Someone once described Patti Smith as "a Detroit artist by marriage," a sobriquet that speaks well for our shared luck and Cupid's fondness for the Motor City. However, the artist existed well before matrimony, and finding the terms poet, singer, songwriter and "visual provacateur" next to Smith's name in any reference source is to be expected. You may now add photographer to that list – and lift up a few hosannas for Patti Smith: Camera Solo, a DIA showcase starting 6/1 that marks the first American museum exhibition of her pictures. Her works are non-digital and perfect examples of what film – real film in real cameras – is always capable of capturing. Smith's subjects, drawn from every corner of both her personal and artistic experiences, comprise a tone poem that celebrates both life and the poetic everyday. And here's another nod in the direction of good fortune – in conjunction with the exhibit's opening, Smith will perform a live concert in the Detroit Film Theatre with her son Jackson Smith and her daughter Jesse Smith. Full details: dia.org.
Let Your Eyes Drink in The Energy!
Of all the Memorial Day weekend events we enjoyed, top prize goes to the grand opening of the Red Bull House of Art Detroit. This collaborative effort curated by our good friend Matt Eaton is "an incubation project providing up and coming artists with a creative environment to develop new works and innovative ideas." Well, everything hatched nicely and the works created by the chosen eight artists are a collective tribute to our city's impressive talent and promise. We're also happy to say that the exhibited pieces will be on display for awhile. First, the octet: Matt Gordon, Keri Mortimer, Frank Jonas, Mark Sarmel, Ben Saginaw, Cystal Vinson and Peter DeAngelo. Second, the address: 1551 Winder in the Eastern Market. Third, a well-deserved message of thanks to the folks who give us Red Bull.
There's going to be a two-day celebration of things cultural and international at Farmington's Masonic Hall this weekend. The Absinthe Festival of International Film & Writing kicks of on 6/1 with readings and discussions led by Dunya Mikhail, Chris Tysh, and Polish translator Benjamin Paloff. There will also be a screening of Farewell, a 2009 Cold War thriller directed by Christian Carion. On 6/2, the featured speakers will be Mariela Griffor, Anca Vlasopolos, and Jeffrey Angles. This round table will be followed by the 2009 film adaptation of Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog. More info: absinthenew.com
Fahrenheit 900 Seconds
The nice people from Urban Pheasant Glass are once again inviting you to drop by the Russell Industrial Center on 5/30 and wield a blowtorch for a quarter of an hour. 15 Minutes of Flame PART 2 is also a chance to benefit the Michigan Glass project and help create a tank installation at the Belle Isle Aquarium for the Grand Prix Party scheduled on 5/31. It's a mere $10 for a glorious snippet of creative joy. If you decide to sizzle with the acetylene, please don cotton clothing, shoes with closed toes ... and "hold off on the beer until after your time slot." 2-10 p.m. at 1600 Clay St. in Detroit.
We Wanted To Quote Tacitus Here, But ...
Michael McGillis is a Detroit artist who has spent the better part of the last decade integrating sculpture and installation works into living environments and landscapes. The pieces he installed inside Public Pool are not entirely woven within a verdant frame, but Reckoning a Peripheral Wilderness delivers a striking number of ideas. First and foremost among them is the comforting (and ironic) message that a natural world so often ravaged or disguised by a city has a resilience that the human eye often overlooks. Seeds (NOT, we hasten to add, the bad kind) find opportunity in cracked sidewalks; the lonely triumph of a weed may be something to quietly cherish. All this ties in with a charming term called entropy, but we prefer to simply enjoy the entirety of what McGillis has successfully planted in Hamtramck. 3309 Caniff. Please check the Public Pool website for additional info. | RDW