Sounds Heard, Sights Seen

March 31, 2019

I listen very carefully.  Sounds are everywhere.  Sometimes I can’t quite believe just what I’m hearing.  The leaves in the trees rustle in the wind.  The sound of human voices, sweet and lovely or in harsh cacophony.  Then there’s music, so many different sorts of music.

I also look very carefully.  Things are not what they seem.  I try to observe the wide picture and too, zoom in and observe the details.  Form, color, weight and shape are all important.  I have the eyes and ears of an artist and a poet.

A Look at the Visual Arts Scene in Detroit

February 28, 2019
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At the MOCAD, October 2018.

Part Two of Two

I don’t get to as many art openings as I used to.  I’m very busy and I’m still working a full time job.  I ride the bus to work so that adds on another 12 to 16 hours a week travel time.  Detroit one of the very worst mass transit systems in the country.  If I do find a ride and hope to attend an art opening, it usually doesn’t work.  This is because much of “central Detroit” is often parked out.  One can’t always be ready to walk 5 to 10 blocks to your destination, especially in a harsh Winter.

I’ve lost touch with most of the downtown area galleries.  The main ones that I’ve made it to are the Trinosophes, Swords into Plowshares Collected Detroit, Signal Return and Salt and Cedar.  There are a few others that I went to, but I believe that they’ve closed.  There are also others that I’ve wanted to get to but haven’t attended as yet.  I’ll try to write a follow-up to these two posts once i get out to a few more places.

The cultural center neighborhood is where I live.  I’ve been to most or all of the art spaces there.

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Sculpture at Wayne State’s Elaine K.  Jacob Gallery, October 2017.

Gone but not forgotten: the Willis Gallery, the Zeitgeist Gallery and Performance Venue, the Cement Space, C-Pop, The Marygrove Art Department Gallery,  the Russell Industrial Center, Greg’s Gallery down the stairs on Cass and many more.

Closed, but they very well may return:  the Ellen Kayrod Gallery, Alley Culture, the 4731 Gallery (on Grand River), the Spiral Collective and Detroit Contemporary.

One of the ceiling wood-beam paintings at the Scarab Club.

Downtown Detroit area

Signal Return:

Library Street Collective:

Swords into Plowshares:

Detroit Cultural Center area:

The Scarab Club:

Detroit Artist’s Market:

The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Ar:

Galerie Camille

Good art spaces, but without a website:

My essay, from 2014:

What’s Going on With the Visual Arts Scene in Detroit?

January 31, 2019

The Annex Gallery at 333 Midland, in Highland Park.  April 2017.

Part One of Two

I’ve been showing my work at Detroit Galleries since 1980.  That’s nearly 40 years that I’ve spent “in the trenches” so to speak.  For those of us who lived through the rough times and kept on swinging and kept on getting hits, it’s nice to see things picking up.

Yet some of those who’ve persevered have been left out of this new Detroit art scene.  I’m not doing all that bad myself.  I usually end up showing my work once a year at least.  Yet I can think of a lot of artists who’ve been working for years, doing good work, but who seem to be lost in the shuffle.

I’ve done a special study into Detroit’s arts scene, both during my time and before my time.  Connected with that, I have a History of Detroit’s Visual Arts Scene facebook page and have written several blog posts.  I also did a physical exhibition at the University of Detroit Mercy in the Summer of 2014.

Also, I’ve long been a sort of booster or cheerleader for the idea of a vigorous, magical and lively Detroit art scene.  We’ve always been interesting.  Many dedicated artists truly try to help their fellows.  They network, offer encouragement or help run galleries.  Some of us are not just boosting our own work or a few of our friend’s work.  We keep trying to spark or ignite a larger scene.  We want places like Chicago and New York to be aware that there’s something special going on in Detroit.  Now that this seems so close at hand, I’d hate to see us blow it.

I’m all for looking for good artists wherever I can find them.  I want to see strong images.  I love work that moves me, puzzles me, delights me or make me think.  I believe that we need to have a sense of the totality: the young people coming up, maybe going to art school and then too, the long timers, the grizzled veterans.  Yes we need to pay attention the younger and the older and everyone in between.  Art is everywhere.

The Kresge Foundation and the Essay’d project both play an important part in recognizing and rewarding artists.  The Kresge goes beyond the visual arts into literature, poetry, performance art, dance, music and various forms of community support.

Essay’d features a series of essays profiling a wide variety of Detroit area visual artists.  I was profiled there a year ago and am currently part of an exhibit sponsored by Essay’d and the Detroit Orchestra Hall.  It’s at the Orchestra Hall, from January through April.  Three books of these essays have been published, with a fourth expected next year.

Many great spaces have come and have gone.  One place that I’m concerned about now is the Ellen Kayrod Gallery.  It’s been a major venue for showing work by artists who are over 65 years old.  They feature both well-known and lesser-known Detroit artists.  These included seniors who started to make art late in their lives.  Sometimes younger artists were included in intergenerational exhibits.  Currently, they’re closed for renovations.  Hopefully they’ll get back to their good work soon.  No one else is doing anything similar.

I’ve been researching the art spaces which are currently in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.  Besides galleries, art is on display at cafes, restaurants, hospitals and libraries.  There are many public sculptures and murals out on the streets.  Next month, I’ll compile a list and do some sort of preliminary report.  I’ll explore a number of venues, both the ones I’ve been to and the ones I haven’t been to.

The Kresge Foundation:

The Essay’d project:

Art Detroit Now:

The Ellen Kayrod Gallery:

Some of my related blog posts:

December 31, 2018

December 31, 2018

It’s been another strange sad year.  Some survive and others are lost.  The times seem to be increasingly stupid, mean, hateful and toxic.  There are those who are trying to do everything in their power to murder the earth itself, or at least the human, animal and plant life upon it.  Money and making money has its place, I suppose.  Yet money can become a demonic deity.  Its connected rituals of worship often devour or damage wisdom and clarity.

Stakes are high!   We artists are usually very aware, even hyper-aware or hyper-sensitive.  I feel like the old canary in the coal mine (over and over, again and again).  We try to make the best art that we can.  We try to connect with and support our fellow artists.  I’m more discouraged and disillusioned than usual.  Even if we could have a true and explosive artistic/ cultural renaissance all over the world, it might not be enough anymore.  It couldn’t hurt though.

We need to laugh and laugh hard,  We need to laugh at the proper targets and subjects, then get other people to laugh at them as well. Ha! Ha! Ha!  What kind of revolution will we have?  What manner of protest will break through the walls of distraction, apathy and confusion??



PS I’ve reached ten years of blogging this month.  I first started in December 2008.  I now have three regular blogs, that being I try to add at least one post a month.  My cinema blog and my music blog are only added to occasionally or “now and then.”  That could change though.  Onward!

It’s Not Early yet It’s Not Too Late

November 29, 2018

Time itself sometimes behaves like some strange sort of animal, part lamb and part shark.  We get better as we age, yet sometimes we also erode or start to disintegrate.  If we’re paying attention, the older we get, the more that we know.  This is true both in knowledge and in wisdom.  The smart aleck can sometimes be extremely intelligent.

Some people live in quiet times.  The days are calm and bright and they even glisten.  Every morning is touched with dew.  The quieter birds sings their lovely songs.    This helps to awake the humans more gently.  The days go by like stardust, like candy, like a first kiss that never fades.  The nights fall like a great cloak, so warming and calming.  Such lovely nights usually spark beautiful and intense dreams.

As for us, alas, we seem to be swept into ugly times.  These are noisy times.  Greed, cruelty and stupidity seem to think that they’re doing things the “right way” and that they have all the power.  They believe that anything that you can do to win and to stay in control is fair and just.  The rest of us search for ways to bring them down, to give them a proper kick in their pants.  This isn’t easy by any means.  It may be difficult, yet we must make the attempt.  We must succeed.



Changing Minds

October 30, 2018

Many people are stubborn and set in their ways.  Others are totally brainwashed by such channels as television and the internet.   We  need to find ways to wake people up, to make them see.

If they’ve already “drank the kool-aid” maybe we can find an antidote for it.  The powers of persuasion are at a premium.  Strategy!  Lucidity!

Vote, Protest, Make Art, Protest


September 29, 2018

Mock-up (from August 10, 2005 at 8 and a half by eleven inches)

Those who assault Mother Nature do so at their own peril.

Artists know that extremes (as regards melting ice) lead to nothing but trouble and woe.  If you try to arm wrestle with the elements, you’ll lose in the end.  The Earth itself was never conceived of as a mere money-making machine for the humans.  It’s our home and our source of water and air.

Artists love the forests, the mountains, the plants and animals.

