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Thrown to the Lions

art and life…

because it’s cheaper to own an empty lot…

downtown Detroit 1.25.10 by j. weyland

by HOLLY BRUBACH

After years of lumping Detroit with other Rust Belt capitals that find themselves in a similar predicament, still reeling from the population drain and fiscal drought triggered by the exodus of local industry, we’re now obliged to confront the devastation head-on, as it’s documented in two forthcoming books of photography: “The Ruins of Detroit” by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (Steidl), and “Detroit Disassembled” by Andrew Moore (Damiani/Akron Art Museum).

Marchand and Meffre’s account of these and other everyday landmarks is decidedly bleak. Streets and sidewalks are empty: no people, no traffic. Sunlight filters down through gaps in the roofs. Ferns spring up on a factory floor. Snow drifts in through shattered windows. The city, once a cacophony of clanging machinery, immigrant languages and music, has gone silent. Marchand and Meffre interpret what they see as a case of nature reclaiming land the city appropriated, slowly erasing these remaining vestiges of a failed metropolis. Both of these books find beauty in decay, lingering over the paradoxical grandeur of disintegrating monuments and the random juxtapositions made possible by neglect.

Ruins are a loaded subject, one that puts metaphor within easy reach. The images here constitute a requiem for an American empire in a state of precipitous decline. Both books feature the same clock on a classroom wall, its frozen hands and melted face right out of a Dalí painting — as if time in Detroit had ticked to a halt, distorted, when in fact, with our gridlocked government and blind faith in our own exceptionalism, time is passing us by.

read the he entire article here…

(NY TIMES  3.30.10)

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