Jungle Love, photo by Matt Stangis
The Rapidian has a feature on prehistoric Michigan’s tropical seas, jungles and inhabitants that’s a great read and the ultimate Throwback Thursday! Here’s a small slice:
After about 60 million years, warm, shallow seas came down again from the Arctic and covered Michigan during the Silurian period. At this time the land would have been in a subtropical climate that gave rise to large coral reefs across the state. Fossil findings show that the largest and oldest reef extends through the center of the Upper Peninsula. A species of coral that lived during this time period would eventually become fossilized and become what we refer to as Petoskey Stones.
The seas retreated over time, leaving a desert scattered with fossilized remains that eventually formed the limestone that is located over one hundred and twenty feet below us today. The sections of this exposed limestone is what created the Grand Rapid’s famous rapids. Much of the salt deposits that were left from retreating seas of this period are still mined in Detroit.
The Devonian period around 400 million years ago saw the rise of vertebrates in Michigan. North America was covered with up to 40 percent of water. There were a great number of fish swarming the salt and fresh water seas. The Ganoid species were in a crude state of evolution. Many of them had armor plating with two of their relatives, the Gar Pike and the Sturgeon, still existing in Great Lakes today. Primitive plants, such as the seed fern, developed from marine algae. On land the Tiktaalik, the link between finned fish and early amphibians, started to use its muscular fins to drag itself around land.
…At the end of the Carboniferous Period, known as the Pennsylvanian subperiod, Michigan was a semi-tropical jungle featuring primitive vegetation. Ferns without bark, some of which bloomed scentless unattractive flowers, grew to almost 100 feet. Millions of generations of trees grew and died in the jungle. The trees that fell in the swampy parts of the jungle were covered up by water and soil that became rock over time. The forces of time and pressure on these trees would eventually see this prehistoric jungle become the coal basin that sits underneath a large area of the U.S. including the upper northeast part of Kent county.
In the sky above one foot long dragon flies swarmed in droves on the ground and cockroaches the size of a man’s palm crawled around. Reptiles started to appear, evolving from amphibians, not dependent on water to lay their amniotic eggs. Towards the end of this period the rain forests gave way to deserts which decreased the amphibian populations and caused an evolutionary shift in reptiles.
Definitely click through for more – there are some cool links as well!
I’m pretty sure Matt took this photo at ArtPrize in 2013. View it background bigilicious and see more in his slideshow.
Offset, photo by DetroitDerek Photography
A highlight of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing are the eight muses that ring the Capitol dome. During the latest restoration, it was learned that they were painted in the late 19th century by Italian artist Tommaso Juglaris. Michigan’s Otherside relates the story of the Mysterious Painter of the Michigan State Capital Muses:
The paintings are absolutely gorgeous, and for years, historians believed they might have been the work of Lewis Ives, an artist who has other pieces in the Capitol. Then, in 1992, a visitor named Geoffrey Drutchas entered the building, looking for works by a nineteenth-century Italian artist. Drutchas’ inquiry led to an investigation that ultimately revealed the paintings’ true creator. But more on that later; first, a quick background on how the muses became a part of the Capitol in the first place.
The current state Capitol opened in 1879. For the first few years of its existence, the Capitol’s walls were bare, as the state couldn’t spare any money for artwork. Eventually, the state had extra cash, so the legislature commissioned William Wright, owner of a Detroit decorating company, to handle interior design duties. The Capitol’s architect, Elijah Myers, said that he wanted allegorical paintings (in other words, paintings whose subjects look like one thing, but represent something else) to appear above the Capitol rotunda. That’s how the Capitol ended up with its muses. At first glance, the women in the paintings that Wright delivered to the Capitol are simply figures from Greek mythology; however, if a viewer looks at the paintings closely, he or she finds that each muse holds or is surrounded by items that represent a specific aspect of Michigan’s economy and culture.
Read on for more, and also see State Capital historian Kerry Chartkoff’s lecture on Michigan’s Capitol: Muses, Memoirs at Michigan State University.
View Derek’s photo bigger and see more in his Cities other than Detroit slideshow.
In this New World Order, it might just be up to Beau Stanton to save us all, photo by Michael
I’d never heard of artist Beau Stanton, who painted this mural, but I’m glad I have now! The mural is called Detroit House and his website explains:
This multifaceted mural wraps around all four sides of a cinderblock house in a large open field. It was created in September 2015 for the first annual Murals in the Market Festival in Detroit, located at St. Aubin and Pierce on the border of Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood.
Murals in the Market is an annual event takes place in the fall and invites local and international artists to paint large-scale murals throughout the Eastern Market District. Click the link to read all about it!
