Take Part in Art -- Pop Art is More Than Soup Cans

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When someone says "Pop Art" most of us, let's be honest, automatically think of Campbell's Soup cans and Marylin Monroe. But how much do we really know about this quintessential postmodern art form? Pop Art emerged in the 1950's and promptly laid siege to the dividing line between "high art" and "low art," bringing the elements of everyday life -- like movie stars, comic books and advertisements -- into the artistic sphere. Pop Art reminds us to take note of the beautiful in everyday life -- not just the beauty of sunsets and flowers, but also the beauty of breakfast cereals, cartoon characters and, dare I say, Campbell's Soup cans.

To explore Pop Art, you can always come to the Downtown Youth department and check out our latest Art Table display, or follow these tips to join in at home.

1. Read all about it -- Pop Art by Christian Demilly provides a good introduction to the movement. Susan Goldman Rubin's books on Andy Warhol, Wayne Thiebaud and Roy Lichtenstein are a great way to find out more about specific Pop artists, as is Debra Pearlman's Where Is Jasper Johns?. Adults interested in Pop Art can check out Pop Art: A Continuing History by Marco Livingstone or the encyclopedic Pop, edited by Mark Francis and Hal Foster.

2. Field Trip -- Although they don't have a Pop Art collection per se, Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting several exhibits dealing with the art of everyday life, especially "Mother May I" by LaToya Ruby Frazier. Is this work possibly inspired by Pop Art ideas? That's for me to ask and you to debate. (Debating things like that in public makes you look really, really smart, by the way.)

3. Make your own -- What have you been walking past every day without thinking about it? Your toothbrush? Your sneakers? Maybe it's time for their day in the sun. Collage fans can cut and paste images from magazine photos and ads to make their own work of art. Kinderart, Associated Content and Ehow offer several creative ideas for at-home Pop Art projects.

Take Part in Art -- Marvelous Mosaic

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Mosaic -- the art of making images from little pieces of stone, glass or tile -- is an amazing art form. Debuting in Ancient Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC, Mosaic is still going strong around the world, adorning palaces, churches and sculptures, as well as private homes and gardens.

You can check out the latest Art Table on mosaic at the Downtown Youth department, or participate at home!

Read all about it -- For the historical perspective, read Piece by Piece! by Michael Avi-Yonah, which describes the mosaics of ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium. To learn more about one modern mosaic artist, try Niki's World by Ulrich Krempel. This book focuses on Niki de Saint Phalle, the creator of the magnificent, mosaic-covered Tarot Garden. Adults who want a quick introduction to mosaic can explore JoAnn Locktov's The Art of Mosaic Design, which is full of beautiful color photographs of the best modern mosaic art.

Make Mosaics at Home -- To start making your own mosaics out of materials you probably already have around your house, try Anna Freixenet's Creating With Mosaics. If you grown-ups want to make your own mosaics too, try The Mosaic Idea Book by Rosalind Wates, Mosaic Techniques and Traditions by Sonia King, or The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook by Maggy Howarth. The FamilyFun website also provides an awesome list of creative mosaic activities.

Field Trip! -- Mosaic is all about building something new from the pieces of something old. The upcoming Detroit Maker Faire is a great opportunity to do just that. We at the AADL will be celebrating the Maker Faire by hosting Wreck and Make Labs in July, where you can pull apart all sorts of gadgets and make awesome new stuff from them. Pick up the latest copy of AXIS for more information! The city of Ann Arbor will share in the action, with the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire in June.

Up in the Air

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Jason Reitman's film, Up in the Air, starring George Clooney, comes to local movie theaters on December 25, but you can get a preview of the story that's being hailed as the most timely of the year by reading the book of the same title by Walter Kirn. Reitman spent several years adapting the novel into a screenplay, turning it from a story about a guy who gets paid to lay people off into one man's search for self-realization and fulfillment.

In the film, Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a frequent flyer, motivational speaker, professional firer, and reveler in the superficial pleasures of what Chuck Palahniuk called the "single serve life." All this changes when a new female coworker introduces a cost-cutting idea that threatens to end his flight hopping lifestyle. The film has some local connections too, for several scenes were filmed at Detroit Metro Airport, and one sequence features real-life Detroit residents that have recently lost their jobs.

Other thematically related items at the AADL include the book Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, & Dismissed, created by actress Annabelle Gurwitch, as well as her DVD and CD also called Fired!

