A Denmark Painter Imagines Detroit Through Abstracts –  Deadline Detroit

The artist worked on his paintings at MOCAD.

There’s something quite interetsting about an exhibit at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) in Midtown through July 29.

First off, artist Tal R, aka Shlomo Rosenzweig, was born in Tel Aviv and is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Secondly, he’s never stepped foot in the Detroit neighborhoods he recreates on canvas.

The solo exhibit of abstracts, titled “:this is not Detroit,” has seven large paintings that depict his vision of Black Bottom, Poletown and Palmer Park. He finished the works at MOCAD, which describes the project:

The abstract works use primitive shapes and symbols to investigate the visual language of displacement and place. Waves, ships, and city buildings, drawn with short energetic brushstrokes, populate these insular worlds. The formal, hard-edged palette suggests that this fantasy world is perhaps sturdier than the one we can see around us. These unique imaginings invite viewers to reflect on Detroit as a place, and as an idea — a parallel dream space.


:this is not Detroit is Tal R’s sincere investigation of American iconography from his studio in Denmark. 

In the Detroit Jewish News, he tells how he tried to imagine portions of Detroit:

I visualized images that exist most places on Earth, such as trains, clowns, fat cats, graphic systems, bridges and horses. I combined these images with neighborhood names. The viewer is placed between the image and the name.

He also created a 52-page Detroit newspaper that which will be given to visitors.

How to attend

  • Where:  4454 Woodward Ave.

  • When: Wednesday and weekend, 

    11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; shut Monday and Tuesday

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