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March 27, 2018: Your Arts & Culture Adventure Picks

This post is a part of a series of posts curating adventurous arts and culture experiences in Southeast Michigan. Sign up for email updates (choose “Arts & Culture Adventures” list).

amanda krugliak

UMS Wallace Blogging Fellow Amanda Krugliak is an artist, curator, and arts administrator best known for performance and conceptual experiential installations, most notably as curator at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities since 2007.

I’m still patiently waiting for crocuses to be in full bloom, and I’ve been reminded yet again this year that things never quite turn out the way you expected. I’m never going to be an heiress, its official. Alert the media… and I’m not sure I still believe in the American Dream.

But I’ve reminded too, of the power of the People, their great ideas, and how many of them are right here right now. There are so many extraordinary happenings in your town…things to see, places to go, a melody that opens you up. After a long winter and a road full of pot- holes, Place is what you make it. So, turn off the space heater and the nature channel, tumbleweeds are so “yesterday.” Swap those slippers for Chelsea boots, and venture out! Because Why Not….

56th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival
March 20-25
Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is truly one of the greatest happenings every year, anywhere. 56 years old, it’s still quirky, smart, engaging, offbeat, inspiring, and inventive. It continues to bring together visual thinkers from across the globe, along with our own eclectic like- minded visionaries, all gloriously gathering in style to celebrate experimental film.

Under the leadership of Director Leslie Raymond and Associate Director of Programs Katie Mc Gowan, the offerings this year surpass expectations in their relevance, and innovation. In addition to the sublime  experience of viewing so many wonderful films in competition, and attending all of the celebrations and goings on during the week, the festival offers special new programs this year well worth citing: Memories of Disintegrations: Ibero-American Experimental Film, explores Spanish and Portuguese-language films on Video8, Super *, 16mm, Super 35mm, and VHS.  Black Radical Imagination showcases films that explore racial identities beyond the restrictive boundaries and limitations often prescribed to people of color. These challenging programs extend our understanding and reach, and are representative of the bold spirit of this long running avant-garde festival. Also note a special screening of The Big House, a documentary about our own grand stadium and the labor behind the scenes that goes into the sports spectacle…from cooks to snipers. Also this year, don’t miss multi-media works Off the screen in venues across town—among them Lily Baldwin and Peter Rose// Room 2435 North Quad UM,  Razan AlSalah and Radical Democracy//Ann Arbor Art Center; and Matt Wilken// Arbor Brewing Company.

TALK: Simone Brown + Danielle Dean in Conversation
March 29, 7 pm
MOCAD, Detroit

Sociologist Simone Browne’s acclaimed book Dark Matters: On Surveillance of Blackness examines surveillance in relation to the history of transatlantic slavery and its afterlives. These themes informed in part by Browne’s research are central to Danielle Dean’s multimedia installation TrueRedRuin on view at MOCAD. This conversation between them explores the different ways that scholarship and artistic practice can overlap, dovetail, igniting critical dialogs and raising social consciousness in the process.

Exercising the Eye: The Gertrude Kasle Collection
March 10-July 22,
Alfred Taubman Gallery, UMMA, Ann Arbor

This lyrical exhibition celebrates Gertrude Kasle (1917-2016), who was a key figure in the formation of Detroit’s contemporary art community in the 1960’s and 70’s. Like other strong minded maverick women of her generation in the arts, she wanted to provide her Midwestern community with a venue in which to experience cutting edge art from centers like NYC. Yet, she also wanted to support and exhibit regional artists, so that the work of both groups could be included in that visual and critical conversation. This surprising and disarming show, which includes the work of Phillip Guston, Jane Hammond, Robert Rauchenberg, Jasper Johns, among others, captures the particular tenor of that era…the imagination, the drive of the gallerist, and the exciting way artists were connected in their inquiries. Don’t miss the incredible paintings by Grace Hartigan, with superb color and gesture that are as fresh today as in 1974. And make sure to take home a vintage poster from the original shows produced by the Kasle Gallery, which you can purchase in the gift store for a song. Now that’s a great day.

Romare Bearden
N’NAMDI center for contemporary art, Detroit

This exhibition offers an opportunity to see the works of acclaimed artist Romare Bearden, whose collages and paintings are iconic. He has influenced so many young artists who came after in regards to story, directness, use of color, and deliberateness of stroke and design. Bearden was a multidisciplinary artist ahead of the curve, interested in the intersection, influence and overlay of music, visual art, history, performance, literature, and culture. Above all, he was a humanist, genuine in his passion for the world and those in it, past, present and future tied together like a daisy chain.

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