Essay'd 2: 30 Detroit Artists follows the welcome reception of last year's Essay'd: 30 Detroit Artists in presenting short, illustrated essays about artists who live and work in Detroit, or who have participated in the Detroit art scene in an important way. Stemming from the popular website of the same name, the first volume of Essay'd sought to introduce readers, even those who are well-versed in the Detroit art ecosystem, to new insight and a fresh perspective on the city's contemporary art practitioners. The four arts writers behind Essay'd-a professor, a gallerist, and two critics-are joined in Essay'd 2 by a handful of guest writers, whose unique views offer different points of access to Detroit's diverse and populous artist community.
Essay'd 2 offers thirty new profiles of artists both well-known and under-the-radar, seasoned and emerging. Advancing the argument that there are as many kinds of Detroit art as there are individual artists, the authors write about work created in a wide range of media, from painting, photography, ceramics, and textiles to performance, installation, and architectural intervention, produced in a kaleidoscopic array of individual styles. Some of the artists this volume highlights include S. Kay Young, an attendee of the College for Creative Studies with a thirty-year photography career; multimedia artist Adam Lee Miller, who is one half of the band ADULT; fiber artist and 2015 Kresge fellow Carole Harris; and master staff carver / mosaicist David Philpot.
While Detroit has long been home to a storied and industrious community of artists, there has been relatively little writing that explores, analyzes, and contextualizes their work. Now, with renewed regional, national, and international attention being paid to Detroit and its creative culture, it is more important than ever that the evolving and vital work of the city's artists be documented and made known to the wider public. The new essays collected here, written in a format that is at once in-depth and accessible, continue the authors' ongoing mission to introduce the Detroit art community to the world, one artist at a time. Art lovers and regional history buffs will appreciate this continued conversation.
Steve Panton is the founder of 2739 Edwin and 9338 Campau galleries, co-founder of the Hamtramck Neighborhood Arts Festival and the Free School of Hamtramck, and the inaugural curator of Art@TheMax. His personal interests are in interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of pedagogy, research, and exhibition making.
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