As redevelopment efforts in Detroit gain momentum, the city’s art scene seems to find itself in a reflective mood. Perhaps the incipient 50-year anniversary of the summer of 1967 has sparked this trend — it will be a component of “Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement,” which will arrive at the DIA in July, and the focus of “Now and Then: Artists Contemplate the Summer of 1967,” the show opening Friday at Detroit Artists Market.
“Having lived in the metro Detroit area for nearly 20 years, I’ve heard enough about the riots of ’67 to know they completely blew the city apart,” said artist Taurus Burns, one of more than two dozen participating artists in the show, curated by DAM board member and scene photographer Jeff Cancelosi. “People who live on both sides of 8 Mile are still so deeply affected by what happened here 50 years ago. As my adopted home, I wanted to better understand the rift between the black and white community and how the city came to be what it is today.”
The show brings together younger artists with others who have long-standing roots in Detroit, including some who were actually present during the summer of 1967. Carole Morisseau is one of those, and her painting, “On the Edge,” depicts her mother sitting on her front porch. Morisseau recalls her personal experience of the riot, which took place in late July 1967 and remain ones of the deadliest uprisings in U.S. history, as being less dramatic than commonly depicted.