Thursday, February 25, 2010

ReadyMade's Hands Up For Detroit

ReadyMade Magazine visited Detroit and published a photo series of the works of artists Jimini Hignett, Tyree Guyton, Mitch Cope & Gina Reichert and Gregory Holm & Matthew Radune on its blog. The commentary on the trip starts with a comparison of these works and French high-wire artist Philippe Petit walk between the unfinished twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 1974.

[Image taken from ReadyMade blog]

The writer of the blog post - ReadyMade editor-in-chief Andrew Wagner - comments: 'Obviously it was an incredible physical undertaking and an adventure unlike any other. More than that though, I was taken with the fact that Petit took this amazing risk for seemingly no other reason other than to see if it could be done. To see what is possible. To see what would happen. Much like Petit’s walk atop New York, the city of Detroit sparks similar emotions in me.'

Wagners proves himself a Detroit optimist as he ends his story saying: 'I believe the next few years will see a true renewal in the city. And not in any contrived, idealistic, New Urbanist manner, but rather in a real, meaningful way that will help guide cities of all shapes and sizes in the years to come.'

ReadyMade is inspired by Detroit and its many opportunities to open up windows for different kinds of urban development, which is great. From my own perspective, that of European out-of-towner, I tend to believe that the more people write and think enthusiastic about Detroit the greater the chance that good things might happen to the city.

Yet, Wagner’s interesting comparison between the work by Petit in New York in 1974 and the four very different contemporary projects in Detroit inspired me to raise a few question concerning the role of these types of art projects in the post-industrial place as Detroit.

Who is performing what and to which audience? What is the public? What is the community of these projects?

I could be wrong but I have the impression there are important distinctions between the works Wagner encountered during his city tour. Although they might altogether – edited in a photo series like the one on the ReadyMade blog – add to an optimistic imagery of Detroit, the differences of these projects in terms of production process or in regards of the audiences the artists intended to perform for might be a factor in determining the type of renewal that Detroit will see.


Andrew Wagner said...

Christian...thanks for taking the time to read my post. Enjoyed yours too and am looking forward to digging into your blog some more. No doubt that there are very important distinctions between all the works I mention in my post but what I see tying them together - either intentionally or more likely unintentionally - is the spirit with which they were undertaken. Of course, I can't be sure of the maker's intentions but I was struck with all of their understated power. I would like to know more from each of the artists. A future blog post for sure...

Christian Ernsten said...

Dear Andrew, thanks for your comment. I'm looking forward to reading those!