It’s no secret that competent arts writers are hard to find here in the Midwest. Ever since the internet gutted local print media, arts coverage has more or less disappeared from the pages of newspapers like The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. Independent online culture websites like Hyperallergic and more locally, Detroit Art Review, AADL Pulp and New Art Examiner, have struggled to fill in the gaps with limited personnel and funding.
Finding a good arts writer is a real treasure hunt. (In my capacity as Great Lakes Editor for New Art Examiner I’m always looking.) So I was delighted to discover Sean Bieri, who has a good eye for art and a nice way with words.
Like most Detroit artists, Sean wears multiple hats. He is a co-founder and board member of Hatch Hamtramck, one of the best places to find up-and-coming artists in Detroit, and is also responsible for the design and restoration of Hamtramck Disneyland, an outsider art landmark. Somehow he has found the time to take on the job of writing the occasional art review for New Art Examiner.
You can read his first review on Life is But a Dream at Galerie Camille in Detroit for New Art Examiner here. I hope it is the first of many.
By now, everyone has heard of the Heidelberg Project, Tyree Guyton’s 30 year-long outdoor Motown installation of found objects and eccentrically painted houses, but few know about the many other idiosyncratic ongoing art installations that dot the Detroit landscape. A few endure as more-or-less permanent art projects that reflect their creators’ unique ideas of what art is for outside of the more conventional capitalist gallery system. I have profiled three of them in the current edition of New Art Examiner. You can read the story here
The next issue of New Art Examiner has just gone to press. This time around, I wrote three reviews of Detroit artists. Justin Marshall and Rachel Pontious, both painters, are fairly young and their work, to me, showed signs of the trauma they have endured during the pandemic. Carole Harris, a more established artist, seems to have sailed through the past year, producing a body of work that shows that, at this point, she can really do no wrong. You can read my review of her solo show at Hill Gallery here.
You can read my review of Rachel Pontious’s solo show Mise en Abyme at Playground Detroit here.
You can read my review of Justin Marshall’s solo show The End at Public Pool here.
I recently wrote a review of an exhibit entitled Paint Piles at River House Arts in Toledo, Ohio. You can read the full text describing Natalie Lanese’s solo show of colorful abstractions at newartxaminer.org
My article in New Art Examiner, The Medium and the Message: New Media and the Democratization of Fine Art in Detroit, has just been published. In it, I cover the the city’s street art scene, the radical egalitarianism of SaveArtSpace.org and make a visit to a 9-hour new media marathon, live streamed from Detroit to Chicago. Go here to read more.