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Simone DeSousa Gallery - Cass Corridor: Connecting Times Curated by Nancy Mitchnick April 21 – August 19, 2017 and Fall 2018
Apr 21, 2017 to Aug 19, 2017
Simone DeSousa Gallery, 444 W Willis, Units 111 & 112, Detroit, MI 48201 (313)833-9000
From the mid sixties through the late seventies, Cass Corridor was the home of an art community that at the time was regarded as Detroit’s avant-garde, a counter-culture art movement shaped by the anxieties of the city—poverty, race, the Viet Nam war, industrial decline—and the optimism of new life styles, protests, music, and art. Often described as “Urban Expressionism,” the art was usually tough and gritty, process-oriented, and personal, but in contrast with its general reputation, it could also be lyrical and delicate, systematic and elegant. It was art of resistance and survival.
This intense scene of cultural production was centered on the stretch of Cass from Warren south, and the block formed by Canfield and Willis was at its heart, a neighborhood occupied by Willis Gallery, bars (Cobb’s, Traffic Jam), and the artists’ studios of Common Ground. For the past nine years, Simone DeSousa Gallery has occupied a piece of this same block. With the upcoming series of exhibitions, Cass Corridor: Connecting Times, the gallery seeks to stimulate a conversation about what happened then and where we are now. How does this art speak to us today, as we engage our own social/political upheavals and conflicts?
This series of exhibitions is curated by Nancy Mitchnick, an artist who was part of the Cass Corridor art community from its beginning. She gives us a very personal glimpse of that time, reminding us of some of its central figures, its diverse aesthetics, and its dynamic cultural engagement. Mitchnick left Detroit in 1973, at the height of its energy. Since her return, she is again a very active artist in the city. She brings us her knowledge of both the then and the now of Detroit art, giving us a perspective on how that earlier Cass Corridor speaks to us today.