Because there was a monkey wrench thrown right in the mix of my trip to Chicago with the rest of you folks, I was forced to get acquainted with a handful of museums and artsy galleries in Spartan enemy territory-Ann Arbor. On the list of places to visit, I got my art fix at “The Gallery Project,” “University of Michigan Museum of Art,” and U of M’s ‘Kelsey Museum.” Because of my shotty luck, a locked door, and a CLOSED sign, I wasn’t able to check the “Work” gallery off of my checklist. Anyhow, beyond my trio of visited venues, I was even able to experience art on the streets of Ann Arbor-right down to the “homeless” man in a snazzy pair of aviator shades and a decorated piece of cardboard requesting loose change for a bike. While I’m sure my adventures in Wolverine World matched up as a fun-sized candy bar to a king-sized in comparison to the Chicago field trip, I still left feeling culturally enriched and proud that I was able to say I stepped foot in an art world other than Kresge.
During my day in Downtown Ann Arbor, I experienced art in a handful of different locations. Thus, the environment in which I was viewing the art played a huge part in how I absorbed the featured pieces. For starters, “The Gallery Project” was a quaint little place that oozed simplicity and housed a boatload of animal themed works. Because of its miniature size it gave off a personal, more “homey”, vibe. I felt comfortable. Not to mention, snapping pictures were allowed and the most security this place had was a kind brunette who was glued to her macbook. The UMMA gallery, on the other hand, was a doozy. It was very overwhelming in size and I couldn’t shake the feeling of intimidation. It didn’t help that the place was crawling with security and “NO CAMERAS ALLOWED” signs. Beyond that, there were moments when I realized I was skimming over works instead of actually taking them in and developing an opinion.
GALLERY PROJECT: Hummingbird - Rocco DePietro (oil on panel)
GALLERY PROJECT: This particular piece was missing its label, thus, I wasn’t able to figure out the name of it and the artist who created it. However, I felt the need to post it anyway. I enjoyed the “Day In The Life Of A Snail” impression I got from it every time I looked at it.
GALLERY PROJECT: The Umvelt Flux Kit - Stephen Thomas (interactive role playing game)
Of all the pieces in the gallery, this wacky piece had to be my favorite. It was interactive board game where you took on the role of a bee (it even came with bee goggles to ensure you were completely in character!) and took part in bee-like duties. It was even complete with the normal cookie-cutter game board pieces-the whole shebang!
GALLERY PROJECT: Cast of Asymmetrical Skull of Eocene archaeocete Whale - Philip Gingerich
I really dig the whale-skull and its pastel-y colors. It was interesting to find out it was the innards of a whale as I came in thinking it was a dino-mouth.
AS SEEN ON THE STREETS: A pair of funky painted fire hydrants that caught my eye. The hydrants in my neck of woods aren’t nearly as fancy schmancy as these.
AS SEEN ON THE STREETS: I’ve always been a fan of the glitzy theaters that resemble those of the retro 1920’s and 30’s.
Work Gallery. Closed, unfortunately. On the bright side, there was a mini-tv propped up in the window playing an episode of ‘Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.’
AS SEEN ON THE STREETS: Graffiti Alley.
While on the way to the Work Gallery, I stumbled upon an alley where the brick walls and cement grounds were depicting years of artistic expression. The place was crawling with painted political stances, doodles, cigarette butts, and there was even a section of the brick that featured a cluster of chewed up bubblegum wads. Although I’m not totally a fan of the graffiti medium, I had to consider the alley stop as one of my favorites that afternoon.
AS SEEN ON THE STREETS: Mural.
AS SEEN ON THE STREETS: State Theatre. Another glitzy theater that I had to oogle at. I was also pretty stoked about ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ playing.
Orion (2006) - Mark Di Suvero. Outside of the UMMA building.
Shang (1984-1985) - Mark Di Suvero. Outside of the UMMA building.
UMMA: Horse With Saddle - Artist Unknown. (China, Tang Dynasty 618-907)