View Michael’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.
More great Michigan art and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!
This had a photo of mine that was apparently of another artist. He was kind of rude in the email so there will be no link. Your lesson for today is to be nice! ;)
Heidelberg Project-Detroit, MI, photo by Mike Boening
“Here we are now 30 years later. Time to move on. Gotta go in a new direction. Got to do something I’ve not done before.”
The Freep reports that Tyree Guyton, artist and developer of The Heidelberg Project in Detroit, will be taking his project down, piece by piece as the organization works toward “Heidelberg 3.0”:
A confluence of factors have pushed Guyton to change course: an increasing awareness of his own mortality as he reached 60, the toll that the fires have taken on his psyche, the increasing number of project commissions that are pouring in from across the country and across the globe and the Sisyphean burden of keeping the Heidelberg Project going for literally half his life.
…By next summer, visitors to the two-block stretch of Heidelberg Street — where Guyton started his project in 1986 as a response to the rampant blight in the neighborhood of his youth — will notice familiar sights slowly disappearing. In two years, all of the magically transformed found objects that crowd the empty lots between houses are expected to be gone: broken dolls, shopping carts, TVs, shoes, telephones, a Noah’s ark of stuffed animals piled high as an elephant’s eye, the debris splashed with optimism and painted polka dots and dozens of Guyton’s paintings of clocks and primitive portraits.
Guyton’s plan to disassemble the Heidelberg Project marks a dramatic turning point in the history of a seminal public art adventure that for many has come to represent the soul of contemporary Detroit.
Read on for more including a brief video interview with Guyton and visit heidelberg.org for more information and photos from 3 decades of the Heidelberg Project.
View Mike’s photo background big, see more in his Heidelberg Project slideshow, and click for 300+ more photos of the Heidelberg Project in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr!
More Michigan art on Michigan in Pictures.
Emergency Ark, photo by Michael
The Celestial Ship of the North (Emergency Ark), aka the Barnboat, is a site-specific installation and permanent sculpture in Port Austin, Michigan created by Scott Hocking. He wrote to me:
I was asked by Detroiter Jim Boyle, whose family is still in Port Austin, if I’d ever had any ideas of working with old barns. He’s been trying to get a Detroit / Port Austin connection going by bringing artists up there to do projects. I basically told him I’d had some fleeting thoughts about how much certain barns look like overturned ship hulls, and that if I had an old barn to work with, I’d probably turn it into a boat.
So, that was the beginning.
Like all of my work, I try to let the materials and site dictate what I make, and as I worked on the barnboat the shape became what it is now – mostly influenced by the intense winds of Michigan’s thumb. It took about 3 months total, but I’m not quite done yet: I’m still planning to fill in the base with mounded sand this spring for a little extra stability, and so that it can once again overgrow like that ivy covered barn it was made from.
Awesome. Check out lots more of Scott’s engaging work on his website.
Enjoy Michael’s photo background bigtacular on Flickr and see more in his slideshow.
More art and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.
Hygienic Dress League, photo by Jeff Caverly
You can follow the Detroit-based Hygienic Dress League on Instagram for more interesting public art and see a video about their artwork on Vimeo.
View Jeff’s photo from Huron County background big, see more in his slideshow, and also visit his photography website.
More art and more barns on Michigan in Pictures.
Rain Comes (Frankfort Rock Gallery), photo by Andrew McFarlane
As you may know, 2016 is my 11th year of making Michigan in Pictures. I really love doing it and am certainly going to keep it up as long as I am able. It does take a bunch of my time that might otherwise be spent working or getting out to see some of Michigan’s beauty, so I’ve been looking for a way to subsidize it that doesn’t involve ads, paywalls, or other annoyances.
Yesterday, I was reading a blog and saw they had a button to support them using a web service called Patreon. I checked it out, and it basically allows readers to become patrons of blogs they enjoy. Seemed like a great idea to me so I have set it up. If you’d like to donate a buck or more a month, I would very much appreciate it! Click here for my Patreon donations.
OK, on to today’s photo. Back in August of 2007, I was out walking with my friend Ken Lake on Frankfort beach. About a mile north of town we rounded a point and came upon a wondrous site – hundreds of balanced rock sculptures comprised of thousands of rocks. It remains one of the coolest works of art I’ve ever seen, and also a total mystery. I’ve still never heard who built these or why.
You can view this photo background bigtacular and see more in my Rock Gallery slideshow.
PS: Here’s a video I shot of these scene. The audio on this is kind of loud and crappy – sorry. ;)