Detroit’s latest art gallery does not have regular opening hours. It doesn’t have the typical white walls. There’s also barely any art in it either.
But techno fans visiting Detroit for the Movement Festival might be interested in checking out the new 1364 gallery once it officially opens on Thursday. The project is the brainchild of Detroit techno icon Carl Craig and art curator Elysia Borowy.
The exhibition space is located in a modernist steel and glass townhouse at 1364 Joliet Pl. in Detroit’s idyllic Lafayette Park community. The neighborhood was designed by Chicago-via-Berlin architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the 1950s on the site of the former Black background neighborhood as an urban renewal project.
Although walk-ins are available, the gallery is primarily accessible only by looking through the townhouse windows. Its inaugural exhibition features just two artists, each represented by one work: a black-and-white image of musician Prince by Detroit rock ‘n’ roll photographer Leni Sinclair and a multimedia work by Chicago artist Cameron Spratley. This is Spatley’s first performance in Detroit.
“I would definitely say this is a cutting-edge experiment in visual culture,” Borowy said. Metro timetables. “The one thing that Carl and I have talked about a lot is that this is a real collaboration between us.”
Borowy says she didn’t want to be the gallery’s spokesperson, preferring that the art speak for itself. Nevertheless, she granted Metro timetables an interview explaining the project, which Borowy says was inspired in part by Maurizio Cattelan’s Wrong Gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood.
“It was basically just a window,” she says. “And the door was still locked. There was artwork in the vestibule, and it would get some criticism. People were talking about it in this really cheeky way, because they were always saying, ‘It was a great show, but it was in the wrong gallery.’
Gallery 1364 is about as minimal as it gets. To prepare, Borowy and Craig installed track lighting and painted the walls of the townhouse black, “a nod to [Craig’s] experience in dance clubs,” says Borowy. “Everyone paints their place white. …so we painted it black, as if you were stepping into a void.
Borowy says she and Craig met in 2021 while working together on the Bottega Veneta fashion show in Detroit. They also both live in the Lafayette Park neighborhood.
Borowy admits she may also have been inspired by the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead, the art gallery built as a replica of the late artist’s childhood home that is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art campus. Detroit, where she served as executive director until employees demanded it. ousting, citing an allegedly toxic workplace.
Borowy did not want to talk about MOCAD.
The concepts of privacy and being public figures are important to her and Craig, she said.
“We became public figures,” she says of their careers, adding, “I don’t know when I became a public figure. But now that I am, I really protect my personal life.
It may be counterintuitive for someone to want to maintain their privacy while inviting strangers to peek into their home. When we suggest whether the idea of putting a gallery in his neighborhood was more of a utilitarian choice than a conceptual choice, Borowy disagrees. Lafayette Park is known for being open, she said.
“Mies van der Rohe’s row houses are better known as ‘glass houses’,” she says. “And when you start looking around in the community, you can really see that they’re set up in a voyeuristic way, and that point of engagement comes through the glass.”
She adds: “It’s very, very open, and so I took a lot of inspiration from that. And if you study how people live in the community, they install their furniture and design [their spaces] almost as if to be seen.
Borowy says she also recently had a home studio built and started working in ceramics again, which she studied at university. “Oh my god, that’s amazing,” she said. “I mean, I fell in love with clay. I love it.”
She says she hasn’t had much time to work in the field during her professional career in museum administration.
“I think everyone knows that I gave my life to my work,” she says.
Gallery 1364 will have more exhibitions, but probably every three months or so, Borowy says. She says she hopes the project, which a friend described as “quirky,” can stand out as an off-the-beaten-path artistic experience in Detroit.
“We already have all these great galleries,” she says. “Detroit is what I call an ‘opaque city’. Like, this is for those in the know, and it’s definitely part of it. This only adds to its mystique as an international city.
More information is available on Instagram, @1364_art_detroit.