Interdisciplinary artist presents newly commissioned sculptures at Detroit Institute of Arts
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Interdisciplinary artist presents newly commissioned sculptures at Detroit Institute of Arts
I've Got Bundles and I Got Flewed Out (Green) by Tiff Massey, 2023.

DETROIT, MICH.- The Detroit Institute of Arts is presenting Tiff Massey: 7 Mile + Livernois, featuring new and recent works by interdisciplinary Detroit-based artist Tiff Massey. The artist’s creations reimagine art’s role in the community and offer a vibrant, inclusive view of Detroit, while exploring the relationships between identity, public space, and urban transformation.

Massey creates installations, jewelry, public art, and wearable sculptures inspired by adornment that shape a sense of identity and belonging. Trained as a metalsmith, Massey scales up her jewelry to the size of architecture, forming sculptures that can take up entire galleries, celebrating Detroit’s evolving neighborhoods and the history of West African and Black American culture and style.

The show’s title – 7 Mile + Livernois – refers to the crossroads at the heart of Detroit’s Black business and fashion district where Massey grew up. The site is also the center of a developing art and community space that blends her creative craft with her drive for community kinship and connection.

On view at the DIA for an full year – May 5, 2024, through May 11, 2025 – Tiff Massey: 7 Mile + Livernois marks Massey’s most ambitious museum installation to date. Spanning four galleries in the DIA’s contemporary wing, the exhibition includes new sculptures commissioned by the DIA alongside works from the museum’s permanent collection, offering a fresh perspective on artists who have long inspired Massey’s own practice. Massey’s work combines influences that range from traditional African art, minimalist sculpture, 1980s hip hop culture, and histories of architecture and design.

Two new sculptural works are being shown in conversation with pieces from the DIA’s permanent collection by Donald Judd and Louise Nevelson, demonstrating the continued relevance of the DIA’s collection for the artists, ideas, and issues of today. The show also includes earlier works by Massey that contextualize her practice, demonstrate her craftsmanship, and draw on her own history and personal experiences in Detroit.

“Tiff Massey’s work is a testament to the power of art to inspire, provoke, and ultimately, connect us to our shared humanity,” said DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons. “With a deep connection to her Detroit hometown, Tiff is a bold, passionate artistic voice who brings her community together through engaging and emotionally resonant works. We are proud to provide a platform to share and elevate her artistic statements to audiences from Detroit and beyond.”

“Paying homage to the neighborhood that raised me, 7 Mile and Livernois is where the essence of Detroit comes alive, where Black opulence and fashion aren't just words, but a living, breathing reality,” said Tiff Massey. “I’m honored to share this work with the world, as it’s a physical tapestry of memories woven from the threads of family, fashion, and undeniable spirit.”

7 Mile + Livernois is part of the DIA’s continuing commitment to presenting thought-provoking and vibrant contemporary works reflecting a broad range of perspectives and issues immediately relevant to Detroit audiences and communities.

Tiff Massey is an artist whose practice centers around adornment and community. Massey creates jewelry, sculpture, performance, video, music, and immersive environments with large-scale jewelry pieces and quilts. Massey was the first Black woman to earn an MFA in metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She draws on 1980s hip-hop culture and her experiences as a Detroit native to explore the concept of adornment in African diaspora and contemporary issues surrounding race, class, and popular culture. Her art has been featured in solo and group shows around the US and internationally and has garnered multiple awards. Massey’s work is in the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York and the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia. She is the winner of the 2021 United States Artists Fellowship and the 2019 Art Jewelry Forum Susan Beech Mid-Career Artist Grant, a two-time winner of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knights Arts Challenge, and a 2015 Kresge Artists Fellowship recipient.

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