Monthly Archives: March 2009

Discover the Fine Art of Freestyle Cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line and Park West Gallery

Building an art collection can truly enrich your life – that’s why Norwegian Cruise Line and Park West Gallery have teamed up to bring you original works of art by well-known artists that will be displayed on NCL ships, giving you a chance to bid at our art auctions. Works from both the masters and up-and-coming artists have been compiled to give you an eclectic collection to choose from.

Featured artists including; Sung Sam Park, Holland Berkley, Jerry Blank and Alfred Gockel, will join auction attendees for live painting and Q&A sessions. NCL will also throw a free wine and cheese reception for the lucky guests who purchase the featured artist’s works.




Park West Gallery Spring Sale: Ideal for All Your Spring Gift-Giving Needs

Park West Gallery Spring Sale

Fine art and jewelry treasures make perfect birthday, Mother’s Day and graduation gifts

SOUTHFIELD, MI, March 19, 2009 — Plan a spring outing to the elegant Park West Gallery. Tour 3-1/2 acres of beautiful galleries and gardens while shopping for unique birthday, Mother’s Day and graduation gifts.

From now through May 15th, more than 250 works will be on display from some of the world’s greatest artists including Rembrandt, Picasso, Linda Le Kinff, Marcel Mouly, Goya, Simon Bull, Dali, Marcus Glenn, and Itzchak Tarkay. Customers can find the perfect gift in Park West’s outstanding collection, which features paintings, jewelry and even autographed sports memorabilia. In honor of Park West’s 40th anniversary, some prices will be reduced by as much as 40 percent.

Sale hours: Monday-Wednesday 10 am – 6 pm | Thursday, Friday 10 am – 7 pm | Saturday 11 am – 6 pm. Sale items are also featured on the web at the Park West Seasonal Sale.

Park West Gallery is located at 29469 Northwestern Highway, Southfield.


I See Nude People…

Park West Gallery changed the course of art history forever, and the history of two nudist truck drivers from Tennessee.

By Johnathon,
Cruise Ship Art Auctioneer

Park West art auctions at sea

One of my first assignments as an auctioneer with Park West was on a ship that had been chartered for a nudist cruise. The charter client was an independent group that organized nudists from all around the world for a cruise which by anyone’s standards was very…free spirited.

Nearly all the guests were either partially or fully nude, all day long. Some were old, some were young, some were fit, some were not so fit, but everyone was completely uninhibited.

For a small town boy from the Midwest, this was one of the most outrageous things I had ever experienced. In the end, I ended up being humbled by the kindness, generosity, and tastefulness of the nudist movement, and having made several friends who are foes of clothing.

Many people became collectors that cruise, and it ended up being a very enlightening time for me. I’m so conservative that I shower wearing a full suit — so I am not joining a colony anytime soon — but one of the great joys of travel is stepping outside your comfort zone, so I appreciated the experience. My favorite memory is of a couple named Bill and Julie. I will never forget them as long as I live, and I try to tell their story to as many people who will listen.

Bill and Julie are over-the-road truck drivers from Tennessee. They happen to also be naturalists (nudists) in their spare time. They fell in love with the history and importance that surrounds the art of world-famed artist Peter Max. All cruise long, we spoke of Peter Max and reviewed The Art of Peter Max book, by Dr. Charles Riley III, cover to cover. I told them of Max’s accomplishments, which among other things includes how he evolved from a visionary pop artist of the 1960’s to a master of neo-expressionism, and how his techniques of vibrant color have become a part of the contemporary American culture.

In his global causes, Peter Max is a passionate environmentalist and defender of human and animal rights. Max often uses American symbols in his artwork and has done paintings and projects for Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. In 1994, Max created a “Peace Accord” painting for the White House to commemorate the historic signing. Max has completed his fourth Grammy Award poster, redesigned NBC television’s symbolic peacock, was appointed as the official artist for 5 Super Bowls, the World Cup USA, the U.S. Tennis Open, and the NHL all-star game. He created six poster images in response to the September 11th attacks, the proceeds of which were donated to the September 11th, Twin Towers, and Survivors relief funds.

Of course, Bill and Julie were impressed by Max’s background, and even more importantly they could see the value in collecting an artist such as Peter Max. They ended up collecting a mixed-media work by Max – and as it turned out – a lot of other art as well. Their biggest concern was figuring out where to hang the piece. Since they were on the road all the time in their truck, we suggested that they hang it in the “sleeper,” which is the bedroom area behind the cockpit of the big rig they called home. I think there was also some talk of hanging it in one of their parents’ homes until one day they could enjoy it full-time at their own home. I don’t know what became of that piece, but to this day I love to think of it hanging in the back of their 18-wheel home.

For a long time after this cruise I kept in touch with Bill and Julie, and I’m not sure that I ever did enough to tell them how important meeting them and helping them to collect their art was for me. When someone asks – How can you do this? How can you work at sea for so long? – my answer is easy to understand. I get a chance to impact art history and peoples’ lives in a small but special way…How can I not do this?

