Cass Corridor Revisited
1976 vertical sculpture, a chaotic assemblage of wire, tubing, plastic, wood, paper, fabric, and other chewed-up, half-digested bits you would expect to find in the belly of a dead factory. Or there's Gordon Newton's Diamond Follow, a tortured piece of plywood that bears the scars of a power saw and the indignities of graffiti.
However, this decay-nurtured, tumbledown aesthetic fails to encompass or correctly explain most of the art to come out of that neighborhood then. EMU art history professor and exhibit curator Julia R. Myers writes, "The characterization of the Cass Corridor artists as tough guys making tough art about a deteriorating and sometimes violent city was 'journalistic crap,' according to group member John Egner." Indeed, to look at Egner's Untitled, 1966, a triangular canvas painted green and apportioned into orderly geometric shapes by peach- and plum-colored lines, you can't help but agree that maybe some critics were, at the very least, amiss in their interpretation. Even Newton has described his work as having a "natural feel" that came from "being outside, up north, or on the lake, the way you feel in nature, the yearly cycle of growth and decay."