Photographs are back … with a relevance that freezes the universal in the particular and a brilliance that should make the rest of the art scene red, blue and green with envy. In Windsor and Ann Arbor, downtown Detroit and the Cultural Center, art spaces are engaging with photography’s uncanny record of history and the eternal present, its dramatic testament to communal dynamics and personal obsession. Four shows as hot as the weather report invite you to chill out among the visions.
Top: “Hands in Cape Cod,” from In Human Touch: Photographs by Ernestine Ruben — just one of this artist’s wide-ranging explorations in form — is at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (525 S. State Street, Ann Arbor — 734-764-0395) through Sept. 23.
Second from top: “Mrs. Tell’s Daughters” by Herbert Collins, a lovely early portrait among the 320 photographs of Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography, the monumental historical survey from 1842 to the present at the Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward, Detroit — 313-833-7900) through Sept. 2.
Second from bottom: Adger W. Cowans’ portrait of jazz drummer Max Roach is one of the intimate pleasures of Call and Response, a show featuring 16 contemporary African-American photographers (works by most can also be seen in the DIA-Smithsonian exhibition). Cowans and company are at Dell Pryor Galleries (around the corner from the MT, 639 Beaubien, Detroit — 313-963-5977) through September.
Bottom: Windsor artist Julie Sando’s show, Separate Spheres, focuses on women’s identity in domestic contexts (such as the meditative interior, “House and Home,” pictured). The ironies of her work contrast with those of another photo-based artist, Stephen Andrews (and his show Likeness), at the Art Gallery of Windsor (401 Riverside Dr. W., Windsor — 519-977-0013) through Sept. 9 (Andrews until Sept. 16).George Tysh is the Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org