Where to See Visual Arts In Person Around Metro Detroit

MOCAD, the DIA, Cranbrook, and Arts, Beats and Eats have you covered this fall
visual arts
Peter Williams: Black Universe (curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah and Rebecca Mazzei) is on view through Jan. 10 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. // Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the artist and Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles, California. Photographer: Tim Johnson

Something we’ve all shared throughout this tumultuous and divisive crisis has been our collective deprivation of meaningful, in-person experiences. Yes, many of us have taken part in online experiences — including virtual art classes and exhibitions — to fill the void. But there’s nothing quite like seeing the rich texture of brush strokes in the heavily layered oil paint of Van Gogh’s “Vase with Carnations” or the crags in the clay of an ancient African sculpture. So, we’ve curated a list of metro Detroit spaces that are finding safe ways to offer in-person connections with the visual arts.

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit launched its Peter Williams: Black Universe exhibition at the beginning of the year, but it has since become particularly timely. Former Wayne State University instructor Peter Williams employs allegories, historical allusions, and references to his own personal experiences to create colorful and lively abstract works. Black Universe is a commentary on dominant modern culture that addresses social issues, such as discrimination and climate change, making it the ideal learning experience for those of us seeking a fresh or expanded perspective on race and culture in light of recent injustices and unrest. New screening and disinfecting protocols are in place to keep visitors safe. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; mocadetroit.org

Arts, Beats & Eats

Summer is usually full of art fairs and shows that offer rising artists patronage and exposure. With such events all but wiped out, local artists have found themselves in a slump. With that in mind, Royal Oak’s popular, annual art extravaganza, Arts, Beats & Eats — though also canceled — has initiated “Art by Appointment” sessions. On Sept. 5 and 6, patrons can schedule appointments to view works from up to 20 participating juried fine artists in person. Only 50 tickets will be sold for each time slot to allow for safe social distancing. Tickets are $30 and come with a $25 voucher to go toward your favorite piece. Visit the website to see a gallery of work from participating artists. Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats, Royal Oak; 248-541-7550; artsbeatseats.com

visual arts
See From Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Prints and Drawings from 1550 to 1700 at the DIA. Pictured is Rembrandt’s “Self Portrait in a Velvet Cap with Plume.” // Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts has reduced its hours to make way for amped-up cleaning and even a private viewing hour for art lovers considered “high-risk.” It has instated a number of new safety measures — including a temporary requirement that all visitors book tickets in advance — but all of its artistic wonders remain the same. The DIA boasts extensive collections of American art, international pieces, cultural works, famous European classics, and contemporary art, in addition to rotating special exhibitions. Current habitants include From Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Prints and Drawings from 1550 to 1700, which showcases works from a pivotal period in Northwestern European art. Aside from its namesake artists, the exhibit encompasses drawings from such masters as Hendrick Goltzius and Bartholomeus Breenbergh. Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org

Cranbrook Art Museum

Upon reopening in late July with reduced capacity and added safety precautions, the Cranbrook Art Museum launched Shapeshifters: Transformations in Contemporary Art. Steeped in themes of transcendence and metamorphosis, the exhibition showcases works that, despite their places among the museum’s permanent collection, are rarely on display. Housed across four separate galleries, each of which explores a different facet of transformation, the exhibit conveys the personal evolutionary journeys of artists such as Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. Cranbrook Art Museum, 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3323; cranbrookartmuseum.org

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