When you live in a place ruled by the shifting whims of nature, you learn to adjust to forces that exist beyond human control. In this sense, Detroit was an unlikely birthplace for the industrial era, with its goal of keeping automobiles rolling off the assembly line in a precisely timed cadence. The interplay and conflict between nature and industry is fundamental to Detroit’s psyche, and it is played out within the current landscape in fields where once buildings stood, the shattered ruins of formerly high production industrial facilities.
This sense of emptiness, of vestigial civilization, of visceral pushback against the ravages of the anthropocentric period, is very well captured in City of Queen Anne’s Lace, a two-person exhibit at Wasserman Projects in Detroit, featuring two Cuban artists, José Yaque and Alejandro Campins, and curated by Rafael DiazCasas. Both artists and the curator spent a long time in Detroit to develop and execute the project as guests of Wasserman Projects, and sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Cuban Art Fund.
The founder of Wasserman Projects, Gary Wasserman, had met Campins in Havana, amidst the preparation for the Biennial held in 2015. Wasserman was working on a lecture in which he drew a parallel between Detroit and Havana.