December 29, 2016

Solstice Shenanigans with Hygienic Dress League @ Hyperallergic

DETROIT — When the streets are your gallery, your artistic process — successful and otherwise — becomes a public affair. This potentially high-pressure learning curve is a comfortable state of being for husband-and-wife public art duo, Hygienic Dress League, who invited me along for a behind-the-scenes peek at their latest excursion, part of the People First Project, which seeks, according to its website: “A merry band of makers, a cohort of creatives, an assembly of architects and activists to transform Michigan Avenue in Corktown from a state highway to a complete street, to reconfigure the city to meet new needs, to PUT THE PEOPLE FIRST.”

It was a merry band, indeed — a caravan, really — that set out after sunset on a recent frigid polar vortex Monday to stage some happenings with a set of aluminum-molded animal forms, powder-coated with a paint that was supposed to make them glow a radioactive green in the dark. This motif is fitting with many of HDL’s notions of human society’s toxic interventions in nature — recent variations on their paste-up human avatars, who typically wear feature-obscuring gas masks, have morphed into animal-headed figures.

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