HAMTRAMCK, Mich. — It is the pitiful fate of objects to serve as proxies for our failed dreams, relationships, and ambitions. This concept is acutely present throughout Fate of the Machinery, a project by Kate Levy that has evolved over the course of a month at the gallery 9338 Campau in Hamtramck. The objects in this case are represented by auction listings, which comprise the complete record of transactions handled by Norman Levy & Associates, the auction house that sustained the artist’s family for two generations before, ironically, being subjected to a hostile buyout in the late 1990s.
These listings are charmingly archaic, ranging backward in time to deal with farm equipment, going through an early electronics bust in the 1970s, cataloguing the microcosmic rises and falls in the bigger picture of Detroit’s economic roller coaster. Different forms of mapping time and place crop up frequently around 9338 Campau gallerist Steve Panton. His former location, 2739 Edwin, featured “Hamtramck Redact” by Andrew Thompson, which involved a charcoal rendering of Hamtramck that evolved over the course of a month. Panton himself creates elaborate, research-based installations by arranging items found in the stacks at the Detroit Public Library or collected during his daily walks along the Hamtramck train tracks, as with “Railroad.”