This season, Cranbrook Art Museum shines a light on Detroit-based Black Trans:Postgender artist, Bakpak Durden, whose emerged as an established artistic figure. The preview party for Cranbrook’s new season of exhibits will be held Friday November 4 at Cranbrook Art Museum from 6-9pm.
Durden is a self-taught artist born and raised in Detroit. Durden’s hyperrealistic work draws upon diverse inspirations, including dramatic cinema and Dutch Baroque painting. In addition to their studio practice, Durden is known for their large-scale murals throughout Detroit. In collaboration with the organization, Durden created a permanent mural for the new Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center in Detroit.
Bakpak Durden: The Eye of Horus is Durden’s first solo museum exhibition and the inaugural show of the Cranbrook Art Museum’s Fresh Paint series, which highlights new work from Detroit-based artists. The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol and concept thought to have healing and protective powers. In addition to its appearance in ceremonial rituals and mythology, the icon was also used in ancient mathematical and neurological contexts.
For this exhibition, Durden explores the physiological and psychological functions relating to vision and the mind. Their new installation of paintings and sculpture poetically dissect the physical processes of vision, therein presenting the anatomical magic that goes into shaping emotion and identity. Surrounding the installation are selections of Durden’s paintings that primarily feature the artist in moments of reverie and introspection in their daily life.
As part of this project, Cranbrook Art Museum has partnered with the Ruth Ellis Center, a non-profit that creates a supportive community and provides trauma-informed services for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults of color.
Durden’s exhibit will open to the public on Saturday, November 5 and will run through March 19, 2023.