Ogun Performance in honor of Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts at MOCAD.
Ogun, one of three collectives responsible for the “Vision in a Cornfield” exhibition at MOCAD, hold a drum circle performance in honor of Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts on September 07, 2012.
Vision in a Cornfield is a large-scale collaboration that unites distinct creative communities in Detroit: the psyche/art rock band Destroy All Monsters, the urban arts group Ogun and the electromechanical art collective Apetechnology. The inspiration for the exhibition is two-fold. It is based on an unexpected encounter shared by Destroy All Monsters’ Mike Kelley and Cary Loren, which took place in a cornfield in Fowlerville, Michigan. It is also a reunion and reimagining of an unsanctioned art project in the streets of Detroit by Ogun, named after the Yoruba orisha of iron, hunting, politics and war.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is the ceremonial transformation of abandoned autos into African fetishes known as “Urban Monumentz.” The vehicles will be decorated by the artists of Ogun. Members of Apetechnology set the vehicles in motion through robotics so that they communicate with each other and with Museum visitors. The project is produced together by M. Saffell Gardner, Lester Lashley, Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts, Dianetta Dye (of Ogun), Cary Loren, Mike Kelley (of Destroy All Monsters), Chip Flynn, Leith Campbell, Brad Ballard (of Apetechnology) with additional work by Olayami Dabls, Jennifer Price and Levon Millross
A selection of mixed media works by Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts lays the groundwork for the exhibition. Known as an activist, artist and poet, Pitts founded Ogun more than 30 years ago, as well as the local press Black Graphics International, Kcalb Gniw Spirit and Band Unit #10. He was a member of the Detroit radical labor group League of Revolutionary Black Workers. Taken as a whole, Vision in a Cornfield reflects Pitts’ paradigm. It is a philosophical and spiritual inquiry into urban identity and the communal sense of self.
In conjunction with the exhibition, MOCAD presents the premiere issue of BOX #1, an homage to a short-lived quarterly by the same name produced in the late 1970s. BOX is published in a limited edition of 150, each of which hold at least 30 works by local and national artists, musicians and writers whose work has a relationship to the themes present in the exhibition. BOX includes, among other items, a second edition of Faruq Z. Bey’s seminal text of music theory and existentialism, entitled Toward a ‘Ratio’nal Aesthetic.
Vision in a Cornfield is curated by M. Saffell Gardner, Cary Loren and Rebecca Mazzei. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit with coordination by Zeb Smith and Jonathan Rajewski.
Major support for MOCAD exhibitions is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Related programming support is provided by the McGregor Fund and Edith S. Briskin/Shirley K. Schlafer Foundation.
Vision in a Cornfield is supported in part by the General Motors Foundation.