Romare Bearden, Untitled (Jazz Players), (1970s), detail. Courtesy of N’Namdi Collection of African American Art

Stamps Gallery’s Call & Response exhibition explores the relations between music, art, and media in shaping the  understanding of American history and contemporary culture — and celebrates the struggles and victories of the Civil Rights Movement in post-industrial Detroit.

The refurbished Blue Bird Inn Stage, presented in partnership with the Detroit Sound Conservancy, is at the heart of the exhibition and is an iconic example of African American mid-century vernacular art and design. The stage was located in the now-closed Blue Bird Inn, a Detroit jazz club that thrived from the 1930s to the early 2000s. The venue was a premier stop for renowned musicians such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane and brought together a vibrant intellectual community that inspired generations of the city’s artists. The stage will be programmed with live concerts, organized by the legendary Detroit jazz bassist Marion Hayden.

The stage continues to catalyze and connect in Call & Response as it becomes the touchstone for a larger group exhibition of visual art by Romare Bearden, Chakaia Booker, Tony Cokes, Saffell Gardner, Allie McGhee, and Tylonn Sawyer. Call & Response transforms the Stamps Gallery into a place where performing and visual arts intertwine, paying homage to the legends of the past and inviting new imaginings for the future.

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