Cranbrook Art Museum Brings “In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth)” to Metro Detroit and Flint

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Public invited to record responses to the question "The Truth Is..." Recorded results of the project will be used to create a video installation at Cranbrook Art Museum in November.

On July 31, Cranbrook Art Museum will kick-off the local tour of the public artwork In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth). The Truth Booth is a portable, inflatable video recording studio in the shape of a giant speech bubble. A Cause Collective project by artists Ryan Alexiev, Jim Ricks, Will Sylvester and Hank Willis Thomas, its interior is equipped to compile video responses by hundreds of people from different cultural backgrounds as they complete the sentence: “The Truth Is…”

The tour will debut on the grounds of Cranbrook Art Museum on July 31 as part of a Family Day Celebration from 11am – 5pm, and then immediately travel to 11 locations throughout Metro Detroit, Dearborn and Flint over the course of two weeks. Visit our website at cranbrookartmuseum.org for a full location schedule. At each location, participants will have up to two minutes to record a statement starting with "The Truth Is..." The recorded results of this project will then be used to create an ambitious 60-foot-wide video installation that will open as part of an exhibition about the project at Cranbrook Art Museum in November of 2016.

Cause Collective is currently touring the booth around the country, with the hope of visiting all 50 states by Election Day. Their stop in Michigan is their longest and most in-depth stop on the tour. It will create conversations among residents who inhabit the same geographic region, and expand our collective understanding of how the city defines what is real, authentic, valuable or true.

“Cranbrook Art Museum is continuing to build connections with Detroit partners and audiences that started with last year’s Nick Cave performances,” says Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design at Cranbrook Art Museum, and Curator of this project. “What is brilliant about the pop-up The Truth Booth is that it allows the recording studio to go deep into our neighborhoods. By expanding the tour beyond metro Detroit to include the Flint area, we are giving individuals a rare opportunity to sincerely speak and be heard amongst the chaos of today’s political shouting matches. The truths presented in the exhibition will resonate not only during this historic election year, but will continue to be compelling 100 years from now.”

The project is funded in part through a $60,000 matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, through their Knight Arts Challenge Detroit initiative, which looks to fund ideas that engage and enrich Detroit through the arts.

“The truth is that few things bring people together like the arts, with the potential to foster a mutual understanding that connects us to our neighbors and neighborhoods,” said Victoria Rogers, Vice President for the Arts at the Knight Foundation. “With The Truth Booth as their platform, we’re excited to hear what’s on Detroiters' minds.”

Hank Willis Thomas and Will Sylvester both look forward to the opportunity this tour brings to the region. “The Truth Booth tour of Detroit and Flint this summer is going to create a unique opportunity to take the pulse of the country during a historic year. The current level of political and social turmoil hasn’t been seen in this country in a long time,” says Thomas. “The tour will allow us to address deep issues in American society while also inspiring engagement through the cathartic process of recording testimonials. We hope to reach voices and faces that are often suppressed or ignored.”

Sylvester adds, “While planning this project, I had the privilege to spend time in the neighborhoods and with the residents of Detroit and Flint. I learned so much more from these enriching experiences than the often negative portrayal in the media. It’s an honor and a pleasure to facilitate a project that can be a platform for these communities to tell their stories in their own voices, and speak their truth to the world.”

The Presenting Sponsor of In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth) is the Knight Foundation. Leadership sponsors include The Applebaum Family Compass Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Maryanne Mott, who is providing support for The Truth Booth in Flint. Additional support provided by Marc Schwartz, Lynn and Bharat Gandhi and Lila Silverman. Community partners include the Arab-American National Museum, the Clark Park Coalition, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, the Heidelberg Project, the Mott-Warsh Collection, the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, Power House Productions, and the Sidewalk Festival for the Performing Arts.

About Cranbrook Art Museum
Cranbrook Art Museum is located at 39221 Woodward Avenue, on the campus of Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Museum hours are Tuesday – Sunday from 11am to 5pm. It is an integral part of Cranbrook Academy of Art, a community of Artists-in-Residence and graduate-level students of art, design, and architecture. The Art Museum, which was established in 1930 and opened in its current building in 1942, is Eliel Saarinen's final masterwork at Cranbrook. Today, the Art Museum presents original exhibitions and educational programming on modern and contemporary architecture, art, crafts, and design, as well as traveling exhibitions, films, workshops, travel tours, and lectures by renowned artists, designers, artists, and critics throughout the year.

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