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Opening Reception: Post Apocalyptic Motor City Friday, August 28 at 6-11 p.m., Royal Oak

Critic's Pick


by Megan O'Neil

Omnipresent art enthusiast and writer Robert del Valle is the curator behind Post-Apocalyptic Motor City, a show that he says represents "optimistic, pessimistic, surreal, existential, nihilistic, resigned and defiant" artistic expressions of Detroit as envisioned by an eclectic array of visual work.

Some 26 visual artists, including Julie Fournier, Marianne Audrey Burrows, Chris Turner, Shades, Aran Ruth and Jeremy Hansen, have been tapped for the exhibition, which also serves as the official pre-party to the third annual People's Arts Festival.

"Detroit is no stranger to either bad times or political disasters," writes the sardonic del Valle, "but the annus horribilis we're experiencing today is unprecedented. The Big Three are the anemic triplets of a once robust industry, our elected officials have become poster children for municipal corruption and the only 'consolation' we have lies in the fact that much of this ongoing nightmare is simply a microcosm of what's happening to the rest of the country."

If there's one contingent in our community not afraid to tell us like it is, it's the fine artists; they're about seeking the truth, they scrape away the layers of bureaucracy, they leave us not only with a lasting image, but a message. Asks del Valle, do we "pack it in or pack a punch?"

The answers await at 323 East, 323 E. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 866-756-6538;