What to Expect at the First Detroit Art Week

The Dotty Wotty House, The Heidelberg Project
The Dotty Wotty House, The Heidelberg Project | Courtesy of The Heidelberg Project.
Photo of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor18 July 2018

For three days in July, participating art spaces across Detroit will collaborate for a city-wide celebration of local culture.

Billed as “an annual self-guided tour and celebration of contemporary art and culture in Detroit,” the first ever Detroit Art Week is a collaboration between more than 100 artists and 32 cultural institutions across the city.

Ken Aptekar, 'Could It Be I'm Falling in Love' (2013) at Wasserman Projects | Courtesy of Wasserman Projects

From July 20 through July 22, visitors are encouraged to tour museums and galleries, visit open studios, and attend artist talks. The three-day event will coincide with special programming and parties that exhibit Detroit’s vivacious nightlife.

“We designed Detroit Art Week to introduce the city’s art scene to an international audience,” Amani Olu, the founding director of Detroit Art Week, said in a statement. “We aim to inspire art practitioners and professionals, help stimulate the local economy, and show everyone a fabulous time for what will be a three-day unforgettable event.” Organized by Olu’s marketing agency, Olu & Company, the fundamental mission of Detroit Art Week is to “establish Detroit as a global destination for contemporary art and culture.”

In addition to the 19 exhibitions, eight events, and five open studios available to the public, the inaugural edition of Detroit Art Week will honor textile artist Carole Harris and abstract painter Allie McGhee with a co-exhibition of their work.

Carole Harris, 'Re-Call' (2016) | Courtesy of the artist and Detroit Art Week. Photo by Eric Law.

Harris’s practice expands upon the tradition of quiltmaking through bold color palettes and kaleidoscopic patterns inspired by cityscapes, nature, and musical forms. The artist often uses textiles owned by her friends and family to incorporate the memories of her Detroit community.

McGhee has found inspiration in Abstract Expressionism and the aesthetics of mythology, music, and scientific processes. His finished products are layered and structured works of art that challenge the conventions of traditional painting practices.

Allie McGhee | © Kate Gowman

Harris’s and McGhee’s honorary showcase, Rhythm, Repetition, and Vocab, will be on view from July 20 through November 4 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which is home to over 60,000 artifacts and artworks from the ancient day to the present.

Rhythm, Repetition, and Vocab serves as one of Detroit Art Week’s principle highlights, alongside a tour of open-air art space the Heidelberg Project, a party that will benefit art education programs at Detroit Cristo Rey High School, and REJECTING REALITY, described in the press release as “a one-night avant-garde music and architectural installation with Detroit Bureau of Sound, architect Aaron Jones and composer, performer, and artist Pamela Z.”

For the full list of participating museums, galleries, and studios, click here.

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