Sims Detroit Residency: Closing Reception & Presentation

In early November 2019, the Irwin Gallery welcomed Detroit native, conceptual artist, writer and producer, John Sims, as its inaugural Artist-In-Residence. While working and residing on site, Sims has been developing a three-part multimedia project based on his childhood block on Detroit’s West Side. Entitled Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block, the project is Sims’ deeply personal response to the decay and desolation of his home street – a reflection of many Detroit neighborhoods, and a microcosm of urban communities decimated by systemic abandonment and neglect throughout the country.

On Sunday, December 8, 2019, the gallery will host a farewell reception for SIms, who will be returning to Sarasota, FL, in the following days. The event gives the public an opportunity to meet the artist, socialize, take in the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY exhibit, and see the work Sims has been creating on behalf of his Sorrento project.

Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block  Presentation | Sunday, December 8, 2019, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. RSVP: irwinhousegallery@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/events/557429438373126/

Artist John Sims looks at his childhood neighborhood…by Lee DeVito | Detroit Metro Times

Artist John Sims looks at his childhood neighborhood in ‘Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block’

Last year, Detroit’s Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery opened its doors earlier than originally planned following the death of Aretha Franklin, who grew up nearby, in order to mount an exhibition dedicated to her life. Artist John Sims, a curator for that first show, is wrapping up a stint as the gallery’s first artist-in-residence, which is also inspired by the neighborhood he grew up in — in this case, Sims’ west side neighborhood at Sorrento Avenue and West Chicago Street.

RELATED John Sims, a regular Renaissance man, returns to Detroit for lecture

The three-part multimedia project, which is described as “Sims’ deeply personal response to the decay and desolation of his home street,” includes a visually enhanced “VideoPoem” (the poem is included in M.L. Liebler’s Respect, also featured in this week’s issue), a print installation that mimics the experience of walking down the block, and a book.

Closing reception from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8; Irwin House Gallery; 2351 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-932-7690; irwinhousegallery.com. Admission is free. On view through Jan. 5.

Posted By   | Sun, Dec 1, 2019 at 9:46 am
Read the original article HERE

A Detroit Diaspora Day Party Thanksgiving Weekend…

Saturday, November 30, 2019 – Thanksgiving Weekend – The Irwin House Gallery was thrilled to welcome Detroit Diaspora for a day-party welcoming “natives, ex-pats, transplants, and those dispersed souls from the D as well as those visiting, and those who feel an undeniable, almost spiritual, desire to represent the D world wide.”

The evening featured sets from Detroit’s own Drake Phifer, Detroit via Brooklyn’s Marilyn Griffin, and Chi-town’s Duane E Powell as well as a special performance from Detroit via Chicago’s own @Angel-A. Food was provided by Kaleidoscope Catering.

Set against the backdrop of the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibit – which highlights the city’s people, places, imaginings, and memories – Dancing By Day was a celebration of all Detroiters, and especially those of us who carry Detroit in our hearts around the globe and return home, faithfully, this time every year.

Happy Holiday Season from The Irwin House Gallery!

(Pictured above: Chicago Guest DJ, Duane E. Powell)

Sorrento & Beyond: John Sims Artist Residency

The Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery welcomes Detroit native, conceptual artist, writer and producer, John Sims, as its inaugural Artist-In-Residence. While working and residing on site, Sims is developing a three-part multimedia project comprised of a VideoPoem, print installation, and book, based on his childhood block on Detroit’s West Side. Entitled Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block, the project is Sims’ deeply personal response to the decay and desolation of his home street – a reflection of many Detroit neighborhoods, and a microcosm of urban communities decimated by systemic abandonment and neglect throughout the country.

Sims penned an essay about his 1980s recollections on the block and the pain of losing the physical anchors of childhood memories, in the context of downtown Detroit’s resurgence. The text led to the poem, D-City Blues, and an accompanying music video, which makes up the first part of the project. The poem was selected for inclusion in the newly released book edited by M.L. Liebler, RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music (Michigan State University Press, 2019). The D-City Blues VideoPoem also fits within the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibit, which explores local perspectives, memories, and imaginings for the future, and runs at the Irwin House Gallery through January 5, 2020.

In its entirety, Sims’ Sorrento work forms an exhibition project featuring the book, 30 portraiture plates, with 15 prints on each side of a corridor to mimic the feeling of walking down the block, along with the D-City Blues music VideoPoem, and video histories of the people who previously lived and remain on the block. While developing the project at the Irwin Gallery, the artist will engage the general public through three public programs during the course of his residency. The Sorrento project will be staged in Detroit and travel to other cities dealing with similar issues of gentrification and urban decay.

