Tuesday, January 5, 2016


I went to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see the special exhibit 30 Americans that ends in about 2 weeks. The interesting aspect of this exhibit is that those 30 Americans are black and the show is about the art they produce. The museum encouraged taking photos of the artwork to share on the show's Instagram page. I'll describe a few of the images and provide links to them. Of course, seeing the images in person is better.

* Painter Kehinde Wiley pulled out an assortment of European art that, of course, featured white guys. He asked young black men to choose one of the artworks. Wiley then recreated the artwork with the black man posing to replace the white guy. The original of this one was of a Spanish (I think) duke or count wearing armor and on a rearing horse. The young black man sitting in for the duke is wearing the typical hoodie with big insignia across the back.

* A riff on the long-running MasterCard ad campaign produced the strongest message of the show. Alas, I don't remember the name of the artist. The text across the image: 3 piece suit: $250, new socks $2, gold chain $400, 9mm pistol $80, bullet ¢60, Picking the perfect casket for your son: Priceless.

* A riff on a children's game resulted in a piece titled "duck, duck, noose." There are nine child size stools in a circle, each with a child size Klan hood. Hanging in the center of the circle is a noose.

* Not all of the art was grim and aiming for a pointed message. Another of Wiley's works was a huge canvas of a sleeping almost nude black man. The level of exactness is amazing. Yes, this is a recreation of a painting showing a similarly nude white man sleeping.

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