DIA News July 2011

In This Issue
Director's Letter
Exhibitions
New on View
Concert of Colors
Bal Africain
Inside/Out
Summer Art Making
News and Notes

Director's Letter

Graham W.J. Beale, Director 

In my last column, I mentioned some of the opportunities that new technology has made available to art museums, and similar factors are in play with our installation program Inside|Out. Just a few years ago, England's National Gallery placed high-quality reproductions of their most famous works in the streets and parks of London, but when we looked into doing something along those lines, it turned out to be prohibitively expensive and we dropped the idea. Then, in spring 2010, when a DIA trustee drew our attention to a new, infinitely more economical technique and offered to sponsor its use for our purposes, we were able to install forty high-quality reproductions of some of our best-known paintings in locations around Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties. Some locations were matched to a work of art (a painting of historic ruins mounted in front of Detroit's shattered railroad terminus building, for example), others had no such connection. The response was, to say the least, highly gratifying. One work of art, situated on posts in a park, was dressed up in altarlike fashion, but the other thirty-nine were untouched for the months they were on view. Our hope, of course, is that people will be inspired to see the original--and perhaps others--at the museum.

For this year and next, we've expanded the program to send installations of six or seven works to forty-four communities. As we learned that people encountering the works wanted information about them, this time the images are accompanied by labels giving artist, title, and a dash of explanatory text. Events, varying from location to location, are being planned by a combination of DIA staff, volunteers, and community representatives.

Here are a few of the comments from the DIA's Facebook page, blogs, and Web site:

THANK YOU DIA for placing those wonderful paintings in the city of New Baltimore. It's beautiful and exciting!

Howell is thrilled with our masterpiece reproductions! You have added to the charm of walking around our downtown. I love to watch people's reaction, old and young, they have a look of surprise and wonder. There is a definite buzz and renewed interest in viewing art. Thank you!

What better way to spend time with a chatty middle-schooler than cruising around downtown Howell in the drizzle, admiring magnificent paintings like drive-by gawkers. It was wonderful. There's always that ongoing battle over funding for the arts in public education. If anyone doubts the value of art in our lives, I hope they take a stroll through downtown Howell to see the difference it makes. It's amazing.

I cannot thank the DIA enough for installing these masterworks in Milan. I am an arts educator and artist and I have worked for years to get kids interested in the fine arts. You have brought these images directly to them, and it has made a difference in their appreciation. For my own family--DIA members and frequent visitors--we were thrilled to go on a hunt to find all the paintings and try to recall their names and artists. One was even installed right on our own street! We...look forward to enjoying them [all] for their stay. Thanks again.

My art-loving kid worries the magnificent reproductions might fall prey to vandalization by "hoodlums." Being the misguided optimist that I am, I trust that the beauty of these pieces will win over the hearts and minds of those who find little value for art in public spaces, and, of course, the hoodlums.

Checkout the museum's interactive map to find the locations of our traveling masterpieces.

Graham Beal Signature
Graham W. J. Beal

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Paul Peters, Hilly Landscape

Exhibitions

ZooIt's A Zoo In Here! Prints and Drawings of Animals

Through September 25, 2011
Schwartz Galleries of Prints and Drawings

Paul Peters, Hilly Landscape (detail) 

Paul Peters, American; Hilly Landscape (detail), 1946; watercolor and ink over graphite pencil. Gift of John S. Newberry

 

This exhibition of more than 170 prints and drawings by over 100 artists is designed to bring viewers of all ages closer, both figuratively and literally, to art through a very accessible subject matter that has captivated all cultures on many levels. Thirty works are hung lower than usual at a height that allows younger visitors to comfortably look the animals right in the eye. Specially designed "Creature Features" are spread throughout the galleries to engage youngsters in a thoughtful examination of the contents of selected works.

Simple poems are used to stimulate imagination to play out active scenes taking place in complex works such as Felix Darley's Feeding the Horse or a Japanese woodcut that considers a tiger's nightly prowls. A "Where's Waldo"-like game to find a tiny deer hidden in the foliage is played with Paul Peters's little watercolor Hilly Landscape. Birdcage, Saul Steinberg's simple but charming depiction on ledger paper of birds, encourages viewers to think about how to draw the winged creatures. And then there's Grant Wood's January, a lithograph of a snowy scene without an animal, only the trace evidence that one had been there. Children can compare the tracks across the field with those of various animals to determine whether Wood was, perhaps, referring to squirrels, rabbits, or birds.

The zoo doesn't have to end at the gallery doors. Animals prowl the halls throughout the museum. On the first floor alone, you can start with Andy Warhol's giant red panda directly across from the Schwartz gallery's Prentis Court doors, then head to the north wing and find the roaring lion in the Asian galleries, the leopard in the African ones, and a rooster in the Islamic gallery. You can explore the rest of the museum on your own looking for animals, or you can stop at the Family Fitting Room table in Prentis Court for suggestions for your hunt.

