Detroit’s Library Street Collective Explores Art Historical Influence and Contemporary Innovation in New Group Show

The show brings together a diverse roster of artists who engage with the history—and future—of art making.

Mike Shultis, Booty and La Bete (2022). Courtesy of the artist and Stefan Jennings Batista.

Based in Downtown Detroit, art gallery Library Street Collective is presenting the new group exhibition “Kaleidoscopic Companions,” opening on April 20 and on view through May 29, 2024. Curated by Allison Zuckerman, an artist who also has work included in the show, the exhibition brings together the work of 11 artists in total who explore the history of art and the influence of its legacy on contemporary practice.

Allison Zuckerman, The Weaver (2024). Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective.

“‘Kaleidoscopic Companions’ speaks to the power of collaboration and dialogue, reminding us of the transformative potential of art to bridge divides and foster understanding” Zuckerman said of the show. “I look to this exhibition as a symbol of unity, weaving together the threads of art history and contemporary innovation. Through the diverse voices of its participating artists, this exhibition celebrates the kaleidoscope of human experience, demonstrating how disparate perspectives can harmonize. Now, more than ever, I believe there is an imperative to embrace the shared language of art to navigate our collective journey towards a more harmonious future.”

Each artist participating in the exhibition was prompted to select a historic artwork as a starting point for their creation, offering a framework both for the artists’ processes as well as for the show overall. The result is a diverse harmony of artistic voices; while some pieces pay homage to the history and trajectory of art history, others question or offer critique. Contributing to the premise of innovation, some subvert the artworks of the past, transforming them through a lens of present-day notions, ideas, and themes.

A painting of a black man in a black suit with a bowtie looking at the viewer in the space of a gallery with paintings on all sides. Implies the figure is looking at artwork but the artwork is the frame into the viewers world.

Mario Moore, It can all be so fleeting (2024). Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

While the selection of works on view employ different strategies—featuring a range of mediums, compositional structures, color palettes, and more—the use of figuration is apparent and prevalent. Bringing a distinct sense of cohesiveness to the show, the use of the figurative conveys an element of the personal and opens the pieces up to viewer reflection on the contemporary transformation of ideas around identity, race, and gender. In the process of creating “Kaleidoscopic Companions,” Zuckerman emphasized dialogue and collaboration between the featured artists, which is reflected in these echoed moments between works.

Colleen Barry, I never knew (2024). Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

Through juxtaposition and cross-work dialogue, “Kaleidoscopic Companions” proposes itself as a new form of group exhibition, one that focuses on the current moment through fostering artistic collaboration and reflection—lending and adding to ongoing discussions around both art making of the past and the possibilities for art making in the future.

Kaleidoscopic Companions” is on view at Library Street Collective, Detroit, April 20–May 29, 2024.

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