November 1, 2017

Freer House to help kick off DIA’s Japanese art gallery with special exhibition

Paper Sashiko #6: Loquacious Stars, Detail, Hiroko Lancour

To coincide with the Nov. 4 grand opening of the Detroit Institute of Art’s new Japanese art gallery, the Charles Lang Freer House/Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University is doing something rare and special.

The Freer House is hosting an open house and public exhibition on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. of the work of Japanese-born Detroit artist Hiroko Lancour, who derives inspiration from the Freer House and Freer's history of art collecting and cultural connections to Japan.

The exhibition, “Artist in Resonance: Hiroko Lancour at the Charles Lang Freer House,” will be a pop-up exhibition of nearly 30 works of art, displayed in three significant original gallery rooms that includes the former Peacock Room.

“This will be the first time in nearly 100 years that original art has been displayed in the historic Freer House,” said William Colburn, director of the Freer House at the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. “This exhibition is the only official community partner event being held in conjunction with the DIA's major programming during the Japan gallery opening weekend.”

Lancour received her master’s in fine arts from Wayne State, has exhibited at WSU Art Department Gallery, the Detroit Artists Market, Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art, and has recently received a request from the University of Michigan Hospital for a three-month solo exhibition of her work.

“We have an artist who was born in Japan and voluntarily uprooted herself to come to America, but who grapples almost daily with her uprootedness,” said Wayne State art professor Jeffrey Abt. “The Uprooted series in the former Peacock Room at the Freer House effectively captures the spirit of the entire exhibition. The placement of these cyanotype prints in the Peacock Room is particularly poignant.”

Charles Lang Freer House

The event will also feature a specially created exhibition soundscape produced and performed by WSU music professor Natasha Foreman, who has studied extensively in Japan. Foreman will create a soundscape to accompany Lancour's artwork, combining her live performance on shamisen (Japanese three-stringed lute) with recorded sounds.

In addition, the event includes an exhibit on Freer, Detroit and Japan installed in the former Peacock Room and guided tours of the Freer House, including the newly restored courtyard gardens.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. No reservations required. Parking is available for $7.75 in the WSU parking lot behind the Freer House, entrance off John R.

The Freer House is located one block north of the DIA at 71 E. Ferry Street and is Detroit's most important landmark in relationship to Japanese art and culture, due to its legacy of association with Freer's Asian art collection (now housed at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.) and its history as the “original Freer Gallery of Art.”

Exhibition sponsors include the Japan Business Society of Detroit, Aisin Corporation, Japan Cultural Development of Detroit, Americana Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Erb Foundation Friends of Asian Arts and Cultures/DIA and the Freer House.


Shawn Wright
Phone: 586-255-6329

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