If you only know Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller from their band Adult. (yes, there’s a period), a visit to their show “Discreet Vulgarities” at the Simone DeSousa Gallery in Midtown may come as a bracing surprise.
You don’t expect a pair so talented in one realm to bring this much punch to another. But the stuff they’ve got on display, until Oct. 10, is shocking, witty, and often beautifully rendered.
Start with the shocking. A few of the titles on their pieces — some collaborative, some individual — can’t run in a family newspaper. But the work here isn’t dirty. It’s just highly suggestive, and sometimes funny.
Take “Peep Seat (Dirty Cone).” A crude plywood chair sits atop an enclosed plywood box that sports a three-inch peep hole about 18 inches off the ground.
Kneel down to take a peek, and what you find inside is a surprisingly vivid video — almost like a hologram — of a white-gloved hand polishing a gleaming traffic cone.
Gallery owner DeSousa recalls how fashionably dressed women at the opening got right down on their knees and hunched over to peer into this oddball camera obscura. “The piece pokes fun at popular associations with sex jokes,” she says.
Not everything aims to titillate or amuse, however.
Kuperus’ photographs, like “Perfect Position” with its two white-gloved hands in a circular pose, or “Attempting Camouflage (Two Chairs),” are alternately beautiful and off the wall.
The gestalt at another Midtown gallery just a few blocks away could hardly be more different.
Curator Jeff Cancelosi, long associated with Northville’s Art House, has pulled together an intriguing group show at Detroit Artists Market, “The Change We Want to See: Artists Reflect on Detroit,” up through Oct. 17.
Some marvelous Detroit artists are represented among the 14 on display, including Nicole Macdonald, Katie Grace McGowan, Nora Chapa Mendoza and Eric Mesko.
Some of the canvases directly address the subject at hand, like Mario Moore’s hopeful portrait of a young couple kissing, “Oh, Black Love.”
Others, like Matt Eaton’s striking abstract in greens, “Chandelier 30,” seemingly have little to do with Detroit, but are, in this case at least, visually quite dazzling.
‘Discreet Vulgarities - Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller’
Through Oct. 10
Simone DeSousa Gallery, 444 W. Willis, #112, Detroit
11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday
‘The Change We Want to See: Artists Reflect on Detroit’
Through Oct. 17
Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward, Detroit
11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday