By Kelli Kavanaugh, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
MOCAD’s winter exhibition is going to be outta-sight! Joshua White and Gary Panter’s Light Show is a new exhibition organized especially for the Museum by two great pioneers of multimedia art, and it opens this Friday, February 10. White and Panter have been working together since the late 1990’s, and this exhibition is their largest collaborative project to date.
Occupying nearly all of the Museum’s 22,000 square foot area, this immersive installation features a “permanent” lightshow designed by White (of Woodstock and Fillmore East fame) that will be on view through the entirety of the exhibition’s run. Panter, whose prolific output is most recognized in the set design for Pee-wee’s Playhouse, will construct a fun-house of his imagination, with both sculptural and lightshow elements. Bridging these two worlds is a historical corridor, filled with ephemera illuminating the long-running careers of these two old friends. Materials from the archives of both artists will be on display to illustrate the range and depth of their work.
As intended by White and Panter, the exhibition will serve as a platform for performances by guests working in a variety of media and disciplines, including musicians, video artists, comedians and engineers, who are invited to interact with the work and activate the space.
Also opening on February 10 is the inaugural DEPE Space (Department of Education and Public Engagement) Residency featuring Chido Johnson, head of sculpture at the College for Creative Studies and a 2009 Kresge fellow. Johnson will be installing his “love library” — a collection of artist-designed romance novels that will be on display during the month of February. Leading up to his Family Day on February 19, the installation of the love library will feature talks with library contributors, as well as a “love librarian” to discuss the project — and, of course, love! — with visitors.
This season promises a jam-packed schedule of insightful, creative and family-friendly activities—from a drive-in radio theater in March, performances by the likes of Kimya Dawson and Van Dyke Parks, and a comic jam with Gary Panter, we have high hopes that this season will draw an invigorated and lively audience into the Museum.