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Art Galleries

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Art Galleries

by Carla Rapoport

For four days each year Ann Arbor turns into an outdoor art gallery. The rest of the year, the city boasts a sizable collection of indoor galleries, each one unique f rom the other. Collectively they provide a broad sampling of national and international contemporary art.

The SUN recently visited these galleries, taking photos and talking with the various directors and managers. All the 10 galleries are within easy walking distance from the central campus area.

That Gallery

415 N. Fifth

The newest gallery in town, That Gallery opened July 1 in Kerrytown. Manager Shirley Denny explained their offerings will include pottery, jewelry, etchings, oils, reproductions of well-known paintings and art books. "We'll have quite a price range," says Denny. In addition, the quiet, wood-paneled gallery will be hosting one-person shows by local artists in the upcoming months.

Gallery Jacques

529 E. Liberty, inside David's Books

Through the populous shelves of David's Books, just past the art book section, one will find a sunny room of sculpture and paintings known as Gallery Jacques. A native Parisian, Jacques Karamnoukian has been in the art business several years. He does not choose established or well-known artists for his gallery. Instead, he selects modern expressionists and abstracts for the gallery, as if for his own home. One finds bold portraits, abstract water colors and other modern work chosen from local and Parisian artists.

Union Gallery

First Floor Michigan Union, State Street

Funded by the University, the Union Gallery can afford to be different. With Sunday chamber concert series, dance exhibitions and poetry readings, the Union Gallery strives to provide a cultural center for the University community. The gallery displays pottery, glass work, weaving and paintings in rotating exhibits throughout the year. Both students and non-students may display here. "We can afford to show students and unknown artists because we take such a low commission," explains Martha Reesman, director. Last winter the gallery hosted a special exhibit devoted to the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case and trial. Early this fall, Reesman explained, the gallery will be hosting a children's art exhibit from Leningrad.

The Gallery

316 S. State, inside Border's Bookstore

An escalator's ride above Border's Bookstore, the Gallery spaciously houses a wide variety of art work in tasteful display. Here one finds free standing sculpture, reproductions of well-known works, abstract oils, watercolors, ceramics, woven wall hangings and much more. The work is mostly from local artists, although the management plans to bring in art from all over the country. The Gallery will maintain an artist's work even after limited shows. In addition, they will be featuring antique prints and an informative show on their care and preservation. "We're approaching the kind of exhibit you might find in local museums," explains Rebecca Radin, manager. Another unique feature, their summer festival of films for children, will begin this month on Wednesdays at 4pm.

Lantern Gallery

301 N. Main

With more than eight years in Ann Arbor, the Lantern Gallery continues to explore and bring art to the city that hasn't been here before. "We don't concentrate on regional art," explains Alice Simsar, a co-owner. Always looking for special exhibits, the gallery recently held a workshop where all areas of art product on were explored, including making paper. The long, roomy gallery also houses African sculpture and tapestry. "There's an interesting play between contemporary art and African art," says Simsar. The gallery hopes to expand its sculpture exhibits in the upcoming year. The shop also offers packing, shipping, repair and storage for art work.

Repartee Gallery

218 E. Washington Slim, gracious Hedger Breed is director of Repartee Gallery which opened seven months ago. Entering this walk-up gallery is much like visiting a friend's elegant but comfortable living room. Twenty-six year old Breed has focused his gallery on contemporary fine art, largely oil paintings. The gallery will also feature prints, line drawings, ceramics and sculpture. Breed is displaying personally known artists from this area as opposed to those with national audiences. He also uses work from the U-M art school and those offering art at varying prices.


123 W. Washington

Wall hangings from Central America, ebony sculpture from Africa, reed baskets from the Amazon region grace the walls and cabinets of this gallery which specializes in folk art. Once a year, the gallery offers a Cuna Indian art show which is the only such show in North America. The Cuna Indians live off the Panamanian Coast where they devise their unusual art work and tools. The owners have traveled over the world more than once gathering the many objects they display. A family sort of business. Peter Koepke, one of the Baobab partners, explains, "We sit around at night and string the beads we have collected to make our necklaces."

Another Art Gallery?

121 W. Washington

A real one-person show, Another Art Gallery? is run, owned and managed by Mark Hardin. While the large, roomy gallery houses mainly paintings and sculpture from Michigan artists, Hardin explains, "I'm trying not to appeal to a specific clientele. The gallery will be changing all the time." In addition to his displays of photographic, work, jewelry, sculpture and paintings, Hardin has set up several upcoming events. These include an electronic and media display for early fall and a show called the Shrine of the Easter Rabbit, an unclassifiable artistic mixture of fantasy and fact, which will appear later this month.

Forsythe Gallery

201 Nickels Arcade

The Forsythe Gallery is a tradition in Ann Arbor; for 27 years it has offered fine contemporary art in every medium. Paintings, oils, watercolors, glass works, and tapestry are all in this carpeted penthouse gallery above Nickels Arcade. During the school year, the shop turns itself over to one or two artists for a month or so. It draws largely from U-M faculty and South American artists and in addition to others working out of New York City. This gallery is truly plush and even if you can't afford to look at the price tags, the trip is well worth your time.

Collectors House of Art

217 E. Liberty - Manager of this diversified gallery, Chuck Fredly, explains its focus is mainly wildlife art, limited edition and collector's prints. The gallery also features authentic Eskimo sculpture from the Hudson Bay area. In addition, the shop offers framing and consulting on office interiors. One also finds unique jewelry and ornaments here.