A Detroit native currently living in Sarasota, FL, John Sims creates both art and curatorial projects spanning the areas of installation, performance, text, music, film, and large-scale activism, informed by mathematics, design, racial politics, and sacred symbolism. He has lectured and exhibited widely including in Hungary, Spain, Israel and Argentina and most recently in Slovenia. In 2017, he made the National Coalition of Against Censorship’s list of Top Free Speech Offenders and Defenders, as a defender. Sims’ work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, The Guardian, The Root, ThinkProgress, Al Jazeera, Guernica, Art in America, Transition, Sculpture, Science News, Nature and Scientific American. He has written for CNN, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, Guernica Magazine, The Rumpus, and The Grio.

  • Sorrento & Beyond: Artist Talk with John Sims: Saturday, November 16, 2019, 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
  • Cocktail Reception and Film Screening, Saturday, November 23, 2019, 7:00 – 10:00 pm 
  • Residency Closing Reception and Sorrento Project Presentation, Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 7:00 – 9:00 pmRSVP: irwinhousegallery@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/events/533515727472430/.


General hours are Thurs-Sun 12-6pm. Open by appointment other times. Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd. (Between LaSalle & Linwood), Detroit, MI 48208. Ph: 313.932.7690 | http://irwinhousegallery.org IG: @irwinhousegallery | FB: /irwinhousegallery

 

Oh what a nite…of poetry, music, and art!

Friday, November 8, 2019, we were thrilled and honored to celebrate the release of M.L. Liebler’s new book, RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music. The evening was led by the maestro and master poet himself, M.L. Liebler, and featured live music performed by The Coyote Monk Poetry band, along with a line-up of contributing poets to the book, including John Sims, our Artist-in-Residence.

This was the first such event for the Irwin House, but certainly won’t be the last…



Images courtesy of John Sims
Image courtesy of Writer L. Bush

Special thanks to M.L Liebler and John Sims for making the night fantastic!

NEXT UP: Detroit PoetryMusicArt Jam with M.L. Liebler, John Sims & Friends

As part of the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibit, the Irwin House Gallery presents a pre-launch poetry and music evening with award-winning Detroit poet, M.L. Liebler, celebrating the release of his newest book, RESPECT: THE POETRY OF DETROIT MUSIC (© 2019 Michigan State University Press).

This is a free event taking place on Friday, November 8, 2019 from 7-10pm.

Conceptual artist, writer and producer, John Sims – a contributor to the book – joins M.L. Liebler in sharing Detroit-themed poetry and rhythms from the book, with live music by The Coyote Monk Poetry Band.  Sims is the Irwin Gallery’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence, during which he is developing a multi-media oral history project, Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block. His accompanying video-poem, D-City Blues, is featured in the anthology and is also part of the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibit. Surprise special guests and book contributors are expected to jump in on the evening.

RESPECT explores Detroit’s incredible musical history in a collection of poems and lyrics covering a broad variety of genres, and how Detroit artists have forged paths in music that continue to reverberate world-wide. While documenting and celebrating this part of Detroit’s history, this book captures the emotions that the music continues to inspire in its creators and in its listeners. The range of contributors speaks to the global impact of Detroit’s music scene—Grammy winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and poet laureates all come together in this rich and varied anthology, including such icons as Eminem, June Jordan, Fred “Sonic” Smith, Rita Dove, Jack White, Robbie Robertson, Paul Simon, Nikki Giovanni, and many more. Signed copies of the book will be available for sale.

The Irwin House Gallery was founded by Valerie D. Irwin and her late husband, Council Irwin, Jr. to engage the community through the arts and support local talent, while inviting the global art world to experience and contribute to the cultural wealth of Detroit. The gallery opened in 2018, amid construction, for the city’s first visual art exhibition celebrating The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibit, which opened September 28, 2019, explores the city’s past, present, and imaginable future through the lens of local and Detroit-inspired artists. “While our space and resources do not allow us to capture the full breadth and complexity of Detroit with this exhibit, each artist brings a bit of their story, their eye, and their experience to the story,” says the Irwin Gallery’s Director, Omo Misha. With this exhibit, the Irwin House also unveils new developments to its space and programming, including the completion of its main floor gallery, opening the 2nd level of the building, and its Artist-In-Residency (AIR) program.

