Here’s a piece I wrote for the premiere of a new website – Detroit Is It. I was extremely fired up at the time, and remain fired up, on the subject of art market hegemony. For those who enjoy when I rant out my neck about capitalism, enjoy!
And while you’re at it, check out Detroit Is It – looks pretty cool!
For quite a long time, Detroit was divorced from the conventional economy, and everyone —industrial workers, contractors, grocers, and especially artists—lost their association with commerce and the associated process of commodification. In the last two decades, art acquisition and investment have become a high-visibility status symbol for wealthy individuals, many of whom are not interested in art but in diversifying their portfolios—as art has become the new economic futures market. Meanwhile, Detroit has remained firmly disconnected from economic development or speculation of any kind.
What emerged was art from the fringes, borne of the need for representation and self-expression rather than material gains. Art, when untethered from the influence and control of capitalism, is dangerous. I deem it no accident that investment has come to Detroit, determined to wrest power back from a near-sovereign city. Nowadays, when it comes to Detroit, filled with a preponderance of creative and artistic talent, sooner or later someone will ask the fatal question, “Yes, but where is the market?”