‘You Are Here’ exhibit rocks Carr Center

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

“You Are Here” at the Carr Center in Detroit’s Paradise Valley is a visual treat you owe it to yourself to check out.

Artist and curator Anna van Schaap pulled together this sprawling 55-artist group show that covers the Carr’s first floor, and then migrates up stairs to the second and third levels.

The Carr Center’s third floor, with Jak Vista and Bill Bedell’s “Fishing for Small Gods” in the foreground.

She even curated the broad landing halfway up the stairs.

But do yourself a favor: Bypass that for the moment, and start at the third floor of this handsome little 1895 building, originally called the Harmonie Club.

Van Schaap’s made great use of an airy, two-story theater on the top floor with elegant, arched windows that pull in tons of light.

The work up here is almost all installation-based. Dominating the large room is Jak Vista and Bill Bedell’s “Fishing for Small Gods” — an unexpected forest floor filled with seemingly dozens of stumps, vertical branches and the occasional tall wooden cross “rooted” in mounds of actual dirt.

It’s raw, ambitious and electrifying.

Playing the interactive card as well, rather more mischievously, is “Progress in Paradise” by Julianne Lindsey and Elton Monroy Duran.

Here we’re encouraged to stack simple wooden-block buildings (one is labeled “Carr Center”) and then knock them over with a ball suspended from a tripod that swings like a pendulum.

It’s naughty, childish fun and fitting commentary, perhaps, on the sort of real-estate displacement happening in Detroit — and in particular with the Carr Center. It will vacate its home this spring to make way for higher-paying tenants.

Wood parts are in Jak Vista and Bill Bedell’s installation of “Fishing for Small Gods.”

Upstairs, there’s also an intriguing “Wall of Makers,” with dozens of small doors on a large cabinet exhibiting whatever that individual creates. (In one charming case, it’s a bunch of identical plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex heads.)

“I loved the idea of bringing in makers, not just artists,” van Schaap says, in a nod to the city’s reputation as a DIY center.

The cabinet bears some resemblance to “Relics,” the Clinton Snider and Scott Hocking installation years ago in the 2001 “Artists Take on Detroit” at the DIA.

On your way downstairs, do stop for a moment to regard Sophie Eisner’s “Untitled” installation on the two landings between the second and first floor. This affecting tribute to a house of Eisner’s that burned down comes in several parts, all of which invoke “home.”

There’s a lot of strong work on the first floor, among them Sunita Gupta’s “Destiny,” a large, encaustic canvas starring two women whose Indian garb blends with the wallpaper behind them.

Sunita Gupta’s family-based “Destiny,” in “You Are Here” at the Carr Center.

“A lot of her work deals with memory, family and traditional Indian textiles,” van Schaap says.

Family is also the focus of "The Sheer Presence" by Parisa Ghaderi at the back of the first floor. Comprised of 10 sheer, overlapping panels printed with photos of family members, it creates a visually intriguing double exposure.


(313) 222-6021

‘You Are Here’

Through Dec. 17

The Carr Center, 311 E. Grand River, Detroit

11 a.m.-6 p.m., Tue.-Fri.

(313) 965-8430