January 26, 2022

The Cass Corridor Movement for “under-recognized art histories” @ Hyperallergic

“It never occurred to me that we would ever have an audience,” said painter Nancy Mitchnick, in a curator’s statement that accompanied a series of three exhibitions presented at Simone DeSousa Gallery in 2017. Mitchnick is referring to the Cass Corridor art movement, which took place roughly between 1960 and 1980 in the heart of Detroit, and is touted as the only major contemporary art movement to originate in the city. The movement draws its name from Cass Avenue, an arterial street in the rapidly developing commercial strip between Wayne State University and the Masonic Temple — the “Cass Corridor,” or “Midtown,” as it has been painstakingly rebranded over the last decade.

Mitchnick was one of a number of Cass Corridor artists who moved to New York temporarily or permanently to pursue their careers on a more public stage — a cohort that included Al Loving, Robert Sestok, and Brenda Goodman. “We were just a bunch of young, intense, talented almost-artists trying to figure it out,” she remembers, painting a picture of mid-1960s abandon. “I have always been an outsider, on the inside, sort of,” she added in her 2017 curator’s statement.

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