Everyone knows that for centuries art was primarily for people of influence and means. Park West Gallery has taken art out of the hands of the elite few, and placed it into the hands of people from all walks of life…granting an opportunity, if only on one wall, in one area of their home, for every single person to be privileged.

Park West is bringing privilege to every person and changing the world of art one work of art at a time. Can you imagine if you had told the world 100 years ago that the largest art dealer in the world today would have become so by selling art to – among others – nudist truck drivers? That’s the Park West experience. I’m proud to be part of it.


Park West Artists at Sea: Fanch Ledan

Volets Caraibes by Fanch Ledan

Volets Caraibes by Fanch Ledan

 Artists are hanging up their brushes and testing their sea legs to launch a program intended to enhance the Celebrity guest’s cruising experience.

By Cassandra,
Cruise Ship Art Auctioneer

Fanch Ledan boarded the Celebrity Constellation with the intention to initiate as much involvement with the guests as possible. His charming French demeanor and his readiness to greet guests assured a sensational first night onboard. Even if they were not previously involved in art, their chance to meet the world renowned artist quickly sparked their interest.

The next day was a live interview with the cruise director. The vision of the artist was discussed and the floor was opened for questions and answers. The intimate crowd was quite enthused to have personal insight to the artist’s world and was eager to hear more.

After the interview came the first auction. A live art auction is always a guaranteed crowd pleaser. When one of the artists is present to comment on his works it becomes a truly electrifying event . Mr. Ledan would humbly inform the crowd of the inspiration and significance behind each work of art — information that even the most knowledgeable art dealer might be unable to provide. His words narrated a story behind each work and embedded emotional ties into the crowd. Many of these guests soon became Fanch Ledan art collectors.

Over many dinner discussions, the word spread fast throughout the ship that there was a special artist onboard. The gossip was that he was fun, friendly and most of all, approachable. Many guests commented on his amicability and his willingness to discuss his many experiences as an artist. The art gallery was busy for the next few days; mainly with signatures, photo shoots and lengthy conversations.

The second auction was an even bigger hit than the first. By that time, the whole ship had access to the live interview with Fanch, which had been broadcast into all the staterooms during the port days. The artist sailing was the buzz on the ship — everyone wanted to come and check out the world renowned artist that Park West Gallery had brought to them.

Park West Gallery prides itself on creating a comfortable and informal environment for people to collect fine art. They understand that art collecting has a veneer of elitism and they succeed in actively demolishing that perception. Bringing art to the people is their mission. Bringing the artist that created the art to the people is even more poignant. Celebrity guests, quickly turned art connoisseurs, had a cruise experience of a lifetime. Many of them will forever own a fine work of art that they will be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives. It will always remind them of the great relationships that were built with the artist and the art dealers while they sailed the seas on the Celebrity Constellation.


Park West Gallery: Breaking ART NEWS!


Attention Park West Gallery Newsletter fans –

the March issue is here!



 This month’s features include:


Park West Art Auctions at Sea Featured on CNBC

Park West art auctions at seaPark West cruise ship art auctions were featured on CNBC‘s new documentary “Cruise Inc. Big Money on the High Seas”!



Show Summary: It’s the ultimate getaway… an exclusive look inside the $30-billion cruise industry. Correspondent Peter Greenberg spends seven days aboard the Norwegian Pearl, one of the newest in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet.

The 15-story floating city is a destination of its own. It’s a hotel, a shopping mall, a casino and full-service Spa – sailing the oceans of the world.

Vodpod videos no longer available.



Park West Gallery Director Morris Shapiro Featured in Detroit Jewish News

Article & Photos courtesy of The Detroit Jewish News Online

PLATINUM: Decor – Art & Soul
Peek inside the personal collection of Park West Gallery’s director.


Morris Shapiro, Jewish News

Morris Shapiro sits in front of Le Marriage by Marc Chagall, a wedding gift Shapiro and his wife, MaryAnn, gave to each other. “The couple stands under the chuppah and surrounding them is a visual feast of celebration — dancers, musicians, friends, family and children,” says Shapiro. “His drawing talent was one of Chagall’s greatest gifts, and this work, absent of color, focuses the viewer on his extraordinary draftsmanship.”

A large work by Marc Chagall hangs in the front hall of Morris and MaryAnn Shapiro’s Novi home.

“It’s definitely one of my favorites,” the 56-year-old Park West Gallery director says of Le Mariage, a 1976 aquatint framed in black that depicts a traditional Jewish wedding. “We bought it for each other as a wedding gift.”

A tour of the Shapiros’ contemporary home reveals more than 100 other works, all with personal meaning. Hanging over the living-room sofa is a large contemporary piece by Miro; and nearby, the small gold-framed Portrait of Jan Lutman the Goldsmith is by Rembrandt. In the family room, a large piece by Detroit artist Marcus Glenn hangs over the fireplace. Other walls hold a Matisse-like drawing, works by 1998 World Cup artist Linda LeKinff and mysterious and otherworldly images by New York artist Robert Kipniss. Many share Shapiro’s Jewish heritage.

