One of my favorite places in Detroit is the Detroit Institute of Art. I went there as a kid and fell in love with every bit of it, and I’ve been back again and agin.
The special exhibit they have right now is Ruben & Isabel Toledo: Labor of Love, and I was lucky enough to see it today. Before I even entered the exhibit, I saw these new pieces in several galleries. Isabel Toledo created them in response to the art in each of those galleries. It reminded me of Steal Like an Artist, in that she’s taking these influences from other works of art and riffing on them.
The works below were large scale, taking up the entire walls as visitors entered the gallery. They are a response to the Diego Rivera frescos that are in Rivera Court, in the DIA. I love the Diego Rivera frescos, and it was exciting to see another artist’s interpretation of the subjects.
I was so excited to see this – it’s a drawing that Diego Rivera used to plan out the frescos in the DIA. In all the years I’ve seen the frescos, I’d never seen any of the planning put into them. It was exciting to see that connection between the finished piece I know, and the process that came before that.
The dresses, to me, were the heart of this exhibit – they were based on current political themes, and demonstrated how fashion relates to the political climate.
To finish out the exhibit, there was a collection of comics drawn by Ruben Toledo, parallel to comics drawn by Diego Rivera, both of which were critiquing society in different ways. This felt disjointed from the rest of the exhibit – we had all the dresses throughout the museum, and it was based on the Rivera works already in the museum, and then these comics were thrown in, feeling like an afterthought.