Wasserman Project’s Vibrant New Detroit Arts Space

A renovated firehouse turned Eastern Market interdisciplinary haven

On 25 September 2015—in the midst of Detroit Design Week—a new 5,000 square-foot multimedia arts centered opened its doors for the first time. This interdisciplinary hub, containing a gallery, performance venue and more, is known as Wasserman Projects, and what’s inside (and what will continue to be) is just as important as the venue itself. The space was envisioned by philanthropist and cultural creative Gary Wasserman as a center for local artistic development as well a showcase for global artists who resonate with the city. It will play host to more than just exhibitions—having more than enough room and dedicated spaces for performance art, discussions and even concerts. Wasserman Projects debuted with many cross-disciplinary installations, and they all relay the cultural importance of the center itself.

As a remarkable centerpiece to the opening, German-born, Brooklyn-based painter Markus Linnenbrink delivers another experiential masterwork. In collaboration with Miami Beach-based architect Nick Gelpi, Linnenbrink developed an interior pavilion that’s been saturated with color. Gelpi shares with CH, “It’s in between a painting and house. Not only does this split in two, but it hosts Markus’ work inside. It has a path through it yet there’s a labyrinth moment within it.” On the installation, Linnenbrink adds, “I love color, but what I discovered over my last 25 years of painting is that people love color as well. It’s very simple.” The engrossing, exquisite pavilion can be experienced as a whole, but has been designed to part open and play host to musical performances.

As for the other work within, Wasserman explains, “We will have a permanent installation of Belgian artist Koen Vanmechlen’s Cosmopolitan Chicken Project, who, 20 years ago began it with the cross-breeding of the national chicken of France—the poulet de Bresse—with the Belgian Barbu d’Uccle. With that he began this cross-breeding project as a political-social statement. 20 years later, he has created 20 generations of chickens bred across nations. He never kills them or eats them. When they die, he makes art from them.” With the Wasserman Projects launch, Vanmechlen incorporates a breeding space, egg production and also elements of research. It’s a provocative metaphor for diversity.

Rounding out the works at launch, Detroit-based artist Jon Brumit contributes something akin to that of Linnenbrink—in scope alone. His outdoor, multi-piece, large-scale sculptural work stands at the cross art and architecture. Distinctly, it also invokes elements of sound design through the inclusion of lathe-cut loop records and public radio broadcasts. It’s an important piece to Wasserman’s grander vision: bring Detroit to the world and bring the world to Detroit. Altogether, it’s a visionary space for locals and visitors alike.

Wasserman Projects is located at 3434 Russell Street, #502, Detroit.

Images courtesy of Wasserman Projects