All good things must come to an end ... like the world, for instance.
Relax, reader. We're playing the eschatology game with tongue firmly in cheek here. But in case you haven't heard, the Mayans predicted a rather ominous event to occur this coming Friday.
Of course, you know all about the Mayan Calendar controversy. Of course, you saw the John Cusack movie with its incredible FX. Of course, you've read the affirming blogs AND the killjoy scholars who claim that our pals in Central America may have miscalculated the whole (pardon the expression) shebang by a couple of years ... or centuries.
But 323 East Gallery has decided to end 2012 (and something else) with a pleasant and colorful countdown to Doomsday. The Royal Oak showcase will unveil Apocalypto - The End of An Age and set up a clock ticking away to midnight. It seemed like a fitting way to say farewell to the year and the town before the gallery packs up everything and moves to new digs in Detroit.
And befitting a gallery with a distinguished record for exemplary exhibits, group efforts and an enviable roster of past and present names, it promises to be quite a show. Among the local and national artists who agreed to celebrate the final "curtain call": Ron Zakrin, Glenn Barr, Mark Arminsky, BASK, Jonathan Sandberg, Audrey Pongracz, Mark Heggie, John Dunivant, Amy Chenier, Matt Eaton, Mark Sarmel, April Segedi, Tom Thewes and may others. A special plus: This exhibit will also feature original works by Michael Hanlon and Julianna Counts. Hanlon is known chiefly in these parts for original film posters created for the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak; Counts is the acclaimed and popular cartoonist responsible for The Cynic Next Door.
Each artist will put his or her personal stamp on the theme of things falling apart, the centre not holding, Dies Irae, Armageddon, and The End. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? So drop by - and don't feel cheated if the sun comes up the next day.
Because it will.
Before we leave you, here's a Q&A with resident artist Dan Armand (who has a piece in the show) and 323East managing director Jesse Cory.
Why "the end of the world" for an art show?
Dan Armand: I think it's more relevant now than at any other point in recent memory. Whether or not the world ends, or whether we wake up to another day, a great cycle of time is ending in the Mayan calendar - which means a new one is ultimately beginning. I think it's really up to us to decide if this marks the end of our world, or a new beginning. I think people are more focused on the end, because of all the horrible things that are happening across the globe. I think that’s why we are so inclined to look at this from the darker side of things. I’m not so sure we’ll crumble into the sea on Friday, but I do think that we’ll look back on this day in the future as a pivotal point in the history of our civilization.
Jesse Cory: December 21 seemed like a date and a moment in time when artists could legitimately have their say. People have interpreted the Mayan calendar as "doomsday" and "the end of civilization", so to capture all of this potentially negative energy and present it as an expressive, hopeful and even humorous art exhibit struck as a positive way to celebrate.
You REALLY have a Doomsday clock?
Dan Armand: Yep! We will have a big countdown clock inside the gallery - or outside if weather permits. We've been planning Apocalypto for about a year at the same time we were looking for a new location in Detroit. Since all of this came together at the same time, it seemed fitting for the ending of the Mayan Calendar to coincide with our final show at 323East - the end of an era for us.
Jesse Cory: May I please add here that contrary to a rumor that is going around, the clock will NOT explode at midnight. And even if December 21 turns out to be the end of the world, it will not be the end of our days as a gallery. This spring we’re reopening a new gallery at our new location with our first show in April featuring Glenn Barr. We have a solid lineup of shows that will include Ron Zakrin, Camilo Pardo, Nychos, John Dunivant and an electronic music themed exhibition during the Movement festival in May. We’re excited to have an opportunity to expand the gallery with a much larger space and continue to build on the creative footprint Eastern Market has been to artists for so many years.
What prompted the decision to move to Detroit?
Jesse Cory: The move was on our radar for quite awhile and with our expanding online gallery 1xRUN, we've been in need of more room for the past year. When we moved to Royal Oak in 2007 our business model was quite different than it is today. We’ve built a global art gallery with 1xRUN and we simply had to move our business. We never bothered to look north of 8 Mile. We looked at property throughout Detroit and kept coming back to the Eastern Market, but it was difficult to find a location that would fit so many of our needs. After months looking at any and all potential spaces for lease or for sale we found a beautiful 3 story building that we feel reflects our business and provides the space for us to grow.
What are the most positive memories you'll take from Royal Oak?
Jesse Cory: There was a specific turning point that changed the course of the gallery as we know it today. In mid 2009 we struck up a conversation with Glenn Barr about an exhibition and pretty soon we had a date set for mid October of that year. It was Glenn’s first Motor City exhibition in over 7 years, and he did not disappoint us or the public. He showcased a vast collection of prints and new original works.
Dan Armand: Wow, there are so many that it’s hard to even separate them out individually. I guess if I had to narrow it down, it would be all the great people we’ve met, befriended and worked with. None of this would have been possible without such great support from the art community as a whole. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who’s been a part of it.