Making art out of chaos
There’s been plenty of time for personal reflection since 2020 crashed into our collective windshields and shattered our view of the future. Such times of incredible change are often captured best by the artists of the day. So the Carr Center is asking local artists, “What did you create out of the chaos?” The center is dedicated to supporting Black artists in Detroit as the front-facing arm of the Arts League of Michigan. With its latest show, With All Our Might, curators Erin Falker-Obichigha and Carl Wilson have put together a juried exhibition of visual artists to reflect on the “immeasurable loss, struggle, racism, and inequality” revealed in 2020. Artists on display include Taurus Burns, Brandon Sward, Desiree Kelly,
Diamante Lavendar, and many others. On display through July 17. Schedule a visit at thecarrcenter.org.
The genius of Jim Henson
If anyone in your life isn’t interested in seeing an exhibit dedicated to the life and work of Jim Henson, you should reevaluate your relationship. The touring exhibit The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is on view now through Sept. 6 at The Henry Ford. It brings storyboards, iconic costumes, 25 puppets, and — most important — a behind-the-scenes look at how Henson and his team brought The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Labyrinth (David Bowie’s codpiece not included), and other projects to life. It also weaves Henson’s early work and experimental film projects into the larger narrative of his life as a creative force, technical pioneer, and beloved pop-cultural influence. Interactive elements — like trying your hand at puppeteering on camera or designing your own puppet — make it perfect for all ages, including adults who still haven’t outgrown their kid-like imaginations. For tickets, see thehenryford.org.
The sonic heartbreak of Olivia Dear
I have an addictive personality when it comes to music. I get so obsessed with a certain song that I end up listening to it multiple times a day until I’ve burned a hole through it. Then I move on to something new. But I just can’t quit Olivia Dear’s “Halfway,” a sonically subtle ode to a relationship breaking down instead of breaking up. The Rochester Hills singer-songwriter lets her voice and storytelling be the stars on the track, integrating some clever samples of a phone disconnecting along the way. “There’s a lot of beauty and self-love in going all in for the people you love and, similarly, letting go … of the people who can’t go all in for you,” Dear has said of the song. Watch for a new single from Dear this month and an EP in the fall. In the meantime, I recommend putting “Halfway” on repeat — and supplementing it with her single “Better,” too. Hear Olivia Dear via Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services.
Halal Metropolis lands at Stamps Gallery
One of the most culturally significant art projects to emerge in metro Detroit over the past few years is the ever-evolving Halal Metropolis, now on view at the University of Michigan’s Stamps Gallery in Ann Arbor. Consider it a banner name for a traveling exhibit that explores topics related to the Muslim populations of southeast Michigan. It aims to broadcast a Muslim narrative that, as its organizers say, has been “unusually silent in the larger Detroit story.” The work is put together by artist Osman Khan, photographer and documentary filmmaker Razi Jafri, and historian Sally Howell. Their latest iteration brings together all of their skill sets, using archival materials, photography, and art to explore the aesthetics, impact, and identity of Muslims in metro Detroit. On view through July 17. COVID restrictions may apply. For details, visit stamps.umich.edu.
Ryan Patrick Hooper is the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET Detroit’s NPR station (weekdays from noon to 2 p.m.).