Lovers of modern architecture and contemporary art are in for a treat in Detroit at the William Hawkins Ferry House, which has once again opened its doors to the public with the exhibition Unobstructed Views. Now the home of hip art dealers JJ and Anthony Curis, who founded the Library Street Collective, the Hawkins Ferry House (named after its original owner, also an art patron), is a modernist gem designed by William Kessler.
Located in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, the home was restored in 2015 with original owner’s intention in mind: to showcase a large art collection amidst views of Lake St. Clair. Co-hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) and the Library Street Collective, an art space located in downtown Detroit specialised in cutting edge contemporary fine art with a concentration on emerging and established artists, the full title of the exhibition comprises 39 paintings, many made by Detroit artists.
'Delara' and 'Taraneh' from Civil Liberties series by Sheida Soleimani. Image by Peter Andrew Lusztyk
The art on display includes Iranian-American artist Sheida Soleimani’s psychedelic photo collages of female human rights victims in Iran as well as Katherine Bernhardt's Summer Lunch at Scala dei Turchi, an expressive acrylic work on canvas at an impressive size of 10 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The long list of artists featured includes Beverly Fishman, Mike Kelley, Scott Reeder, KAWS, Jack Craig, Spencer Sweeney and more.
The setting might seem like an unlikely one in which to showcase millennium art – its 1960s style can still be felt through modernist designs such as a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona daybed, a Saarinen Tulip table and works by Harry Bertoia and Florence Knoll – all of which were decided by Curis and his wife. Yet, with Unobstructed Views it offers fascinating juxtapositions by placing today’s contemporary art within the context of Midcentury design.
Adrianne Rubenstein. Casseorile. (2017). Oil on panel with artist frame. 81.28 x 58.42 cm
A highlight of this design-meets-contemporary art wonderland is that all the art is for sale. The works were auctioned off on 27 July with all funds benefiting MOCAD. For those who couldn’t make it to Detroit, additional bids can placed online via Paddle8 until 10 August. For those who do make it to Detroit, there’s a bustling art scene home to around 15 art galleries as well as historical midcentury buildings by architectural greats such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe.
For more information, visit the Library Street Collective.