Cass Corridor Revisited
The exhibit aims to offer a new critical lens for understanding the diverse work of the period. Myers challenges the prevailing assumption--that Cass Corridor artists were either "urban expressionists," responding to their derelict surroundings, or "formalists"--with evidence that each artist was committed to his or her own unique aesthetic. Taken as a whole, the artists, like their NYC counterparts, were caught up in a larger movement confronting modernism's tenets. Myers' thesis is clearly laid out in an insightful, interesting catalog; I found it indispensable to appreciating fully the artists' subversive techniques. Copies are available to look at inside the gallery or to buy.
The thirty-plus works on display are divided into eight thematic groups, including "Minimalism/Industry," "Complexity," "Violence, Destruction, Decay ... and Renewal," "Vulnerability," and "Music/Dance/Industry." These are not perfect categories. Beyond the obvious overlaps, there is the issue of their subjectivity. Myers acknowledges that some works could easily fit into more than one category, and so it's possible to quibble with some of her choices, such as Nancy Pletos' colorful and detailed spiral Yellow Two VII in "Nature/Geometry" rather than "Complexity." Or to wonder why the category "Music/Dance/Industry" contains only works by John Piet. Nonetheless, the themes do serve a useful purpose, of unifying this notable crowd of distinct artists and visions, and recontextualizing their work within a broader sphere.