The Scarab Club – Detroit, Michigan
Very few places in Detroit present one with such a profound and palpable sense of art history as The Scarab Club (1928). Located at John R & Farnsworth Street in the heart of the city’s Cultural Center, this elegant yet understated three-story brick structure fuses Renaissance Revival and Moderne style architecture with decorative elements inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. Architect and club member Lancelot Sukert studied at the Universities of California and Pennsylvania and worked in the offices of Albert Kahn before establishing his own Detroit-based firm in 1921. According to the club’s website, “Sukert was chosen as the architect by a panel of fifteen member architects, that included Kahn, Wirt C. Rowland, and William ‘Buck’ Stratton.” Sukert himself described the building as “a composite of ideas contributed by many members.”
Exterior highlights include a colorful Pewabic tile scarab medallion on the south facade, and an all-copper, abstract Stephen Veresh sculpture entitled “Phoenix” on the west wall. Check out Dennis Orlowski‘s “Scarab Club Centennial, 2007” mural behind you as you climb the entryway stairs. Administrative offices and an impressive, naturally lit gallery make up the first floor. Artists’ studios fill out the third. It’s the second floor lounge, however, where the building’s most impressive interior features are found: a gorgeous mural by past Scarab Club and Players member Paul Honoré over the fireplace, but even more compelling, ceiling beams bearing the signatures of visiting artists of local, national and international renown, spanning the entire 83 year history of the building. It took I Love Detroit Michigan only ten minutes of photographing this stunning collection of over 250 autographs to come up with this handful of relevant to highly influential names:
Alex Ross, Balthazar Korab, Charles Reid, Clarence H. Carter, Diego Rivera, Edgar A. Guest, Elie Abel, Eliel Saarinen, Elmore Leonard, Emerson C. Burkhart, Ezra Winter, Franklin C. Watkins, Fred M. Zeder, Gil Spear, Gov. Murray D. “Pat” Van Wagoner, Harold Von Schmidt, Hobson Pittman, Hugh Walpole, Hugo Zacchini, Isamu Noguchi, John Dos Passos, John Sinclair, John Sloan, Jose De Rivera, Joy Hakanson Colby, Juliana Force, Leon A. Makielski, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Marshall Fredericks, Michael D. Hall, Norman Rockwell, Pablo “Steve” Davis, Tony Spina, Tyree Guyton, Walter Murch, Walter Ufer, William Baziotes, and William Murcko.
We highly recommend our readers click on every link to get a real grasp of just how deep The Scarab Club’s roots reach into Detroit’s art history. Click here and here to learn more about The Scarab Club’s frequent contributions to the cultural life of Detroit. ~I♥DM