Those who think that it’s impossible to destroy the world are dead wrong.  Earth, wind, lakes, rivers and oceans are strong and solid yet they have their fragile side.   When the bull in the china shop seizes power, he needs to be diluted or subdued.   Wake up and smell the morning fog.  Breathe deep in the cool moonlit and starlit air.

Draw and Paint with All Your Might!

August 31, 2018

The world needs art more than ever!  Things are going so wrong and creative work can be a wake-up call or even a slap in the face!

It’s easier to respond to destructive, ruinous and hateful elements with essays, short stories, theatre and poetry.   It’s easier to respond directly in music with songs.  A solid lyric can move and inspire people.  An obvious polemic rarely does much good.   You may be angry but sometimes it’s more important to reach people than it is to vent your anger in public.

In dance, instrumental music and in the visual arts, things can get tricky.   You need to strategize as well as improvise.  What to do?

First, create truly quality work.  Do something solid, at least to the best of your abilities.  There’s plenty of mediocre and run-of the mill work out there.  Strive to be better than that.  Aim at amazing people and making their jaws drop.  Know your limitations and transcend them.  You won’t hit it out of the park every time.   No one always gets an A.  Yet we need to keep on keeping on.  Fight the good fight.

Put pen and pencil to paper.  Paint for all you’re worth.  Create!  You can do it: on your mark, get set, go!

My Chalk Drawings on the Hudson’s Building in Detroit

July 31, 2018

In the 1990’s, I painted two murals on the J.L. Hudson’s Building in downtown Detroit.  When they were painted over with black paint, I started to draw on the building with various colors of chalk.  For nearly two years, I treated the building as my public art studio.


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The StoryCorps mobile recording booth.

I early July, 2017, my friend Jennifer Gariepy and I went into the StoryCorps booth to talk about my 1990’s street art work on the Hudson’s Building.  We had a good conversation for around 45 minutes.  They recorded that.  I have a copy as a digital file and have heard it several times.

We didn’t really prepare.  I’m good at just telling stories and having them flow and to make sense.  I try to be spontaneous but still connect things and to be lucid.


Jennifer Gariepy and Maurice Greenia, Jr. 2017.  Photo by StoryCorps.

I wrote about drawing on the Hudson’s building before.  I also once did a radio essay about it for WDET.  I’m trying to locate this.  I do have it on audio cassette, but I need to find it before I can transfer it onto a CD.

My 2011 blog post about the Hudson’s work:

Maurice at work

Here I am, posing with my work, circa 1997.

The radio edit of the story:

The podcast version of the story:


Biegas Flyer (at 5 & a half by 4 & a half inches from December 1997)

May to July 2008: Maugre at MOCAD in Detroit

June 30, 2018


“Echoes of the Jungle” my first large painting, borrowed back for this exhibit.


“Echoes of the Jungle” detail.

Part Three of Three Parts.

From May through July in 2008, I frequently went to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.  I lived in the area and could even walk there from my house.  It was nearly an hour walk but I’d walk it.  Sometimes I’d get there on the bus and walk home.  It was fun to talk about my work with any visitors who’d appear.  I knew that this was a unique experience.  It was yet another personal autonomous zone, a sort of temporary/ provisional utopia.

Considering Detroit was MOCAD’s first real large-scale look at local work.  It was mostly from Detroit proper with some of it being extended to the Detroit area. I’d enjoy looking at the other artist’s work while I was there.  I got to know the entire exhibition.  Including myself, there were five artists.  There was also a section in tribute to a local poet and a section centered around a cultural collective. *

MOCAD late July 2008 etc. 130b

An early wood sculpture and a metal wire sculpture.

Besides just hanging out there, I also got to do a few special performances.  I did a puppet show.  The Spaceband got to do a show there as well.

The puppet show played to maybe thirty or forty people, including some children.  It was funny as usual.  It was also a lot of work. **

The Spaceband were camped out in a makeshift Pup Tent.  We emerged to play a wild concert, including a light show.  I think it was a 6 or 7 piece band.

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The Spaceband performing at MOCAD

It was a lot of fun, having this large exhibit and getting my work out there for people to see.  It was a lot of work too but I threw myself into it. 

* Besides myself, the show included the late poet Jim Gustafson, the artist’s collective TIME STEREO, longtime Detroit painters Allie McGhee and Gordon Newton, then too artists Ellen Cantor and Heather McGill.

**These 26 photos include shots of my MOCAD puppet show:



I’d punch the time-clock, in and out, when I visited.