Art @ The Max is a rotating, multi-year exhibition that brings visual art created by Detroit-area artists to patrons of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Made possible with the generous support of the Applebaum Family Foundation, Art @ The Max aims to broaden audience engagement at the DSO and elevate local artists' unique contribution to Detroit's cultural enrichment.

Art @ The Max VII was originally intended to be displayed throughout the three levels of the William Davidson Atrium at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center from April to July of this year. When the pandemic made that impossible, we decided to move to a new online video format that allowed us to delve more deeply into the art through direct conversation dialog with the artists. 

If you're interested in purchasing one of these works, please contact Goode Wyche – gwyche@dso.org or 313.576.5162.

Art @ The Max VII Virtual Experience

MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM:
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Artwork

Mixed media on canvas, 2020

Sydney James (b, Detroit, 1979)

In "Centennial Party Shoe Squad," the iconic Detroit figurative artist Sydney James depicts a discussion about party shoes between a two-year-old and her one-hundred-year-old great aunt.

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Mixed media on corrugated card, 2020

Ryan Standfest (b. Detroit, 1974)

The prolific artist Ryan Standfest's work has been called a "comic satire of the machine age." His multi-layered piece, "Black Marquee," has been created specifically for the Centennial of Orchestra Hall. It intertwines the stories of C. Howard Crane (the architect of Orchestra Hall), his Grandfather's work as a sign-painter, and Standfest's formative experiences during Detroit's precipitous decline.

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Pieced and machine-quilted commercial and hand-dyed cotton, 2006

Carole Harris (b. Detroit, 1943)

Carole Harris's extensive and unique body of work pays homage to the quilting tradition without being restricted by it. She often speaks of the similarities between her process and that of an improvising jazz musician, and the titles of her works often reflect that.

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Printed cotton, cotton batting, machine pieced and quilted, 2010

Carole Harris (b. Detroit, 1943)

Carole Harris's large and unique body of work pays homage to the quilting tradition without being restricted by it. She often speaks of the similarities between her process and that of an improvising jazz musician, and the titles of her works often reflect that. Another significant influence on her work is the city's landscape, especially the fabric of life in her beloved Detroit.

4._Blues_in_the_Night_Carole_Harris.jpg

Printed cotton, cotton batting, machine pieced and quilted, 2012

Carole Harris (b. Detroit, 1943)

Carole Harris's large and unique body of work pays homage to the quilting tradition without being restricted by it. “Reconstruction” is a piece that perhaps reflects Carole's background as an interior designer working on architectural projects. Undoubtedly it would have looked stunning in the atrium of Orchestra Hall!

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Army blankets, wool, army suture cotton, felt, cotton, 2018

Jeanne Bieri (b. Ann Arbor, MI, 1949)

Jeanne Bieri started her artistic career as a painter, but she has become better known for her remarkable fiber works. The army blanket is a regular base layer to her pieces and carries a significant emotional charge. Bieri finds that the blankets always arrive with holes and her first task in one of mending. On top of that, she creates patterns of stitching that, at times, suggest both the cosmic and the terrestrial.

6._The_Dream_Jeanne_Bieri.jpg

Army blanket, wool, silk, cotton, 2014

Jeanne Bieri (b. Ann Arbor, MI, 1949)

Jeanne Bieri started her artistic career as a painter, but she has become better known for her remarkable fiber works. The army blanket is a regular base layer to her pieces and carries a significant emotional charge. Bieri finds that the blankets always arrive with holes and her first task in one of mending. On top of that, she creates patterns of stitching that, at times, suggest both the cosmic and the terrestrial.

7._Seep_Jeanne_Bieri.jpg

Army blanket, wool, silk, cotton, 2015

Jeanne Bieri (b. Ann Arbor, MI, 1949)

Jeanne Bieri started her artistic career as a painter, but she has become better known for her remarkable fiber works. The army blanket is a regular base layer to her pieces and carries a significant emotional charge. Bieri finds that the blankets always arrive with holes and her first task in one of mending. On top of that, she creates patterns of stitching that, at times, suggest both the cosmic and the terrestrial.

8._Mended_Shirt_Quilt_Jeanne_Bieri.jpg

Video (34 min 37 sec), 2015

Oren Goldenberg (b. Detroit, 1983)

"A Requiem for Douglass," is a compilation of rituals created and performed before, during, and after the demolition of the Douglass Towers in Detroit. It is simultaneously an homage to the buildings and the generations that lived in them and a compendium of Detroit artists whose work involves ritual. In the context of this exhibition, it raises the questions of what a ritual for the last hundred years of Orchestra Hall might look like, and what form a ritual for the next hundred years might take.

The complete video can be viewed here.

Collage and acrylic on canvas (2020)

Judy Bowman (b. Detroit, 1952) and Minnie Mae Matthews (b. Sanford, NC, 1929)

Judy Bowman's work often references her childhood in Detroit. The two works in this exhibition are inspired by a serendipitous encounter with the exhibition "Black Bottom Street View" at Orchestra Hall earlier this year, and draw their content from family photos from that neighborhood in the 1950s. This work shows a very young Judy Bowman in her mother, Minnie Mae Matthews' arms.

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Collage and acrylic on canvas (2020)

Judy Bowman (b. Detroit, 1952)

Judy Bowman's work often references her childhood in Detroit. The two works in this exhibition are inspired by a serendipitous encounter with the exhibition "Black Bottom Street View" at Orchestra Hall earlier this year, and draw their content from family photos from that neighborhood in the 1950s.

11._Hanging_Out_at_Lafayette_Judy_Bowman.jpg

Mixed Media Installation (2020)

Halima Afi Cassells (b. Detroit, 1981)

"Indigo Children" is a site-specific installation situated in the Sosnick Courtyard, South of Orchestra Hall. It draws on both the multi-layered symbolism of braiding and the moment of grief and renewal that we are currently experiencing.

Artist Statement:

Whether used as a ritual of caring, an illustration of pride, a map to freedom, a rite of passage, or a means of elaborate adornment and status, braiding carries multi-layered meanings for many peoples around the globe. Woven together, and held by just the right amount of tension, braids become physically and symbolically stronger than each strand standing alone.

Inspiration for this installation draws from my personal history with braiding. As a child, I would sit on the floor as my older cousin would gently part, oil, and cornrow my hair. It was a weekly ritual that I looked forward to, a place where I felt loved and held-- as we would imagine together the fantastic new style for the next week together. As I grew older, I took my cousin's position and braided my sister's and then my daughters' hair.

The Indigo color is an acknowledgment of the moment of grief and societal re-visioning we are collectively experiencing. The use of naturally fermented Indigo is also a nod to our ancestors' genius. Through complex relational processes, they have been coaxing out the color of sky and water from plant leaves for millennia.

These hand-dyed braids and fabric were created in a loving circle. Several artists joined me in my garden to braid, bead, and dye. All of the materials used are reused, gifted, or swapped.

This soft sculpture that connects trees to the fence and entrance-way is an invitation for each of us to join the circle; to explore our family rituals, ancestral traditions, and power at this moment; to envision and take action as we walk together into a more just and loving world where everyone's humanity is visible.

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