Kresge Fellows unite for X
Published: April 6, 2011
"You'd maybe see each other around town and share a great feeling for a moment, then that'd be it," he says.
Carducci already knew other fellows, such as fellow writers Lynn Crawford and Chris Tysh. As a music fan, he knew Frank Pahl and Joel Peterson and has attended their concerts. Then there's A. Spencer Barefield. "We went to college together, lived on the same floor in the dorms, and often stayed up all night drinking, listening to John Coltrane," Carducci says. "But I didn't know who the other people were and probably wouldn't have known them unless somehow we ran into each other somewhere random around town. I would've never met Invincible — and let me tell you, she is awesome, smart as hell, amazing."
Carducci, sounding like a man being treated for an art addiction, says "the ArtServe meetings have done something, but you have to want to take advantage of it." What he means is that some artists have been more into it than others, however he doesn't fault any artist for wanting to be private, noting some of the best artists, such as Gordon Newton, are basically social hermits.
Still, the critic stays high on the power of the group.
"At the last meeting, just the writers got together and kind of recognized that there was a group within the group," he says. "Writers of fiction and creative nonfiction have a whole different thing going on than the poets, we learned. And the poets are known really well outside Detroit. So now other writers are trying to see what they're doing, Lynn Crawford and Steve Hughes are now doing a reading together, inspired as a direct result of the ArtServe meeting. And let's not forget the visual artists — the way they represent so many practices, now who knows how they might cross-pollinate with one another? It's an amazing yet unintended consequence."
That unintended consequence between the fellows will be a common theme at Art X.
The flamenco dancer Valeria Montes is collaborating with break dance vet Haleem "Stringz" Rasheed and Detroit Symphony Orchestra double bassist Rick Robinson. Robinson will later perform with rapper and activist Invincible and singer Monica Blaire. Experimental jazz heads Pahl and Peterson are teaming up for a show. Visual artist Chido Johnson will lead a wire car cruise in collaboration with students and other area artists in front of the DIA. There'll be a talk featuring a panel of fellows that includes Susan Goethel Campbell, Tyree Guyton, Chido Johnson and Cedric Tai. Poets Vievee Francis, Rachel Harkai and Matthew Olzmann will share a stage.
And, of course, there will be countless solo exhibitions of visual art, as well as music, dance and reading performances.
Art X might prove as overwhelming as it is awesome.
And if that byproduct of collaborative energy among artists can be harnessed, then we might be on the verge of the unprecedented arts explosion some say Detroit's been gearing toward.
"That these artists could be such a resource for each other and leverage their individual networks to benefit the whole to the extent they have has been a genuine surprise for everyone," Charles says.
"The interesting thing about the art scene in Detroit right now," Carducci says, "is that it's getting very communal."
Art X runs Wednesday, April 6, through Sunday, April 10, at multiple Midtown venues (DIA, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Scarab Club, Majestic Theatre, and Leopold's Books). For more info, see artxdetroit.com.
> Email Travis R. Wright