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 exhibit selections
 a John Elkerr film 
Desafinado Detroit
off-notes from the Motor City
with George Graveldinger,  John Elkerr, ​Maugre (Maurice Greenia), & Marie Tapert 


February 14 through  March 21




River House Arts  is pleased to present Desafinado Detroit, an exhibition featuring works by four accomplished artists with lifelong ties to the Motor City: Maugre (Maurice Greenia), George Graveldinger, Marie Tapert, and John Elkerr. Desafinado Detroit runs through March 21.


The word Desafinado is both a Portuguese term for “off key” and the title of a jazz standard. For the show’s organizer, John Elkerr, “off-key” or “out of tune” aptly reflects his approach to the exhibition and his own work. “To me, it’s about an unwillingness to follow blindly, and an ability to create enchanting but original disturbances.” For three of the participating artists, Maugre, George Graveldinger, and Elkerr, the show is a reunion of sorts as they each share a connection to the late Jacques Karamanoukian. From 1970 until his death in 2002, the Paris born gallerist and curator galvanized a community of outsider artists and surrealists in Southeastern Michigan, championing their works through independent exhibitions in both the US and Europe and in his own galleries - Galerie Jacque in Ann Arbor and Zeitgeist in Detroit. While Marie Tapert was not one of the artists showing with Karamoukian, she was a part of the community and would later become a close friend and mentor of Elkerr.


The Artists


Maugre (Maurice Greenia)  works in a multitude of formats and media ranging from poetry to drawing to sculpture, with many stops along the way. He is a native of Detroit and has lived in the artistic center of the city -- the Cass Corridor – for decades. With his surrealist vision, he’s been responding to his beloved city through good times and bad. Best known for his street art, including his enormous chalk drawings on the old Hudson's Building, Maugre has exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe with some of the most notable figures in Contemporary Raw or Intuitive Art. He is represented in numerous private and public collections, including the Musee de creation franche in Belges, France. 

 A graduate of the Society for Arts & Crafts in Detroit (now the College for Creative Studies), and a longtime member of the city’s prestigious Scarab Club, George Graveldinger was born Downriver from Detroit in Wyandotte, Michigan in 1927. He worked at Chrysler as an industrial sculptor for 30 years before turning to his studio full-time. Prolific and at times provocative, George’s work has been exhibited at institutions and galleries throughout the region.


John Elkerr has been creating art and rebelling against “being sensible” for as long as he can remember. In his youth he once initiated a campaign against “being on time” by wearing several wrist watches at once - each with different times. Still, he managed to complete his BFA with honors from the University of Michigan. Like his friend Maugre, he has exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe and his work is also represented in the Musee de creation franche in Belges, France. John Kerr currently lives and works in Dexter, Michigan. 


Now working out of a studio in the woods west of Ann Arbor where she pursues a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, and mixed media, Marie Tapert remains deeply connected to the city where she was born and raised. She holds a degree in sculpture from Wayne State University and has instructed children and adults at Wayne State University, Cranbrook Academy of Arts and at the Detroit Institute of Arts with innovative approaches to creativity. Marie’s working background includes advertising, graphic, furniture and product design. All of which have influenced, but have not defined her fine art practice.

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