It's a Zoo in Here! can serve as inspiration for kids and adults to create their own creatures at Saturday drop-in workshops during July. Use crayons, markers, colored pencils, and decorative papers to create your favorite animal. If you'd like to leave your finished creations, we will post them in our community gallery.

Above: Paul Peters, American; Hilly Landscape, 1946; watercolor and ink over graphite pencil. Gift of John S. Newberry

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New on View: Royal Marionettes

Walter E. Deaves, Diver and Octopus 

Walter E. Deaves, American; Diver and Octopus, 1903; wood, paint, cloth, leather. Founders Society Purchase, Paul McPharlin Memorial Fund

 

New puppets have moved in to the cases across from the Lecture Hall: late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century, large-scale marionettes that were popular on music hall and vaudeville stages. The DIA's Paul McPharlin Puppetry Collection contains some of the best examples of these intricate American "Royal Marionettes," which were feats of stagecraft design; some were so complex they required two people to simultaneously operate a single puppet. All such marionettes were part of large troupes that performed in well-equipped theaters around the world more than a century ago. Walter Deaves, Daniel Meader, and others followed a particular tradition of marionette theater introduced in this country by English puppeteers in the 1870s. These troupes traveled the country performing in variety acts featuring strange and surprising characters, like a deep-sea diver and octopus.

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Concert of Colors

The DIA celebrates this year's Concert of Colors with an evening of free music and film on Friday, June 15. Orlando "Maraca" Valle and Mr. B's Joybox Express provide the music and the DFT contributes the film Africa United to the festivities.

Maraca 

Maraca is arguably the world's most famous contemporary Cuban flutist. He takes the sounds of his Afro-Cuban roots (rumba, danzon, chachacha, mambo, and timba) and fuses it with jazz improvisations to create an original style that has become highly recognized as the epitome of Cuban popular dance music. He performs at 7 p.m. in the DFT auditorium.

Mr. B's Joybox Express 

Blues and boogie pianist Mr. B concludes his 300-mile, two-week long, cross-state Joybox Express ride with two performances at the DIA at 4:30 and 6 p.m. The heart of the Joybox Express is a custom-made tricycle that tows a 352-pound piano. Mr. B is joined by a full ensemble of musical bikers, including guitar, bass, and drum players.

The day's activities conclude with the 9:30 p.m. showing of Africa United, the extraordinary story of three Rwandan children who walk 3,000 miles to South Africa, hoping to attend the Soccer World Cup.

Admission to the DIA is free all day. The annual Concert of Colors brings together metro Detroit's diverse ethnic communities through music from around the world performed at venues all over town. Click here for a complete schedule of the weekend's performances.

Concert of Colors events at the DIA are sponsored by HealthPlus of Michigan.

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Bal Africain

The 47th Annual Bal Africain®

Sat., July 16, 6-11 p.m.

Maureen and Roy S. Roberts 

Bal Africain®, one of the most important fundraising events at the Detroit Institute of Arts, has made "Caribbean Splendor" this year's theme. Guests will feel as if they have walked into an island paradise, with tropical trees, plants, and flowers decorating the halls, a Caribbean-inspired menu, and the sounds of a steel band. Ambassadors from Jamaica, Barbados, and the Republics of Trinidad and Tobago will be among the distinguished guests. Huel Perkins of WJBK-TV FOX2 serves as master of ceremonies. This year's honored guests are Maureen and Roy S. Roberts (left), for whom the DIA recently named a gallery.

In conjunction with the Bal, a mini-film festival features two films about Africa. Showing Thursday, July 14, at 7 p.m., is Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène's 2000 movie FAAT-KINE, which provides a critical look at modern, postcolonial Dakar and the place of women in that society. Africa United, the extraordinary story of three Rwandan children who walk 3,000 miles hoping to attend the Soccer World Cup, is featured Friday, July 15, at 9:30 p.m. Both films are free with Bal Africain tickets.

All proceeds from this annual gala support acquisitions for the museum's collections of African and African American art, as well as lectures and programs sponsored by the Friends of African and African American Art. For more information, or to obtain tickets for the event, call 313.833.4005 or go to www.dia.org/balafricain2011.

Bal African's sponsors include Ford Motor Company Fund, Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, DTE Energy Foundation, General Motors, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network, Bank of America, Comerica Bank, St. John Providence Health System, and Delta Air Lines. StyleLine Magazine is the print media sponsor.

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Inside|Out Free Admission

Inside|Out at the Carnegie Library, Howell 

Carnegie Library, Howell

 

The residents of cities participating in the DIA's Inside|Out program, which brings high-quality reproductions of museum masterpieces to the streets and parks of the greater metro area, can take advantage of four, free general admissions to select DIA Family Sundays.

