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Detroit's 10 newest art galleries

There are plenty of new art galleries in Detroit.
There are plenty of new art galleries in Detroit.
Alonso del Arte

The trend of new galleries opening in Detroit continues. Some are transplants from the suburbs, and one is sort of a satellite of a gallery in Ann Arbor, but before dismissing them from the list of new galleries in Detroit, one must hear what Matt Eaton, part owner of Library Street Collective, said about Inner State Gallery, formerly 323 East in Royal Oak: "New name, new form, new function."

Some slightly older galleries include the Red Bull House of Art, the Kunsthalle Detroit, Library Street Collective and Start Gallery. The question mark on Passenger Detroit's has now been removed: with the temporary space of 2012, there was wild speculation as to when or if it would have a permanent space, and whether such a space would even be in Detroit. The permanent space is in fact in Detroit, specifically downtown, near where the temporary space was. The fate of Studio Couture, also in downtown Detroit, however, remains in the dark.

Lawrence Grace on Woodward Avenue is on hold indefinitely. The fact that the website, which used to have a call for art and a complete schedule of exhibitions for 2014, is now held by a domain name squatter, suggests there will be no gallery. But on the other hand, the physical space is still being used as a studio.

Bumped off the list and now at #11, we have Corktown Studios, another new gallery with a strong Red Bull connection: both Lisa Poszywak and Paula Zammit have been in the Red Bull House of Art. Given the neighborhood it's located in, it's no wonder the gallery has been open during the past two St. Patrick's Day parades.

It is to be expected that this article will be out of date in a matter of weeks. But the possibility exists that a gallery that opened recently enough to be listed in this article has been skipped over, and also that the chronology of these galleries might be incorrect. If that is the case, please post a comment so that such an oversight may be corrected.

Though it's not a gallery, the Hellenic Museum of Michigan, opened in April 2013, should also be mentioned.

Passenger Detroit
Passenger Detroit Alonso del Arte

Passenger Detroit

For the inaugural exhibit in the permanent space at State and Shelby, the gallery rounded up top-notch artists like Austin Brady and Prof. Gilda Snowden from the College for Creative Studies. Unfortunately, the evening was marred by an unnecessary DJ playing music at an obnoxiously loud level.

The gallery's website currently lists two events coming up, one on September 25, the other on October 9.

Riopelle Collective
Riopelle Collective Alonso del Arte

Riopelle Collective

Three of Detroit's ten newest art galleries are in the same city block (the 1400 block of Gratiot Avenue), and Riopelle Collective is the newest. The collective of artists includes Red Bull House of Art alum Ellen Rutt. The other artists in the collective are Matthew Jenkins, Jessica Krcmarik, Lyz Luidens and James Reich. "Riopelle is a bit different from other studio collectives because we have such a great variety of equipment and creative talents," explained Lyz Luidens in a press release posted on the gallery's website. "Everybody does something different, but we have a lot of specialized skills that combine well with each other and I’m excited for the collaborations that will come out of this."

Motor City Art Center

Perhaps the most unassuming of the new galleries is the Motor City Art Center, close to Detroit Artists Market and Wayne State University, exhibits artists like Slaw and Tony Miello.

Gallery Project

It could be argued that Gallery Project, literally across the street from the Red Bull House of Art, is just a "branch" of the Ann Arbor Art Center, but that argument does not mesh well with the fact that the first show at Gallery Project, Drones, ran in Detroit in October and November of last year before going to Ann Arbor in January of this year, while August's show, Unseen, was also here last month and goes to Ann Arbor next week. The gallery's website has not yet been updated with the next show after Unseen; it is to be hoped that there will be more shows with greater frequency in 2015.

Galerie Camille/Detroit MONA

Jef Bourgeau and Galerie Camille have teamed up to bring the Museum of New Art (MONA) into the city, close to Re:View Contemporary and kind of across the street from where the Butcher's Daughter used to be at. The next event, for which Borgeau has brought Gao Qiang and Gao Zhen to America, is a fundraiser for the gallery slated for September 12, according to a Facebook event page.

The Butcher's Daughter
The Butcher's Daughter Alonso del Arte

The Butcher's Daughter

Although the gallery kept the same name in the move from Ferndale to Detroit, and more importantly, a lot of the artists, the Detroit space was very different and the context gave it a very different ambiance. Robert Platt, for example, was able to include in the new location's inaugural show a big installation, titled Eidolon, and still have room for people to walk around it.

However, gallery owner Monica Bowman has decided to move the gallery to New York, where most of her artists and clients are at. Some have argued that the gallery's departure should be grounds for removing it from the list of the ten newest, and in any case there are plenty of only slightly older galleries that can be moved up to its spot on the list. But it can also be argued that it will regardless be the eleventh newest gallery quite soon enough.

Live Coal Gallery
Live Coal Gallery Alonso del Arte

Live Coal Gallery

Of the new galleries, Live Coal probably has the most confusing hours: Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gallery has live music and food pop-ups on some days.

Inner State Gallery
Inner State Gallery Alonso del Arte

Inner State Gallery

Jesse Cory and Dan Armand moved 323 East from Royal Oak to Detroit, going from a narrow hallway (like Library Street Collective) to a more spacious area. Once they were settled in their new Gratiot Avenue location, Cory and Armand were putting on shows at a frenetic pace, almost one a week, as if to make up for lost time (the last show at 323 opened on December 21, 2012). Shows now will be approximately one a month. Artists who've exhibited at Inner State include Ron Zarkin, Glenn Barr, Nychos the Weird, Jeremy Deputat and Vandal Bask.


Just a skip and a hop away from Inner State Gallery we have Trinosophes, a very spacious gallery that also has a coffee shop, restaurant and concert stage. Jesse Cory loves Trinosophes and goes there almost every morning for coffee. Exhibitions at Trinosophes so far have included a collaboration with What Pipeline to show the work of Mary Ann Aitken.

A Knight Arts Challenge Detroit 2013 finalist, Trinosophes hope "to shine a spotlight on Detroit’s contributions to soul, R&B and jazz by transforming a Gratiot Avenue storefront into a small music museum with a community-run radio station."

What Pipeline

A little bit north of Whitdel Arts there is an aggressively avant-garde gallery which Weekend Update's Stefon (Bill Hader) would call "What the Pipeline!!???" The focus of the gallery is on international artists, a focus that was declared with their premiere exhibit of an artist from Germany (Lucie Stahl) and a British artist (Tom Humphreys).

For their second exhibit, in collaboration with Trinosophes, What Pipeline showed the work of New York artist Mary Ann Aitken. Jesse Cory finds the gallery's interest in international artists refreshing: "In Detroit a lot of people think you should only show Detroit artists … but it's also [important] … to bring international artists here."

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