Landlord Colors at Cranbrook Art Museum tries to “elevate” art borne of economic hardship and upheavals, but such art needs no elevation; the viewer must seek and find its level.
From a Tower of Babel to a Concrete Ziggurat, an Artist Erects Monuments to Human Endeavors
Scott Hocking has spent months making labor-intensive constructions inside abandoned buildings or amid their ruins, creating mystical monuments that pay tribute to history.
From Swiss Cheese to DNA, the Inventions of a Seminal Playground Designer
The Art of Play explores the career of Jim Miller-Melburg, who holds a place — albeit an often nameless one — in our childhood memories.
Totemic Tributes to the Obscured History of a Detroit Neighborhood
DETROIT — The history of the former municipality of Fairview is written in its streets.
Decaying Barns Transformed into Art
PORT AUSTIN, Mich. — The lakeside town of Port Austin, MI, is not what you’d call a bustling cultural center — more like a humble and self-assured farming community off the beaten track, where, as everyone likes to tell you, over and over, you can see the sun rise and set over Lake Huron all in the same day.
Envisioning Detroit as a Postindustrial Boomtown
DETROIT — Detroit Boom City is an ambitious installation orchestrated by Atlanta’s Dashboard Co-Op by invitation of the Ford Motor Company Fund, featuring some of Detroit’s most innovative artists.
Building Monuments Amid Detroit’s Modern Day Ruins
DETROIT — It is easy, when considering the staggering legacy of human history, to think about it as a series of things that took place in the past.
For Chicago, Detroit Isn’t a Distant Reality
CHICAGO — Much like the city of Detroit’s epic economic saga, this story took me on a wild goose chase. I’m an art journalist reporting on Detroit from Chicago — or, if you would prefer, the Motor City from the Windy City — and that seems odd. The media craze around Detroit just won’t quit, and Chicago is increasingly finding itself implicated in it all. Perhaps the artists are to blame.
An Appreciation for the Often Hilarious, Usually Horrible, World of Bad Graffiti
Who cares about bad graffiti or street art? The spray paint scrawls of ill-chosen tag names (“Piggy Nasty,” “Pony Tail,” “Tricky Trout, Jr.”), reckless vulgarity (penises and boobs drawn on absolutely everything), and sad drawings that barely shape into the animal, face, or whatever they’re trying to be, who cares about all that? Usually these aerosol-on-concrete creations just fade into our visual background without a second glance, but artist Scott Hocking has recognized them for the masterpieces of mediocrity that they are in a photography book appropriately called Bad Graffiti, released in December 2012 by Black Dog Publishing.