The art exhibition features Brian Nickson, Damon Chamblis, Darin Darby, Dolores Slowinski, James Charles, Morris, Jeni Wheeler, Jon DeBoer, Kathleen Rashid, Lance Johnson, Melissa Vize, Robert W. Clark III and Waleed Johnson, along with John Sims, Artist-in-Residence. Exhibition runs through January 5, 2020.

The Detroit PoetryMusicArt Jam: Friday, November 8, 2019 from 7:00 – 10:00pm. RSVP: irwinhousegallery@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/events/797654864025260/. General hours are Thurs-Sun 12-6pm. Open by appointment other times. Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd. (Between LaSalle & Linwood), Detroit, MI 48208. Ph: 313.932.7690 | http://irwinhousegallery.org IG: @irwinhousegallery | FB: /irwinhousegallery

A Few Flix from the Exhibit

We had no official photographer in the house for the September 28th opening of the The DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibit, or the October 6th artist talk, but here are a few photos we’ve managed to round up from guests and cell phones. For the best views, come to see the show yourself through January 5, 2020!












 
More to come, I’m sure….

New exhibition at Irwin House Gallery reflects on Detroit history…by Jerilyn Jordan | Detroit Metro Times

Thank you Detroit Metro Times for shining a light on our new, sophomore exhibition: DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY. The exhibition features twelve local artists, one New York-based artists, and introduces our Artist-in-Residence program with native Detroit artist and writer, John Sims. The Metro Times entry ran on September 25, 2019. You can view the full piece HERE.


New exhibition at Irwin House Gallery reflects on Detroit history — and what it means for the future

 

Staff Pick | Posted By  on Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Is Detroit a comeback city? Or does it take more than another Starbucks and a streetcar to bring a city back from the brink of destruction? While the global conversation toggles between these polarizing narratives, one thing remains true: all eyes are on Detroit.

But what does that mean for its future and the future of its people? Detroit Future History will display works from more than 15 artists, all of whom have additional perspectives of the city’s past, present, and, in some cases, projections of the future. Brian Nickson, Jon DeBoer, Kathleen Rashid, Melissa Vize, Damon Chamblis, Darin Darby, and Jeni Wheeler are among the featured artists, along with artist-in-residence John Sims, who will display an interactive oral-history inspired by his childhood neighborhood. Work will be on display through January 5.

Opening reception begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Irwin House Gallery; 2351 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-932-7690; irwinhousegallery.org. Event is free.

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https://www.metrotimes.com/the-scene/archives/2019/09/25/new-exhibition-at-irwin-house-gallery-reflects-on-detroit-history-and-what-it-means-for-the-future

Featured image: Darin Darby, Route to My Past 

DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Opening 9/28

DETROIT: Who are we? Where have we been? Where are we going? These are some of the questions this exhibit seeks to answer through the lens of Detroit local artists.

What the city is and what it was are two very different things to most Detroit locals. Those who have lived the difference find themselves measuring the distance from there to here, recounting steps, and gazing off into an unfamiliar that may seem clouded for some and crystal clear for others.

With an eye towards what Detroit has been for so many of us – those distinct moments and qualities that define our city – and a vision for its future, the Irwin Gallery presents DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY – an exhibition that invites present, past and foreseeable imagery from local artists and documentarians. The exhibition additionally features the gallery’s first official Artist-in-Residence, conceptual artist and writer, John Sims, who will develop Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block – a multi-media, interactive and oral-history project based on his West-side Detroit childhood street, neighbors, and memories. Sims will reside and work on-site during the exhibition, building and integrating segments of the project throughout his Residency.

Featured Artists include Brian Nickson, Damon Chamblis, Darin Darby, Dolores Slowinski, James Charles, Morris, Jeni Wheeler, Jon DeBoer, Kathleen Rashid, Lance Johnson, Melissa Vize, Robert W. Clark III and Waleed Johnson.

Darin Darby uses a distinct three-dimensional process to render connections between his childhood memories and his son’s present Detroit experiences; Kathleen Rashid employs clothing to capture dramatic neighborhood perspectives, Dolores Slowinski embroiders racial movement in her West-side community; Photographers Jon DeBoer and Melissa Vize crystallize Detroit urban-scapes in time while James Charles Morris celebrates the strength of Black Detroit, and; Waleed Johnson paints the fire of young city-dwellers. “While our space and resources do not allow us to capture the full breadth and complexity of Detroit with this exhibit, each artist brings a bit of their story, their eye, and their experience to the story,” says the Irwin Gallery’s Director, Omo Misha. “One thing that I’ve learned is that Detroiters are, and have always been, having wildly different relationships with the city.”

