Cutting hair becomes visual art

College is already expensive, so when there are places on campus that are free, such as the Recreational Center and free admission to campus sporting events, students should take full advantage.

The Oakland University Art Gallery (OUAG) has showcased diverse and museum quality art to the metro Detroit audience for more than 40 years.  According to the OUAG website, every academic year from September to May there are six exhibitions ranging from contemporary art to projects with historical and global themes.

The current exhibition is the artist’s first Michigan exhibition titled “Commonwealth.” According to a press release from OUAG, Carlos Rolón/Dzine, the artist, transformed the gallery environment into an inner-city barbershop with its authentic sights, sounds and aromas.

Rolón has been recognized for his elaborately crafted paintings, ornate sculptures and works that come out of American, Latino and uniquely based subcultures.

“Students should know that the work [in this exhibition] doesn’t need to be interpreted; it’s about culture and the relational aspect of art,” said Dick Goody, director of OUAG.  Goody believes once students attend the barbershop performance, they would discover that barbers cutting hair could be a work of art. 

During the opening reception on Jan. 16, Chicago barbers from the Bladez of Glory barbershop created six haircuts on-site, altering the viewer’s experience from a spectator to a performer.

“This show challenges all assumptions about what art can be,” he said.

Goody said the goal of the gallery is to bring people and art together so they belong to an enlightened and inquiring society.

He briefly explained how the gallery is a place students should be familiar with because the programming is relevant to the student body.  According to their website, the OUAG is a part of the Department of Art and Art History within the College of Arts and Sciences.

“The gallery socializes our students to become comfortable looking at and understanding visual art.  When they attend exhibitions or lectures here it encourages them to come again and to go to other museums and galleries,” he said.

Exhibitions are decided based on what will support the studio art and art history programs at OU and are also relevant to the community. Artists that Goody chooses are engaging and respected regionally and nationally.

“If the artist can talk about their work and add to the discourse of art, I would be more likely to choose such an artist because exhibitions need associated programs like lectures and panel discussions,” he said.

On April 3, the last day of the exhibition, there will be an artist’s talk and a catalog launch.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and is free to the public.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit