“Working Title” opens at Alley Culture

Published on November 8, 2013 by in Detroit

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Alley Culture - the best possible outcome to wandering down alleys.

Alley Culture – the best possible outcome to wandering down alleys.

Friday, November 1st brought the opening of “Working Title” at Alley Culture, and surely there has never been a cozier or more welcoming experimental gallery space. It takes the brave of heart to wander down alleys in Woodbridge, but on Fridays and Saturdays from 3-6 p.m., you can find Alley Culture tucked in between Trumbull and Lincoln, in a red building on the alley south of Willis.

Some of the old guard Cass Corridor art scene was present, including Robert Sestok (second from left).

Some of the old guard Cass Corridor art scene was present, including Robert Sestok (second from left).

The artist-workers who helped to rebuild the garage into a gallery space curated the "Working Title" exhibition.

The “worker artists” who helped to rebuild the garage into a gallery space curated the “Working Title” exhibition.

The impetus for the “Working Title” show came out of a the Alley Culture project, a rebuild of a 1926 garage into a gallery space, crewed by Matthew Hanna, Dennis Teichman, and Michael Mikolowski. These three “worker artists” were then asked to curate a show in the space, and each of them invited one of the artists currently on display.

Steve Panton's collection of railroad ephemera.

Steve Panton’s collection of railroad ephemera.

Teichman’s choice is 2739 Edwin’s own Steve Panton, taking a rare moment to put his own work on display. The southern wall of the gallery is dominated by a low shelf featuring an astonishing assortment of metal detritus, each piece collected one at a time on Panton’s numerous walks along the railroad tracks. To supplement this astonishing array of shapes, which seem deeply purposeful yet jarringly meaningless to all but the most archaic of locomotive engineers, Panton provides a history of train culture, set out on typed index cards, giving his installation the appropriate feel of cultural anthropology.

From the mixed-up files of Steve Panton.

From the mixed-up files of Steve Panton.

Panton (second from left, facing camera) is more often in a curatorial role, making this show of his work a real treat.

Panton (second from left, facing camera) is more often in a curatorial role, making this show of his work a real treat.

Mikolowski invited Christopher Anderson to show some of his exquisitely layered paintings. From hurricanes of colorful grit to grids of melted votive candles, Anderson’s work is a textural spree, catnip for surface-philes like myself.

Melted candles provide the patina on this work by Chris Anderson.

Melted candles provide the patina on this work by Christopher Anderson.

Detail from another of Anderson's wildly turbulent work.

Detail from another of Anderson’s wildly turbulent work.

James Collins is the third artist on display, invited by Hanna to display three of his process-dictated paintings (which sadly did not translate well photographically. Mea culpa). Aside from Alley Culture’s regular hours, Panton will offer further background into his work in the exhibition on Sunday, November 17th  at 7 p.m., before introducing historian Martin Hershock (author of “The Paradox of Progress”) to discuss his view on the impact of the arrival of the railroad. Following the talk, there will be a screening of “Who is Bozo Texino?” by photographer and filmmaker Bill Daniel.

Info on "A Night Out With the Trains"

Info on “A Night Out With the Trains.”

A Night Out With the Trains: November 17, 7-8:30 p.m. Free. At Alley Culture (alley between Tumbull & Lincoln, red building south of Willis), Detroit. For more information, please contact ac@openmailbox.org.

3 Responses to ““Working Title” opens at Alley Culture”

  1. Alley Culture says:

    For all the details that go into mounting a show, and extensions to the show, it is expected that some will tune in to a few parts. You caught in all directions the majority in your photos and/or words. Very complete.

    Your photo of the exterior is one of the most interesting in Alley Culture’s 18 years. You managed to be between the light – the dusk sky, the contradictory tree shadows on the ground from the street lamp, the slices of light from the interior crossing the tree shadows, and, of course, the (almost become logo) chile lights.

    • RSharp says:

      Thank you! It’s a beautiful show and a beautiful space. I would be happy to send you a copy of the photo if you’d like it.

  2. Alley Culture says:

    Thank you. I’d like that.

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