Exhibition programming will include a reading from the new anthology, Respect, and musical experience with ML Liebler and his Coyote Monk Poetry Vans; a screening and discussion of Pam Sporn’s Detroit 48202: Conversations Along A Postal Route; a discussion on Detroit urban agriculture and food justice with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), and; John Sims will stage public events in connection with his Sorrento project throughout his residency. Dates and additional programming TBA.

The Irwin House Gallery was founded by Valerie D. Irwin and her late husband, Council Irwin, Jr. to engage the community through the arts, support local talent, and invite the global art world to experience and contribute to the cultural wealth of Detroit. The gallery opened last year, amid construction, for the city’s first visual art exhibition celebrating The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. As part of the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibition, the Irwin House unveils new developments, including the completion of its main floor gallery, the 2nd level of the building, and its Artist-In-Residency (AIR) program.


Opening Reception: Saturday, September 28, 2019 from 5:30 – 8:30pm. RSVP: irwinhousegallery@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/events/2376303815823478/.

Exhibition runs through January 5, 2020. Gallery hours are Thurs-Sun 12-6pm. Open by appointment other times. Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd. (Between LaSalle & Linwood), Detroit, MI 48208. Ph: 313.932.7690 | http://irwinhousegallery.org | IG: @irwinhousegallery | FB: /irwinhousegallery


IMAGES FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:  John Sims Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block, video still (multi-disciplinary project); Jon DeBoer DetroitismDolores Slowinski Detroit West Side Patterns, fiber on paper; Waleed Johnson Look Me In The Eye, oil on canvas; Kathleen Rashid Shirt (Views from the window) oil on fabric;  Darin Darby Route To My Past, mixed media on board. LEFT: Gallery Director, Misha McGlown, with artist Damon Chamblis and his featured Greyscale Self-Portrait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CALL FOR ARTISTS

DETROIT: Who are we? Where have we been? Where are we going?

Opening September 20, 2019, DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY is a group exhibition featuring a collection of artworks, objects, and installations that paint a portrait of Detroit – from the past and present, into the foreseeable or imagined future. This may include any representations of Detroit memories, people, places, architecture and landscapes, lifestyles, events, or any things the artist finds to be distinctly Detroit.

John Sims, Interdisciplinary artist, writer and producer

The exhibition also encompasses an interactive oral history project with our first official Artist-In-Resident, John Sims – a Detroit native conceptual artist and writer who will be with us from Sarasota, Florida.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Please submit up to 5 images to irwinhousegallery@gmail.com along with artwork info, bio, and brief artist statement (if you have one available) through August 17, 2019.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you!

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Who are we now? Where have we been? Where are we going?

With the City of Detroit holding tightly to one end and an auspicious developer grasping the other, the Packard Plant bridge started this year by laying itself to rest in the middle of East Grand Blvd. Despite robust re-imaginings for the fabled Packard campus, perhaps the bridge demonstrates that our affections are no match for constructs that have long outlived their utility. What we believe should and will be can, in an instant, become something else: Heroes become criminals; bustling temples of engagement become piles of rubble leveled to sprawling green acres; city-dwellers and suburbanites switch places, and; a wave of enterprise descends, envelops, intermingles, arouses, and reshapes the city. In the face of our attachments, expectations, and carefully drafted plans, for better and worse, the future of Detroit is writing itself.

What Detroit is and what it was are two very different things. Those of us who have lived the difference find ourselves measuring the distance from there to here, recounting steps, and gazing off into an unfamiliar that may seem clouded for some and crystal clear for others.

With an eye towards what Detroit has been for so many of us – those distinct moments and qualities that define our city – and a vision for its future, the Irwin Gallery presents DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY – an exhibition that invites present, past and foreseeable imagery from local artists and documentarians. The exhibition will also feature our first official Artist-in-Residence, conceptual artist and writer, John Sims, who will build an interactive and oral-history project based on his West-side Detroit childhood street, neighbors, and memories. Sims will reside and work on-site during the exhibition, and integrate developing segments of the project throughout his Residency.

September 20- December 20, 2019
Opening Reception: TBD