Detroit ///

Exhibitions "Shrinking Cities"
Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
February 3 – April 2, 2007

In a joint initiative, the Cranbrook Art Museum, in the very well-to-do suburb Bloomfield Hills, and the newly founded Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), in Detroit’s impoverished inner city, invited the exhibition Shrinking Cities to Detroit for Spring 2007. The Cranbrook Art Museum is part of the Cranbrook Campus (Cranbrook Educational Community), which was founded in 1904; it is one of the best-reputed cultural institutions in the United States. The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) was opened in Fall 2006 in an untenanted former car showroom in downtown Detroit. 

The city of Detroit was one of the project sites in the first phase “International Research” and is a drastic example of shrinking as a consequence of suburbanization. Between 1950 and 2003, the city lost a million residents, more than 50 percent of its population, while the population of the suburbs rose by more than 170 percent. This development was accompanied by increasing social and ethnic segregation.

The exhibition in Detroit pursues not only the goal of deepening the general American public and specialists’ debate about shrinking, but also that of presenting the theme for discussion in the region and of offering the public a forum to discuss urban concerns. To this end, a broad program of events was organized to accompany the exhibition, and several new artistic projects on Detroit were commissioned.

During the exhibition, a shuttle bus connected its two sites, which were located at opposite ends of the urban region. This underscored the idea of an overall view of the urban space and brought together people who would not otherwise encounter each other in daily life; there is no functioning public transport system between the suburbs and the city center. 12,500 visitors came to the exhibitions on a total of 1,800 square meters and to the 47 events of the accompanying program. 

Chief Curator: Philipp Oswalt, Berlin; Project Directors, Cranbrook Art Museum: Gregory Wittkopp, Brian Young, Roberta Frey Gilboe, and Abigail Newbold; Project Directors, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD): Marsha Miro, Mitch Cope, and Jeseca Dawson; Assistant Curators: Anita Kaspar, with Anke Hagemann, Berlin; Program Coordinators: Mitch Cope, Gregory Tom, and Elena Ivanova.

Contributions to the exhibition (pdf)

Program Series (pdf)

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