As You Like It: Art in Detroit

Being in Detroit brings up the age old question: what is art? Detroit, best known for its music,  is a center of art, and sometimes, controversy. Here you’ll find a Satanic sculpture, a 17 foot tall cartoony bronze parent and childthe iconic Spirit of Detroit, and a host of other statues. It’s home to a 100 year old pottery studio. It’s an example of how investment in art and culture can be an investment in an entire city. If you like the arts, it’s a place to go. You’ll have a plethora of experiences and emotions.

Detroit has too much art for a short visit but I did what I could to take in the visual arts on my trip there. Entranced with the street murals, I headed to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see Diego Rivera’s 1932 masterpiece.

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Rivera painted people of all races working together–something that didn’t happen in 1932
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Characters from cartoons of the 1930s look on
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while boss man tells workers how to do their jobs.
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Up in the corner, scientists make vaccines while the diversity of Detroit is celebrated in the top center mural.
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Here it is to scale.

From start to finish, the mural took just nine months to complete. Rivera had assistants but he alone painted all of the people.

There was a lot more to see at the DIA.

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Get up close and personal with the classics.

 

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Or maybe you’re interested in traditional African masks This is a death mask, indicated by the color white–associated with death.

 

 

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I’m getting ready to celebrate my house’s 100th birthday. Here’s what a table setting looked like back then.

Or do you prefer your art more modern?

 

 

 

In contrast, and not too far away from the DIA is the Heidelberg Project, a city block made into street art. Part of the artistic value is the controversy. Is it beautiful? Ugly? Trashy? Transcending? What is it saying about consumerism? Why is it filled with clocks?

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The Heidelberg Project is on Heidelberg Street in Detroit.

The artist, Tyree Guyton, said that he’s attempting to create a new reality in his neighborhood AND get people to visit a place that they would be scared to visit otherwise.

Yes, this art brings people together and brings out emotions. 

It has inspired wallpaper.

It’s even a wedding venue.

There’s an ap to help visitors navigate it, understand it, and keep up with the changes. Profits go to promoting arts in the local schools.

If you are curious about Detroit and want to see its art but are scared, here is a crime risk assessment. With the exception of the Heidelberg Project, most tourist areas are in low crime spots. Crime is dropping in Detroit…it’s fallen to the 5th most dangerous city in the US.  Use caution. And keep your eyes open–especially for art.

 

4 thoughts on “As You Like It: Art in Detroit

    1. I was pleasantly surprised by Detroit after all of its bad press. Even the vacant buildings are beautiful brick structures and sometimes Art Deco style. They aren’t in the state of decay as old barns are around here. Also, where I was there was no trash–no blowing plastic bags and tossed cigarette butts as in poor rural areas of Iowa. It was more a state of proud abandonment than utter decay.

      Liked by 1 person

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