new friendships emerged as well as the idea of an exchange exhibition. The CAC would host a show of the Detroit artists in its gallery space, and the Chicago artists would be hosted in tandem at two spaces, CAVE and Public Pool.
The Chicago exhibition was held in January and featured Detroit artists Featuring Detroit Artists Taurus Burns, Design 99, Jessica Frelinghuysen, Scott Hocking, Chido Johnson, Nicola Kuperus, Faina Lerman, Adam Lee Miller, Clinton Snider, Vince Troia and Graem Whyte.
“The pilot artist exchange was an incredibly successful project for everyone involved,” says Cortney Lederer, director of exhibitions and community initiatives at CAC. “New friendships and creative collaborations were forged that will extend well beyond the project and artists were given the opportunity to gain an intimate and deeper understanding of each city from an artist driven perspective.
“We were so honored to work with Power House Productions and be introduced to so many incredibly talented contemporary artists. We look forward to future projects with everyone we met.”
The Detroit EXCHANGE runs February 23 through March 16. There are two opening receptions on February 23, one at CAVE, Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay Street, 3rd floor in Detroit (6:00-9:00 pm) and the second at Public Pool, 3309 Caniff Street in Hamtramck (6:00-9:00 pm).
The exhibition features Featuring Chicago artists; Melika Bass, Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap, Gwynne Johnson, Jenny Kendler, Homa Shojaie, Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite, Eric Wall and Stacia Yeapanis.