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The Art of Urban Renewal

  • Posted by Neil Simonton on July 11, 2010 in Art
  • In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "Consumed" columnist Rob Walker (author of the excellent Buying In: A Secret Dialogue between What We Buy and Who We Are) looks at the work of Design 99, a Detroit-based creative duo using art to transform space in the troubled city.

    Two years ago, the husband-and-wife team purchased a house in East Detroit (for $1,900!), which they equipped with solar panels and painted in fun pastel stripes. They dubbed it the Power House Project, and with others began acquiring and restoring other abandoned homes nearby. Recently the couple purchased a Bobcat, which they painted like the house and named the Neighbourhood Machine. “Part moving sculpture, part functional tool,” it is used as a visually powerful tool for cooperative tasks like community gardening and clearing debris.

    Writes Walker, "[H]ere is something new, practical and aesthetically pleasing that could start a conversation about the visual language of unused property — not just in one city but all over the place.

    We couldn't agree more.

    “Too Much of a Good Thing,” a show of Design 99's recent work, is currently on exhibit at MOCA Detroit.

    Read Walker's article here.


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