virtual art exhibit at Turkel House in Detroit


One of the most unique homes in Detroit and the only one within the city limits designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Dorothy Turkel House opened its doors for a rare look inside as part of a virtual art exhibition, but you’d better get yourself move quickly before it closes Saturday.

LOCATION: Art and Architecture in Digital Space by Detroit’s Library Street Collective was created virtually to showcase contemporary art in some of Detroit’s most significant architectural buildings. The exhibition, which was held for the first time at Detroit’s historic State Savings Bank, aims to create a digital connection between the visual arts and the built environment.

“We wanted the second iteration (of SITE) to take place at the Dorothy G. Turkel House as this is the only example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture in Detroit and people outside of the city may not be aware of it,” said he Anthony Curis, co-founder of the Library Street Collective. “It’s also privately owned so it’s exciting to be making the house accessible so everyone can appreciate its beauty.”

Viewers have the opportunity to see a number of paintings and sculptures by a variety of artists, some of which have ties to Detroit, including Blair Thurman, Nick Cave, and Tony Matelli. Cave and Matelli both attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

The pictures in the virtual exhibition were taken by the famous Michigan photographer James Haefner.

Wright designed 31 homes in Michigan. Some can be viewed or even rented for the night, others such as the Turkel House are privately owned.

The 400-square-foot Turkel House on Seven Mile, named after Dorothy Turkel, the woman Wright hired to build a house, was built in 1956. An example of Wright’s Usonian style, it has more than 400 windows and 19 exterior doors. although Turkel Wright said in letters that she did not want small windows and very few outside doors.

“This is actually not what she imagined,” Norman Silk, who bought the house in 2006 with partner Dale Morgan, told The Detroit News in 2013.

One of the sculptures in the virtual SITE exhibition is Cave’s Soundsuit. The mixed-media piece 2012 contains sock monkeys, sweaters, pipe cleaners and a mannequin. Cave is known for his soundsuits, sculptural shapes based on the size of his body, which he created in response to the police beating Rodney King in 1991.

So far, the response to SITE has been overwhelmingly positive, said Curis. So far, more than 4,000 people have seen the exhibition.

“One of the unique things about the SITE platform is that it goes beyond each audience by incorporating elements of art, architecture, history and the city of Detroit,” said Curis.

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‘SITE002: Turkel House’

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  • Available until Saturday.

Dusty Kennedy