Mark Stryker does some follow-up on The White House, highlighting the disappointing but completely unsurprising outcome of this project for actual Detroiters.
For critics of Mendoza, the plight of the neighbors who have become innocent victims proves the point that artists have no right to come to Detroit and treat the city as a personal blank canvas, no matter how noble their intentions.
“That’s the problem with outsiders coming into Detroit where they don’t understand how things are done,” said Sarah Rose Sharp, a Detroit art critic and a 2015 Kresge Fellow. “Rules that apply in other places don’t quite run the same way here, and if you just show up, expecting to snap your fingers at stuff and have things run the way you’re used to, you haven’t observed the surroundings enough to understand what the real issues are.”
I’m quoted in the piece, I guess because I have been outspoken in my criticism of this project–a departure from my usual mode. My piece at Hyperallergic received a fair amount of pushback, both nationally and locally, people saying, “Who really cares? It’s just a house. Relax.”
The neighbors care. The people who continue to live in Detroit–rather than just come here on an extended art walkabout–care. The people who are raising their kids next to a lot studded with exposed, rusting nails care. This art project came at a human cost–calling it art is not a free fucking pass to disrespect the people who call it home.
Clean up your mess.