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DIA exterior at night
DIA exterior at night

Detroit Revealed: Photographs, 2000-2010 at Detroit Institute of Arts - Detroit artists, others featured in look at Detroit over past decade

Monday, August 08, 2011

(Detroit)—Detroit’s architecture, neighborhoods, people and auto industry are among the subjects included in Detroit Revealed: Photographs, 2000-2010, on view Oct. 16, 2011–April 8, 2012 at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). The exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and is free with museum admission.

Detroit Revealed provides windows into the experience and meaning of Detroit in the first decade of a new millennium, and explores recent photographic practice grounded in the character of the Motor City. The exhibition presents portraits, architecture and documentary photographs and videos by eight artists inspired by Detroit. The artists shed light on life in the city during a time characterized by unique challenges that continue to influence the landscape and society of Detroit in the post-automotive era.

More than 50 large-scale color and traditional black-and-white photographs by Michelle Andonian, Carlos Diaz, Scott Hocking, Andrew Moore, Alec Soth and Corine Vermeulen are included. Photography and video by Dawoud Bey and Ari Marcopoulos are also featured.

The artists were selected for their diverse and critical perspectives, ability to uncover what lies beneath the surface of life in Detroit and the importance of the city to their artistic practice. They see Detroit as a challenging place of dramatic transformation. Their work appears together for the first time in a deliberately eclectic and sometimes contradictory mix, with subjects ranging from the factory to the community farm, to the vibrant neighborhoods’ ethnic enclaves.

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition, with essays by DIA Associate Curator Nancy W. Barr, Detroit Free Press journalist John Gallagher and New York-based writer and urban art specialist Carlo McCormick. Support for the catalogue has been provided by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

Featured Artists
Michelle Andonian (born 1958, Detroit, Michigan)
Editorial and documentary photographer and photojournalist Michelle Andonian focuses on Detroit’s local culture, including its ethnic neighborhoods and auto industry. In 2004 she completed the documentary Reinvention: Rouge Photographs about the changeover of manufacturing operations and car models as well as massive modernization and greening initiatives at Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. She created more than 2,000 images of what was once one of the Detroit-area’s, if not the world’s, most celebrated and infamous automobile factories.

Dawoud Bey (born 1953, Queens, New York)
Dawoud Bey has worked with high schools throughout the U.S. to create portraits that investigate the identities, lifestyles and diversity of American teenagers. As a DIA artist-in-residence in 2003 and 2004, Bey produced a series of portraits and a video, Four Stories, featuring teens from Detroit’s Chadsey High School. The Detroit portraits and his video express the concerns and issues facing contemporary teens in southwest Detroit, one of the city’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

Carlos Diaz (born 1953, Pontiac, Michigan)
Carlos Diaz has photographed Detroit and the post-industrial landscape for more than 30 years. His 2010 documentary on the Latino community in Detroit’s Mexican Town includes pictures of vibrant homes and gardens as well as formal portraits of its residents. Diaz calls his series Beyond Borders: Latino Immigrants and Southwest Detroit, as he sees the U.S./Mexican border as a symbol of the demarcation between desperation and hope. He stated: “My intent is for the faces in these portraits to read as a road map of the individual immigrants’ experiences, their unique set of circumstances and the story of their ‘journey’ from the border to the north. These portraits are then my attempt to personify the people of this community by removing the mask that these individuals have been forced to wear.”

Scott Hocking (born 1975, Detroit, Michigan)
Installation artist, sculptor, photographer and 2011 Kresge Fellow Scott Hocking uses urban exploration to create site-specific installations with found objects from the same area. While foraging for relics in neighborhoods and scouting locations at industrial complexes, Hocking photographed old factories and neighborhoods. Interested in the cyclical nature of civilization and history, Hocking has noted: “Wherever I go, the history and people of the place influence my artwork. I explore my surroundings for things forgotten or kept out of sight, gather information, images and materials. I’m often inspired or bothered by what I find.”

Ari Marcopoulos (born 1957, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Ari Marcopoulos has produced a large body of work on youth culture, its social rituals and its underground activity that emerges from music, snowboarding, skateboarding and street art. Interested in Detroit’s music scene, Marcopoulos traveled to the city and met Hunter and Shane Muldoon, two young musicians. He photographed them in their home, where their bedroom provided a makeshift rehearsal room, and where they experimented with audio equipment to create a range of sound effects. During the session, Marcopoulos made Detroit, a seven-and-a-half-minute video as well a series of still photographs and the book Detroit 2009.

Andrew Moore (born 1957, Old Greenwich, Connecticut)
Andrew Moore photographed internationally to represent cultures in transition and decline. In 2008 and 2009, he took pictures in neighborhoods and abandoned buildings in Detroit using large-format color photography to create an in-depth study that became part of the book and exhibition Detroit Disassembled. Moore’s Detroit series has won critical acclaim and international attention. He states: “My photographic interests have always lain at the busy intersections of history, particularly those locations where multiple tangents of time overlap and tangle. In other places I have photographed, such as Cuba and Russia, these meanderings of time create a densely layered, historical narrative. In Detroit, the forward motion of time appears to have been thrown spectacularly into the reverse.”

Alec Soth (born 1969, Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Alec Soth published Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004) and Niagara (2006), which examine regional identity through images of ordinary places and local people. While traveling across the U.S. for a story about the decline of the American empire for Britain’s Telegraph Magazine, he photographed a vast cross section of life in small towns, western horizons and Midwestern cites like Detroit, which had become notorious for its urban decay. The work became part of a series and book called The Last Days of W., made as a reflection on the state of the country in the final days of George W. Bush’s presidency. Soth said his work is neither a political statement nor a critique of American life, but that his photographs from The Last Days of W. represent “a panoramic look at a country exhausted by its catastrophic leadership.”

Corine Vermeulen (born 1977, Gouda, Netherlands)
Dutch photographer and 2009 Kresge Fellow Corine Vermulen has lived in Detroit for the past 10 years. Vermeulen uses photography to uncover and document the people and places that characterize and define new urban lifestyles and to comment on the challenges of those living in Detroit’s post-industrial age. Vermeulen sees Detroit as a place filled with complex relationships between people and place that create infinite juxtapositions. Her work reveals the multifaceted nature of the city and its history through portraits, panoramic views, and studies of urban subjects such as hand-painted signs and murals. For Vermeulen, Detroit represents “a unique and great vehicle for change, where old structures are no longer in place and the possibilities for something different to happen are endless.”

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971.


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899