Epicenter X: Saudi Contemporary Art

This past week, the Arab American National Museum opened a new exhibition entitled Epicenter X: Saudi Contemporary Art. Epicenter X represents the first exhibition of its kind from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to appear in Michigan.

Epicenter X explores contemporary Saudi culture by promoting meaningful dialogue between Saudi artists and U.S. audiences. Furthermore, the exhibition sheds light on the vast diversity of contemporary artistic practice in Saudi Arabia. Cutting through the political discourse of media outlets and government officials, the artworks featured in this exhibition open doors to the lives of the Saudi people. In doing so, this presentation will challenge common views and stereotypes of Arab culture by lending voice to artists exploring poignant ideas centered on urbanization, globalization, religion and the impact of American popular culture in Saudi society.

A variety of works in diverse mediums by both established and emerging artists are featured in the exhibition. Highlights include works by current AANM resident artist, Ayman Yossri Daydban; Abdulnasser Gharem’s Men at Work I-IV; Qamar Abdulmalik’s Asylum of Dreams installation; Ahmad Angawi’s Wijha 2:148; and Yusef Alahmad and Josh Higgins’ Ahlan wa Sahlan. Also featured in Epicenter X are two contemporary Qut murals (on display in The Annex) created in the age-old traditional style of house-painting by skilled female artisans from southwestern Saudi Arabia.

The exhibition has been garnering lots of media hits. Here is some coverage from the Associated Press, Stateside on Michigan Radio, Hour Detroit, Middle East Eye, and Al Arabiya.

A digital copy of the exhibition catalogue can be found online. Catalogues and exhibition posters are available for free within the museum. Epicenter X is on display through October 1, 2017.

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Paris, France (December 2016)

Some iPhone images I took during my recent visit to Paris.

Image of the view of the Seine
View of the Seine
Image of the Right Bank along the Seine
The Right Bank along the Seine
Image of Musée du Louvre
Musée du Louvre
Image of comics by Zeina Abirached along the streetscape!
Comics by Zeina Abirached along the streetscape!
Image of installation by Flemish artist Hans Op de Beeck at 104 CENTQUATRE.
Installation by Flemish artist Hans Op de Beeck at 104 CENTQUATRE.
Image of Puglee visiting the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.
Puglee visit the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.
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Art X Detroit

The third biennial Art X Detroit returns on April 9. For the uninitiated:

Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience (AXD) is a 10-day festival of dance, literary, musical & theatrical performances, film screenings, visual arts installations, workshops, panel discussions & interactive experiences. AXD presents works created by the 2013-2014 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows. AXD will be hosted at multiple venues throughout Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center over a three-week period in April & is FREE to the public.

AXD is presented by The Kresge Foundation and produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc. AXD partners include: Kresge Arts in Detroit, College for Creative Studies, Creative Many, and MOCAD.

Dates: April 9-12, 16-19, and 25-26.

The Arab American National Museum is proud to sponsor two events as part of AXD. We’ll be supporting the sessions Rola Nashef, The Director’s Cut on April 16 at the Detroit Film Theatre, and Poetry and Music from Iraq (featuring Dunya Mikhail) on April 25 at MOCAD. Both Rola and Dunya are amazing artists. Further, they are both involved with several Arab American National Museum programs, including DIWAN6: A Forum for the Arts, which will take place on May 8-9, 2015.

Flyer for Rola Nashef, The Director's Cut- AXD
Rola Nashef, The Director’s Cut- AXD
Flyer for Poetry and Music - AXD
Poetry and Music – AXD
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2015 Kresge Eminent Artist Award Winner…Ruth Adler Schnee!

As a member of the Kresge Arts in Detroit Advisory Council, one of our responsibilities is to select the Kresge Eminent Artist Award recipient. Choosing one artist to bestow the title of Eminent Artist is no easy task given the amazing talent in our region. However, the 2015 winner – Ruth Adler Schnee – is a most deserving awardee. An immigrant. A pioneer. An innovator. A celebrated designer.

From the Kresge Foundation’s press release:

Schnee joins six other artists who, since 2008, have received the Kresge Eminent Artist award recognition of professional achievements, contributions to metropolitan Detroit’s cultural community and dedication to Detroit and its residents. The award includes a $50,000 prize.

Schnee’s work elevated Michigan’s stature in modern design and architecture. She worked on the General Motors Technical Center in Warren (with architect Eero Saarinen in 1950-55), the World Trade Center (with Minoru Yamasaki in 1970-77) and the update of Albert Kahn’s Ford Rotunda in Dearborn, which she worked on in 1952-53. The Adler-Schnee store in Detroit – a partnership with her late husband, Edward Schnee – opened in 1948 as one of the first shops in the nation to sell modern home fabrics and furnishings to the public. She still designs custom fabrics for KnollTextiles, where she holds a 20-year contract, and Anzea Textiles, an upholstery company.

At 91, she continues to work most of the year from her studio in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit.

Congratulations Ruth Adler Schnee! Head over to the KAD blog to learn more about Schnee.

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2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships Application Cycle is Open

It’s that time of the year! Calling all Detroit-based writers and visual artists, the application period for the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships opens on December 1, 2014. In the spirit of transparency, I serve on the Advisory Council for this program. However, I am not a judge for this particular award. Details:

Emerging and established metropolitan Detroit Literary and Visual artists are invited to apply for a $25,000 Kresge Artist Fellowship. Fellowships are funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office at the College for Creative Studies, with professional practice opportunities for the selected fellows provided by Creative Many Michigan.

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014: Application Guide and Resources Available
  • Monday, December 1, 2014: Online Application Opens
  • Thursday, January 22, 2015 by 11:59 p.m. EST: Application Deadline

In 2015, the program will provide support for nine Literary Arts Fellows and nine Visual Arts Fellows living and working in metropolitan Detroit (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties). Kresge Artist Fellowships are given to artists whose commitment to artistic achievement, in contemporary or traditional forms, is evident in the quality of their work.

Flyer for the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships
2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships
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