lecturesHAA : Event 2. When Jim Griffioen began his August 18th lecture at the Johanson Charles Gallery, every folding chair was filled, additional people stood along the perimeter, and a few kids were heard playfully giggling amongst the adult masses. All were there to witness Sweet Juniper’s first official lecture. Jim’s heavily frequented blog, www.sweet-juniper.com, often ruminates on a multitude of themes that compose his intimate Detroit experience. The lecture promised to be a larger, more congruent narrative that tied his sometimes disparate topics together.
Sweet Juniper! A cacophony of revolutionary images flashed upon the screen: Michigan Theatre Parking Garage, Greenfield Village, Joseph Gandy’s “Bank of England in Ruin”, Detroit ruins, men in yellow sports jackets and seer sucker shorts, Michigan Central Depot, Conan the Barbarian, Detroit ruins, another classical painting “Syria by the Sea”, Roman Ruins, English landscape gardens, Detroit ruins, open fields surrounding a solitary house, and finally more Detroit ruins. His Detroit photographs are stoic, beautiful, and common. Jim is the first to admit that hundreds of CCS art students, musicians, architects, designers have been taking these same images for decades. Abandoned houses left to grow feral. Iconic landmarks ravaged by looters. Schools shuttered and forgotten. Books mounded on a pvc tile floor with a single tree growing amongst the detritus. These images rarely contain humans – an occasional stray dog or errant pheasant – but hardly a human. It is this void, the lack of human life, which results in a blank narrative, an image in need of a story. Continue reading