Dance-focused Cultural Exhibit Debuts at the DIA in March

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The Detroit Institute of Arts will host a multimedia exhibition beginning in March that brings together more than 90 paintings, sculptures, and costumes that celebrate and explain the importance of dance in American culture.

“Dance has such a rich history in America,” says Salvador Salort-Pons, director of the DIA. “This exhibition provides an opportunity to see the variety of ways a wide range of artists interpret this important aspect of American culture.”

Salort-Pons says the exhibit, called Dance: American Art, 1830–1960, will feature works by 19th century American artists including John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Mary Cassatt, along with works by artists who contributed to the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement between the end of World War I and the 1930s, such as Aaron Douglas, William Johnson, and James VanDerZee. He says the exhibit will also feature artists who shaped the aesthetics of modern dance, including Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol.  

Salort-Pons says the artworks show the dances of indigenous North Americans, the history of African-American dance forms, and female superstars from the turn of the 20th century. Among the works featured include Homer’s Summer Night, Warhol’s Silver Clouds, and nine watercolors by Diego Rivera, among others.

Five videos in the exhibition will highlight the performance aspect of dance and include historic footage and contemporary dancers discussing and demonstrating American ballet, tap, and Detroit’s dance legacies.

Tickets for the exhibit, which runs from March 20 through June 12, is $14 for adults and $10 for Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County residents. Admission is free every Friday. Dance: American Art, 1830–1960 will travel to the Denver Art Museum in July and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas in October.

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