“I don’t have a traditional art collection, per se,” he explains. “I’m immersed in art. My collection is eclectic and based on personal experiences and relationships with artists. Each means something special to me.”

Working with Southfield’s 63,000-square-foot Park West Gallery has enabled Shapiro to meet many of the artists whose work now hangs in the home he shares with MaryAnn and 14-year-old daughter Amanda. Three other children – Mia, Myles and Mason – are grown. A family portrait by artist Peter Max hangs over the living room’s grand piano, and a tour of his collection is sprinkled with stories and reminiscences of artists he has been fortunate enough to meet and work with.

Morris Shapiro's Personal Art Collection

Contemporary artist Igor Medvedev, whose quietly elegant Late Fishing hangs above a cherry-wood Ello sideboard in the dining room of Morris and MaryAnn Shapiro’s Novi home, says that his work is about capturing “visual miracles.”

Working directly with artists is one of the best parts of the job, he says, and a dream since he was a child. Shapiro grew up in Chicago in the 1950s and ’60s. His mother, he says, decorated the house with gaudy French Provincial furniture and accessories. “It was really hideous,” he remembers. “There was no art on the walls, so I made my own. I drew and painted in part to rebel against my parents.”

Thumbing through a book on the Holy Land one day in his parents’ library, he came across a woodcut of Adam and Eve by Albrecht Durer. “I was mesmerized by the contours and lines and Durer’s use of space,” he says. “From that moment on, I was smitten.

“He eventually followed Durer into drawing, going on to study at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. While there, he shifted his emphasis from studio art to art history and art criticism, later working at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts before returning to the Windy City to pursue another passion – music.

After playing the drums professionally for a time, Shapiro took a position as gallery director for Chicago’s Merrill Chase Galleries, where he worked from 1977-1983. In 1983, he came to Detroit to head Park West’s retail gallery, where he’s been ever since.

After 25 years, he’s still passionate about the company’s philosophy of bringing art to the public.

“In many ways, art has been taken away from the people and made less accessible,” he says. “It’s gratifying to be able to swing the pendulum back and to allow people to experience art firsthand.”

While Shapiro is serious about his art, not all of his art is serious. Another favorite piece in his collection is a drawing by animator Chuck Jones, dedicated to daughter Amanda. “It was really neat to meet him,” Shapiro says.

While eclectic, Shapiro says his collection reflects his interests and his life. He’s passionate about reading, writing and music and loves to travel. He participates in jazz jam sessions whenever possible and is currently collaborating with Amanda, a burgeoning singer-songwriter, on her first demo recording. He enjoys spending time with his first grandchild, Matthew.

A member of Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield, Shapiro also is passionate about his family and his faith. He believes it “is about being appreciative of the blessings I have in life, the sanctity of family, the observance of and passing on of tradition,” he says. “My religion also provides for me a perspective of how short life is, how miniscule and insignificant we are, how God’s creations are miraculous and infinite and how fortunate [we are] for every day we are given. Each day is a gift of inestimable value.”

He believes others interested in collecting art should follow the same philosophy, allowing art to enhance their life, not just their wallets.

“Knowing what you like is the entrance into the art world,” he says. “People should buy art because they love it. It should be collected for its emotional and spiritual benefits, not its financial benefits. It’s really the only way to go.”

Read More


Detroit Free Press: Celebration Honors Detroit Peace Leader’s Life

The Detroit Free PressOriginally published March 22, 2009

Before he died, Olusola said he didn’t want hope to be lost

Weusi Olusola made a request of those who loved him before he died: Do not mourn my passing, but celebrate my life.

And so, instead of a funeral Saturday, friends and family gathered to share stories about the antigun and community activist who died March 13 of Stage 4 bladder cancer.

“Five days before he died, he told us he did not want people to lose hope,” said Saba Gebrai, program director of the Park West Foundation, which earlier this month gave Olusola a lifetime achievement award.

Olusola was 38. He died six days after receiving the award during a gathering attended by hundreds of metro Detroiters and entertainer Bill Cosby.

Born Willie Brown Jr., Olusola survived a drive-by shooting at 16. Then an All-State basketball star and marching band member at Murray Wright High, he was left paralyzed from the waist down.

He changed his name and became one of Detroit’s foremost antigang activists.

Ten years after he got shot, Olusola cofounded Pioneers for Peace, a group of shooting survivors who speak to children and young adults about violence.

The hundreds who paid their respects began by walking along Rosa Parks Boulevard near West Grand, accompanied by a marching band. Then they stopped at the community center, where Pioneer members, family, friends and city leaders gathered and spoke of the need to further Olusola’s work.

“That’s all he wanted,” said his 24-year-old sister, Christine Hall.

“He did more than most people on two feet,” said Kali Sichen, who heads a youth program near Atlanta. “He stood for self-determination, love, commitment. Those are the things that put the community in a positive light.” …Read the Full Article