Beverly Fre$h, The Outskirts (video still), 2014. Courtesy of the Artist
MR. MDWST (a truncation of Mister Midwest) is a continuation of the adventures of Beverly Fre$h—a stylized autobiographical character that doubles as an artist persona and stage name for Zack Ostrowski. Like a postmodern tale of the picaresque, Fre$h has traveled extensively over the last two years on a quest to understand, reconfigure, and interrupt the social constructs and cultural rituals of the rural Midwest. He created impromptu, site-oriented performances alone and with strangers at carnivals, country fairs, front yards, and back roads, which were recorded for a documentary titled The Outskirts (2014). This exhibition presents a series of new works inspired by his performative research in the region and features four character tropes he met during his travels: The Badass, The Innocent, The Professional, and The Seeker.
Zack Ostrowski is a contemporary artist and musician raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently lives and work in Chicago, Illinois. He has a BFA in Graphic Design/Interactive Media from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA from the 2D Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he was the 2009 recipient of the Daimler AG Emerging Artist Award. He is an Assistant Professor and Area Head of Graphic Art at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. He has exhibited and performed throughout the United States and internationally, including China, Japan, Peru, Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Germany.
MR. MDWST – A Real Good Time by Beverly Fre$h was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design. The exhibition is part of an ongoing series that presents the work of vibrant emerging and mid-career contemporary artists with a special focus on graduates of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Detroit-based artists. Cranbrook Art Museum is supported, in part, by its membership organization, ArtMembers@Cranbrook; the Museum Committee of Cranbrook Art Museum; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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