Exhibition Description


Michael Luchs, 1938-2021
Special Presentation
August 7 – August 28, 2021

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We are dedicating the month of August to celebrate the life and work of Detroit Cass Corridor artist Michael Luchs with a special presentation of paintings and drawings from several different bodies of work by the artist throughout the years, and recent works from 2019-2021 never shown before. All works can be seen in-person at the gallery.

A memorial for the artist will take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) on Saturday, August 28, with remarks at 3 pm. A few works by the artist will be on view at the Central Gallery of the museum during the event.

Michael Luchs constructs his artworks as accumulations, surfaces that accrete in layers of banal substance, coalescing into highly charged images that radiate deeply personal experience and insight. These works are additive, one thing laid over another; even an erasure or other act of obliteration is another kind of layer, never complete in its cancellation. In this chain reaction of materiality, Luchs’ materials are not precious—spray paint, enamel, duct tape, staples, paper, and scraps of whatever is handy, the stuff more likely to be found in a hardware store than an art supply store. His Untitled (Silver Rabbit), 1994, for example, consists of metallic enamels, spray paint, and acrylic on a sheet of irregular, dark gray vinyl. But materials need procedures, and Luchs applies material with an aggressive certainty—the surface of Silver Rabbit is spattered, scraped, smeared, smudged in ways that range from lyrical to violent. Ultimately every material reveals its vulnerability; no substance is quite capable of obliterating the others or entirely dominating the work. The rivalry of materials in Luchs’ works is a major source of their energy. Abrupt shifts of texture, depth, and scale shimmer and twist in a productive friction. Excerpt from the essay “Michael Luchs: Substance and Signs” written for the catolog “Cass Corridor: Connecting Times” which accompanied the exhibition of same name at Simone DeSousa Gallery, Detroit, April-August 2017.

The catalog is available for purchase online.



Michael Luchs (b. 1938, Portsmouth, OH, USA; d. 2021, Holly, MI) was among the celebrated Detroit Cass Corridor artists in the 1960s and 1970s. Luchs graduated from Olivet College (Olivet, Michigan) in 1961, and attended the University of Michigan in 1964 before moving to Detroit, where he studied at Wayne State University (1966-68). His work is part of several collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University James Duffy Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), and the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, as well as several private collections throughout the United States. In the Spring of 2017, Michael Luchs’ work was featured in a solo exhibition at Simone DeSousa Gallery, Detroit, titled Cass Corridor: Connecting Times. At the same time, he was part of the 2017 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, in New York, where he was the recipient of the Academy’s 2017 Art and Purchase Award. In the Spring of 2018, Michael Luchs’ work was presented in a solo exhibition titled Fictitious Character at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). In 2019, his work was part of the exhibition Landlord Colors: On Art, Economy, and Materiality, at the Cranbrook Art Museum. Luchs’ work was also included in the group exhibition Another Look at Detroit, curated by Todd Levin at Marlborough Chelsea, New York, in 2014.

Image: Michael Luchs at his studio in Lewiston, MI, in 2016. Photo courtesy Kathryn Brackett Luchs.