The free admission day is a way of thanking the communities for their participation and for helping make Inside|Out such a success. The museum hopes that after discovering the reproductions around town, residents will come to the DIA to see the actual works of art and enjoy some of the special Family Sunday activities, including drop-in workshops, drawing in the galleries, tours, and family-friendly performances.

Here's how it works: Residents who provide a driver's license or state ID on the date specially designated for their city receive four free general admissions to the DIA. Activities are included, but ticketed exhibitions are not.

Free admission days for residents of cities in the first Inside|Out grouping are as follows:

  • Howell and Brooklyn, July 10
  • Livonia, July 17
  • Manchester and Milan, July 24
  • New Baltimore and Romeo, July 31
  • Novi, August 7
  • Rochester, August 14
  • St. Clair Shores, August 21
  • Sterling Heights, August 28

Communities participating in the fall or next year's Inside|Out installations will also receive free general admission. Those dates will be announced before each round of reproductions is installed in September 2011, April 2012, and July 2012.

The DIA is seeking a sponsor for the Inside|Out free admission program, which will introduce two million people in forty-four communities to the museum over the next two years.

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Summer Art Making at the DIA

Youth in the DIA Studio 

There are plenty of opportunities for people to get their hands dirty making art at the DIA this summer. For kids, there are summer camps offering an innovative studio art program that takes advantages of a museum filled with great art. Teaching artists introduce children to a variety of projects, which in the past have included clay masks, multimedia puppets, painted portraits, imaginative drawings, and wood sculpture, as a means of encouraging individual expression. Campers also exercise skills in interpreting art while exploring the galleries. All levels of experience are welcome! Camp size limited to 20 people.

For adults, another popular Introduction to the Potter's Wheel workshop is on the schedule. Participants receive individual guidance and view demonstrations. Projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Class size limited to 12 students.

And families can get creative together making clay animal jars in a class held in conjunction with the exhibition It's a Zoo in Here! Ancient Egyptians made jars in the shapes of animals to carry possessions with them into the afterlife. What would you carry in yours?

For those long summer days, extra drop-in workshops are available during the week, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. These are in addition to the three regularly scheduled weekend workshops. There's a different craft for each session, so come often and try them all out.

For a more information, including dates and times, or to register for a class, click here.

Preregistration and prepayment is required for all camps and classes. Drop-in workshops are free with museum admission.

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News and Notes

New DIA Blog

There's a new blog in town and it's ours. The former art studio and photography blogs have been combined into a museum-wide one, with expanded coverage of the DIA's many activities and postings by curators and other staff members. It currently features posts on Inside|Out, a new Lego project, and community art fairs and festivals where the DIA will be represented. Check it out!

Support the DIA with Pizza

The DIA Pizza from Buddy's 

Photo by Jerry Zolynsky

 

Buddy's Pizza will donate $1 for each sale of its new specialty DIA pizza, part of the Motor City Pizza Collection honoring four Detroit-area institutions. Robert Jacobs, owner of Buddy's Pizza and DIA board member, is celebrating sixty-five years in business by supporting the museum, the Henry Ford, the Detroit Zoo, and the Parade Company. The DIA's pizza was the clear favorite of many of the guests on hand for a grand oven opening, and though he did not play favorites, even Jacobs admitted that the museum's pizza was "the most beautiful of them all." The DIA pizza is topped with spinach, artichokes, capers, roasted tomatoes, and parmesan cheese and served with a lemon wedge. Buddy's will continue donating $1 to the museum for every DIA pizza sold throughout the year, so visit your nearest Buddy's (nine locations in metro Detroit), enjoy a pizza with panache, and support the DIA.

Seen on the Streets

Much to our delight and surprise, Farnsworth Street is getting a facelift. The street is being resurfaced between Woodward and John R streets. The original surface has been removed, and the next step is lifting the sewer grates and covers to the height of the new one. The street will then receive a first layer to be covered by a new top surface. The major work has been done on Mondays and Tuesdays to avoid inconveniencing museum visitors. In a few weeks, we should have a street as beautiful as the newly planted Farnsworth median.

Feeding the Future

As metro-Detroit school cafeterias close for the summer, many students receiving free and reduced-priced lunches face the prospect of a day without a proper meal. But the museum's food service provider, Sodexo, is helping to fill the gap through it's Feeding Our Future program. Between now and September, chefs, servers, and other Sodexo employees, along with DIA volunteers, will prepare approximately 18,500 lunches for area youth. Sodexo donates the necessary food and covers any labor costs, and the lunches are distributed by Gleaners Community Food Bank.

Nationwide, Sodexo has provided more than 2.5 million free summer lunches to hungry children since the program's inception in 1997. This summer Sodexo will provide summer lunches in twenty-four cities.

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Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48202
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313.833.7900

Comments or questions about the newsletter? Please contact us: comments@dia.org 

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