Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Michigan Artists XXXVII @ Anton Art Center

Installation view: Michigan Annual XXXV, Anton Art Center, 2009. (All images here and below courtesy of the artists and Anton Art Center. All works below completed in the last two years.)

I juried the Michigan Annual XXXVII exhibition at the Anton Art Center in downtown Mount Clemens. The show opens this Friday, January 28, from 6 to 9 pm. Awards will be given out at 7:30 pm.

I have to say it was a challenge. There were 177 pieces submitted and I had to get it down to 38. There was a lot of good stuff that unfortunately I couldn't accept due to space, especially because I felt I had to respect what I consider to be one of the great things about these kinds of shows, which is that they are on some level about community. There are people who might only have this one chance to get their stuff shown each year or people who don't do the "professional" thing for whatever reason. There are also those who are either just getting started or who picked up artmaking late in life and so again aren't in it necessarily for fame and fortune (at least not yet).

That noted, I believe that the show is pretty interesting. As the press release says:
What really makes this event special is the level of diversity - ranging from established artists to those who are self taught, teens to seniors, traditional to contemporary works. This exhibition highlights exceptional pieces created in all media including ceramics, drawing, fibers, painting, photography, sculpture and more.
I also have a history with the Art Center. When I first got out of art school in the mid-1970s and moved back home to the East Side for a brief stint with the folks, the Michigan Annual was the first show I submitted to. I had both of my pieces accepted so it's where I officially got my start.

You'll recognize some of the names, but there are many you won't. Some real suprises for me -- Daren Dundee, a retired probation officer who fetishizes Happy Meal trinkets in 24K gold, and Ryan El-Yafouri, a teen-aged skateboarder whose low-brow illustrations are totally good to go. If he isn't given a full ride to CCS or some other art school, I'll eat my Chuck Taylors.

Daren Dundee, Golden Memories. (Happy Meal toys in 24K gold paint.)

Ryan El-Yafouri, Robo-Barf. (Acrylic & pen on skateboard.)
Another wacky thing. The show was written up in The Italian Tribune, a dual-language newspaper that's been published in metro Detroit for 102 years. My maternal grandfather and namesake Vincenzo Amato was the opera critic in the 1930s and also sold ads. (My Mom remembers going around with him after church on Sundays to collect from late payers. A pipefitter by trade, he died in 1946 likely of asbestos poisoning. My wife Sue still has his opera clothes, including spats, in her cedar closet.)

Hope you can make it out to the opening or at least check out the show, which closes February 25. Below are a few more images, in no particular order, just to give you an idea of what you'll see:

Corrie Baldauf, The tomato juice was pink; the radish juice was burgundy. (Ink & graphite on cradled wood panel.)

Darcy Scott, After the Storm II. (Watercolor on paper.)

Dolores Slowinski, Threadlines Sketchbook: 10+9+11. (Thread on paper.)

Jack O. Summers, Detroit Rust 2. (Digital archival print.)
Bill Murko, Hell's Angel. (Oil on canvas.)
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29 JANUARY UPDATE: Here's a video shot by Jenny Callans, director of the Anton Art Center, showing the selected pieces installed.


  1. It's nice to get a word from the juror about a show like this. I'm afraid I'll be out of town for the opening.

  2. congrats! keep up the good work/this is a great presentation.
    Modern Art

  3. Thank you both. It was a good exercise, both doing the jurying show and doing the write up.

  4. I was glad to find this article about the show. I was unable to make it for the opening. The work that was present when I dropped off my piece was great! You most definitely had a difficult task!

    Thank you,
    Mark Piotrowski

  5. Mark, Thank you for your submission. It's a really strong show & Alison Wong did a fantastic job with the installation. But everything depends on the artists, so it's really to your credit as much as anything. I was happy to have taken part.