Detroit Art Week highlights art and edginess

Michael H. Hodges
The Detroit News
"Rejecting Reality" at Red Bull Arts Detroit during last year's Detroit Art Week

Detroit Art Week founder Amani Olu sees the five-day celebration of edgy art and culture as a way to get visitors -- both local and international -- into the city, where he's confident they'll get hooked. 

"We want this to be a major cultural-tourism driver for the future," said Olu, a native Philadelphian who moved here from Brooklyn three years ago.

"You've got to give people a reason to be curious," he said. "We want them to get familiar with Detroit, and then come back."

This second-annual Art Week comes with dozens and dozens of reasons to be curious, including 36 exhibitions, 14 artist-studio visits, 13 performances, and eight panel discussions spread all across town. 

"This second edition is the bigger and better-than-ever Detroit Art Week," Olu said, laughing. 

Most events will be free, though a limited number will charge admission.

Wasserman Projects in Detroit was one of numerous galleries that participated in Detroit Art Week 2018.

One of those will be the art project central to this year's experience, "Young Curators, New Ideas V," with exhibitions at Detroit's Trumbull and Porter Hotel.

A one-day pass is $5 per person. 

But it sure sounds like fun: Twelve hotel rooms will be given over to a group of curators, local and international alike, to stage mini-exhibitions that will run throughout the festival. 

Another promising gambit is "Show Me Your Shelves!", in which four black artists -- two Detroiters and two Germans -- will exhibit in Detroit Public Library branches, including Bree Gant's show at the downtown Skillman branch through Aug. 18. 

It hardly stops there.

Gisela McDaniel has an exhibition at Playground Detroit, Chelsea A. Flowers will stage her "Lies I Told My Therapist and Other Stories" Saturday evening at Detroit's Light Box, while on Thursday Indus Detroit will host a panel discussion, "Halal Metropolis: Detroit," exploring facts and fantasy about Arab-Americans in the Detroit area.

"I'm really interested in 'Halal Metropolis," Olu said, "which will look at the vast range of Muslim identities through jazz, music and art." 

Also not to be missed are guided tours Thursday and Saturday afternoons of Danish artist Anders Ruhwald's "Unit 1: 3583 Dubois," in which the former Cranbrook Academy of Art artist-in-residence has created an oddly dream-like apartment that looks like it's been ravaged by fire. 

"I think that’s going to wow a lot of people," Olu said. 

Detroit Art Week co-founders Amani Olu and Aleiya Lindsey.

(313) 222-6021

Twitter: @mhodgesartguy

'Detroit Art Week'

July 17-21

Various locations around Detroit