Essay’d: 30 Detroit Artists highlights the individual contributors to Detroit’s thriving and diverse art scene. Stemming from the popular website of the same name, Essay’d seeks to introduce readers to some of the contemporary art practitioners who live and work in Detroit or have participated in the Detroit art scene in an important way. Even those familiar with Detroit and its art ecosystem are sure to find new insight and perspective on artists that have made their careers in Detroit.
Four arts writers within the Detroit art scene—a professor, a gallerist, and two critics—create an ongoing series of short essays that focus briefly and intensely on standout artists. This blending of critical sensibilities and interests provides a unique perspective on a diverse place, offering many points of interest and access to one of the most vital and intriguing art environments in the country. While many artists have helped to grow and shape the local art tableau, the authors selected thirty for this volume, including Signal Return’s artistic director Lynne Avadenka; "The Detroit Portrait Series" artist Nicole Macdonald; 2012 DLECTRICITY performers Tzarinas of the Plane; and 2013 Kresge fellow Carl Wilson to name a few. This book is not a systematic attempt to identify the "best" or "most important" Detroit artists, or even to define what those terms mean. The position the essays take to their subjects is not critical but neither is it reverential. The objective is to create a platform for Detroit artists, not a pedestal.
Essay’d is an excellent introduction to the Detroit art landscape, as well as an opportunity to deepen one’s knowledge of the Detroit art scene and its players. Art lovers and regional history buffs will not want to miss this collection.