I’m utterly chuffed to share my first piece as a contributing writer for the Detroit Free Press. Hooray for art! Hooray for circulation! Hooray for the Cass Corridor! Read and enjoy!
Within the recent history of Detroit’s relationship to the wider world of contemporary art, there is only one major movement that gained widespread attention: the Cass Corridor Movement. Bridging the mid-’60s to the late-’70s, and accelerating under Sam Wagstaff’s abbreviated but deeply influential stint as contemporary curator of the DIA, Cass Corridor artists became some of the most prominent visual artists to emerge from Detroit and join the international conversation. The aesthetic capitalized on the urban realities of late 1960s Detroit, with a scrappy cohort of poets, writers, painters and sculptors salvaging beauty from the fractured material remains of a city in post-industrial decline and racial turmoil.
Many of the artists, however, have languished in relative obscurity. With commercial redevelopment in the Cass Corridor area gaining momentum every day, there is perhaps a sense among those who remember the era fondly that now is the time to reflect on some of the movement’s unsung heroes. On Friday, Simone DeSousa Gallery — which has witnessed its neighborhood moniker change from Cass Corridor to Midtown — kicks off “Cass Corridor: Connecting Times,” a series of exhibitions of past Cass Corridor artists curated by painter and queen of the old school, Nancy Mitchnick.