Mike Kelley

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)

In Detroit, it is difficult to use an architecture-based vocabulary in a civic context without striking a topical note. The city—which since the 1960s, when white flight triggered a slow, decisive economic decline, has shrunk to less than half its peak size—wears the ravages of urban blight on its sleeve. Woodward Avenue, the metropolis’s most populated artery, and home to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (mocad), doubles as a colorful architectural barometer of socioeconomically stratified decay. At one end, downtown, the center of big business and home to convention centers, hotels, and major league sports, remains viable, if not exactly vital. But as one proceeds northwest on Woodward out of the city center, toward the affluent suburbs of Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, the extremity and extent of the intervening desolation are incomparable. It is within this urban netherworld

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.