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Sunday, August 1, 2010

DIA/Greek Town Trip a Detroit Gas

Day three of our reunion vacation at home in Detroit with chums we've known all our lives: the DIA,(Detroit Institute of Art), photograph courtesy of Andre Jameson.
While the group was looking at Bruegel, Sloan, DeKooning, Klein, Dubuffet,Bacon,Newman, all my loves, I dragged Honey off to the Contemporary African American gallery to visit my newest love: African American portrait painter, Kehinde Wiley whose giant, grandiose painting of a well built black American male atop a rearing white horse surrounded by gold guilding on a crimson red background caught my admiration the very first time I saw it.

Just thirty three years old, his work is fabulous. Meticulous. Incredible detailed. A genus combination of Hip Hop with Western European portraiture. Wiley gets his models off the street and asks them to choose their favorite 18th or 19th century European style portrait. Then does his own rendition of the young man in the historic setting.

The innovative idea, the beauty of the work, gives me chills. Officer of the Hussar is just an awesome painting; I'd love to see an exhibit of all his work come our way.

After my Wiley high, we got back to our friends who were hanging around in the world renown Rivera Court marveling our famous murals by Frida Kahlo's husband, Diago Rivera.Below is the North wall. (Blow it up by double clicking; it's rather spectacular).

These days, the mural saluting Detroit's auto industry and its workers sparks a tad of sadness as it makes me recall Detroit in it's manufacturing heyday when my dad tooled around town in his big finned Caddy and my mom in her Pontiac Chief. --Now there was a car that always left everybody in the dust when I drag raced on Woodward Avenue, a fearless kid. Good memories. --And rising sales at Ford and GM and Chrysler hopefully will give other kids good memories too and keep these mural relevant.

After so many miles of culture, it was time for drink and food, in just that order. We headed to Pegasus in Greek Town and refueled with saganaki, (kasseri cheese set aflame to shouts of "Opa!"),Greek salad and lamb chops. Then headed next door to Cold Stone where I found a gorgeous subject for painting while the others downed Moose tracks,Butter Pecan--but no Coffee Heath. As they enjoyed, I enjoyed photographing the confections for a tasty triptych.

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