Hockeytown Heroes

It's been an historical couple of weeks for three former Detroit Red Wings stars. Last week two players, one known to Wings fans simply as The Captain, Steve Yzerman, along with scoring machine, Brett Hull, were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, ON. And then yesterday, after 21 seasons tormenting opposing defenses, Brendan Shanahan decided to hang up his skates. Shanahan won three Stanley Cups with Detroit, Hull won one, and Yzerman won three as a player and one in an executive role with the team. Before Stevie Y came to the Motor City, the team had been mired in a Cup slump for the previous 47 years. Since then, the team has brought four Cups home to the Joe Louis arena. The AADL has a great collection of books chronicling the storied history of the Detroit Red Wings and its players.

Derby Girl Becomes Whip It!

It's an exciting time in Michigan with all the movies being filmed here and Whip It, in theaters on Friday, October 2 is the latest flick to hit theaters. Marking Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, Whip It, is based on the teen novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross. Derby Girl is about sixteen-year-old rebel Bliss Cavendar, who is miserable living in a small Texas town with her beauty pageant-obsessed mother so she secretly joins a roller derby team under the name "Babe Ruthless," her life gets better, although infinitely more confusing. Ellen Page of Juno fame stars as Bliss and early buzz is good!

Whip It also stars several members of the local Detroit Derby Girls and to celebrate the release we'll be hosting an evening with them to talk about Roller Derby and their experiences on set on Thursday, October 1, 7:00-8:30 at the Downtown Library.

Movement '09- Party all night long

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Techno, house, EBM, ambient, acid, dub, etc, these are just some of the types of electronic music (as well as hip hop, rap, and rock) you will hear at Movement Festival '09 in Detroit this weekend (Sat, May 23-Mon, May 25)at Hart Plaza. Boasting some 70+ DJs and live acts (as well as numerous pre and post parties throughout the downtown Detroit area), Movement '09 promises to keep the ravers and booty shakers up all night. Some of the beats that are represented at the library on CD are Detroit electronic music pioneer, Carl Craig; opening headliners Prodigy; newer music producer and DJ, Flying Lotus; and the legendary DJ, producer (some say the Grandfather of hip-hop) Afrika Bambaataa. If you are interested in reading about the history of electronic music we have the books, Ambient century; Electronic & computer music; & Grown up all wrong. Or watch the DVD, 24 hour Party People, a semi-autobiographical story about the ups and way downs of music promoter Tony Wilson, both tragic and triumphant it is also a great story of the post-punk era in England to the beginnings of the electronic music scene.

Visit the Detroit Artists Market

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Take a trip to the Detroit Artists Market for the 2009 All-Media Exhibition. The show kicks off DAM’s spring season with a juried exhibition of contemporary art by 48 Detroit and Michigan artists. The exhibition will be on display until June 6. Since 1932 the Detroit Artist Market has been rooted in the history of Detroit art and culture, and continues today to be a community organization promoting contemporary art. As a bonus, check out a Museum Adventure Pass before you go and get a 10% discount on DAM merchandise.

Leonard Cohen in Detroit

Back in the day, listening to Leonard Cohen did not make me sleepy, but lately . . . so I won’t be there this weekend when this remarkable Canadian singer-songwriter performs in Detroit’s Fox Theater. I do still like his music -- especially Suzanne -- and I’ve been following this tour, including shows in Chicago. I'm also intrigued by the DVD about Cohen's life I'm Your Man.

Happy Birthday Marvin Gaye!

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Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr., better known as Motown legend Marvin Gaye, was born April 2, 1939. Celebrate this singer/songwriter's birthday by checking out some of his music from the AADL. Try Blue Velvet: The Ultimate Collection by his early R&B band The Moonglows, or pick up some of his solo classics like the 1971 release What's Going On, his 1973 release Let's Get It On, Love Songs, or the Marvin Gaye Concert Anthology.
To learn more about this Grammy winning musician and his tragic personal life, check out the biography Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye, Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, or What's Going On? : Marvin Gaye and the Last Days of the Motown Sound. Many Marvin Gaye fans also recommend reading Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, which isn't terribly well-written, but is largely based on interviews for a projected autobiography that was cancelled after Gaye's death in 1984.

Detroit's Healing Work of Art

In 1968 Detroit Receiving Hospital began an art collection designed to provide an environment colorful, attractive, and beneficial to patients, their families, and the hospital staff. Today, that collection includes more than a thousand works of art. The Healing Work of Art : From the Collection of Detroit Receiving Hospital documents this amazing collection, highlighting the diversity of its holdings as well as its history. Detroit Receiving Hospital is home to major sculptures, as well as hundreds of paintings, works on paper, textiles, and crafts. Over the years, the collection has been broadened by the addition of African beadwork, tapestries from the USA, Africa, and Columbia, a site-specific Pewabic tile water fountain, and large photo murals in the Emergency Department. The collection, which continues to grow in scope and quality, retains its original purpose of lightening the burden of illness carried by patients and their families. Art enthusiasts, as well as those interested in Detroit culture and history, will appreciate this book.

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