HISTART 431-001

Made in Detroit: A History of Art and Culture in the Motor City

G026 Tisch
TTh 11:30-1:00pm
3 Credit Seminar
Cross listed with AMCULT 433-001

The embodiment of "Modern Times" was the assembly line and Detroit, dubbed "the capital of the Twentieth Century" played an important symbolic role in the modern imagination. Yet while artists depicted Detroit's industry as an abstract emblem of twentieth century progress—and later of dystopian decline—the city has a complicated labor, racial, and political history that makes it and its art different from that of any other place. This seminar examines how Detroit has been presented in modern art, and the role that the arts and architecture have played in the city from the 1880's to the present. We will consider both works produced in Detroit that defined technology and urban culture for the world and those that have particular local histories, from the sleek factories that heralded modern architecture in America to the artificial past that Henry Ford assembled at Greenfield Village, from the heroic worker figures of Diego Rivera's murals to the controversies surrounding the Joe Louis monument and the Heidelberg Project, from "ruin porn" and gentrification to prospects for the future.

Advisory pre-requirements: some background in art history, design, American studies, history, or urban studies is recommended; a commitment to learning more about Detroit is essential

Cost of books: not more than $150.

HISTART Categories for concentration distributions: D. Europe and the US, 4. Modern and Contemporary.

Permission of instructor required. Please email rzurier@umich.edu to learn more about the class.