Archive for September, 2012

Possible Detroit “Street Art”

September 12, 2012

Body Parts of Great Detroiters

What I would do to the downtown?  What would I do with the downtown?  What’s happening downtown?  What happened to downtown?  Here are a few ideas:

1. Save a small pile of rubble from the torn down “Motown Building.”    Build a colorful and well designed “artistic” stage right next to it or on top of it.  Then hire a group of Motown musicians and singers to play music.  This could be a mixture of the famous and the more obscure acts.  Show the concert on a giant T.V. screen projected above the vehicles parked in the new parking lot.

2. Have a special “bulk trash” delivery.  People can deliver their large trash objects to a vacant area.  Monitors could broadcast live footage of these objects being delivered to the landfill or trash heap.  Flyers could be passed out explaining just where these larger things go after they’ve been discarded.

Flyers could also be passed out somewhere along these lines: “Citizens of Detroitnow that your bulk pick-up times have been reduced or eliminated please don’t go dumping your larger refuse anywhere you please.  You can’t dump an old refrigerator off in the nearest vacant lot.  You shouldn’t dump that torn up golf bag in the middle of the street.  You really ought not leave that old sofa seat by the curb four blocks away from where you live.  This creates more work for the police, makes the city uglier and will cost taxpayers more money instead of saving it.  Thank you.”

This art event should make people think about the city’s trash realities and be fun too.  The incinerator and its workings should also be given its proper do.

3. United Artists: in memory of the late great art project on the “United Artists” building, artists could come together and redo some of the windows in another prime abandoned building.  If the windows have been smashed out, you can just make new ones out of cardboard or wood and paint on those.  Let the crowds of spectators have a little taste of what they’ve missed (since downtown’s loveliest art project was done away with).

4. Robert Graham’s sculpture of Joe Louis’s fist could lead to a new Detroit tradition.  Throughout the downtown area we could install a series of large paintings and sculptures:  “Body parts of great Detroiters.”

As Joe Louis was known for his fist, others were known for their mouths.  Some are known for other parts.

No private parts will be permitted.  This display will be safe for the whole family. Likewise, bones and internal organs should not be displayed here, even though this would be educational in its way.

Not every body part displayed need to be tied to a specific Detroiter in a memorable way.  Some could be completely arbitrary.  This would add to see surreal “disconnect” of running into a giant foot, elbow, finger, knee, toe, nose, eye, belly, chest, neck, back, armpit, chin, cheek or head of hair. Yet if someone was a good listener, you could have a big ear.  If someone never or rarely shaved you could show their beard and so on.

5. Install a “temporary aquarium” to delight passing spectators.  Have a huge “heated tent.  Inside of that heated tent, have another smaller heated tent and inside of that, an aquarium.  I would like to install this myself in collaboration with my father, Maurice Greenia.  In his retirement, he’s designed and built a great many aquariums.  Some have tunnels going from one “fishbowl” to another.  He’s also designed pumps, and filters etc.  We’d find some good fish.  He could show off the fish in his fabulous inventions.

I could work with other artists to help take care of the art part.  This could create a unique environment.  We could have costumes of people dressed up as fish and sea creatures.  We could have paintings, sculptures and watch what goes on in the water.

6.  Recreate the “graveyard” of Americans killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  This was done once before,  in the east side of Grand Circus Park.  It was during a protest.  There were respectful markers for each one killed.

One could use the same area and do something similar.  I would extend it by having an “information booth” with has flyers, posters etc. detailing Iraqi and Afghan casualties and deaths.  Some would celebrate their lives while others would protest the way they died.  Some would do both.

Then I would extend it again to respect and to question all those who seem to have died before their time.  Then I would extend it still further to question the meaning of life as opposed to death and acceptance of death as part of life, and whether it can be both at once.

7.  Do a project with fifty artists.  25 would be younger artists and 25 would be veterans.  Find a strong piece from each.  Make them into posters.  Place these on empty buildings downtown.  We could use special glue to make them more easily removable, if the city government insisted on it.

At the bottom of each poster have a map and message.  This will indicate a temporary gallery nearby.  There, one could purchase the original art  or a poster of the same.  Here one could see all fifty works.  They’d be in one spot instead of scattered around downtown.

Maurice Greenia,  Jr.    January 21 to 24, 2006

PS: As of September 2012, the Belle Isle aquarium is reopening.  The hours and days open have been reduced.  Only some of the tanks contain live fish.  It’s a start though.  Something is far better than nothing, in this case.