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Artist Salon: in conversation with John Dunivant

John Dunivant Theatre Bizarre at Lodge Gallery NYC

Saturday Oct. 5th, 2pm

Republic Worldwide and Wasserman Projects present:
John Dunivant; In Conversation at The Lodge Gallery

John Dunivant Theatre Bizarre at Lodge Gallery NYC

Dunivant, an artist, visionary and founder of Detroit’s “Theatre Bizarre,” discusses his current exhibition, “The Expatriate Parade,” and the nationally renown immersive theatre he has created over the last decade. The paintings on view at The Lodge Gallery explore the world of “Theatre Bizarre” by depicting its inhabitants celebrating and embracing a dark and glorious march toward the unknown. Dunivant is a Kresge Fellow and was recently named as recipient of a Knight Foundation award.

Since the turn of the century, Theatre Bizarre has been rollicking in the darkness. First, by creating a phantasmagorical (and entirely illegal) theme park in the shadows of one of Detroit’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Providing an event worthy of its legendary status, built by an army of volunteers, it emerged for only one indescribable night a year. Each year it grew in scope and in detail, The New York Times exclaimed Over-The-Top! and Bizarre Magazine (UK) called it One of the greatest Halloween parties in the world! Until the city was forced to shut it down in 2010. Not to be dissuaded, Theatre Bizarre birthed a new world and revealed a new path in 2011. Lifting a veil on their own carnivalesque secret society and inviting the revelers to join them on a journey once more.

Theatre Bizarre now operates legally at the Detroit Masonic Temple where it will hold its 13th edition on October 19, 2013 and and is the subject of an upcoming documentary. Macabre in their imagery and sitting across numerous pop cultural narratives, the joy Dunivant takes from the subject matter in The Expatriate Parade is evident, and fitting for an artist working far from the art world capitals in Detroit, facing its own existential crisis, with the attendant anxiety of loss, displacement, and fantasy of an unknown, perhaps better, future.