Don’t Forget the Motor City

Stan Douglas. "Michigan Theater." 1998. Part of the Detroit series. David Zwirner Gallery, NYC.

Trusted correspondent DC radioed in to Forecast Central from somewhere on the cultural high seas to remind me that Stan Douglas also has a series of photographs of decaying Detroit. These photos, he quite rightly points out, “serve as an early reference point for the genre.” They escape accusations of being mere “ruin porn” not merely on the basis of their high cultural pedigree, but due to their sheer earliness. Douglas is not some johnny-come-lately interloper in Detroit, but was there in the mid-90s. These are the photos that I think triggered my own interest in Detroit as a symbol. If I remember correctly, they appeared in the Globe and Mail around the time of their exhibition at the David Zwirner Gallery in NYC in the fall of 1998.

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