re-living - mike kelley, mobile homestead

Mike Kelley - Mobile Homestead

The links with my ideas for re-living room are - disinvested city, abandoned/dilapidated housing, a reversal of journey - taking the living back to the vacated. The journey itself seemed important - a parade of Kelley's intent - a thrusting in the face of the artist's view of the post-industrial condition. I like the idea that the work allows for the creation of "a permanent dialogue with the community" - a boundary crosser between personal and public art.

Mobile Homestead is a major new work by Mike Kelley. It's both a public sculpture and a private, personal architecture - based on the artist’s childhood home on Palmer Road in Westland, a neighbourhood which primarily housed workers for the Big Three auto makers: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.
On Saturday 25 September 2010, Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead made its maiden voyage from its new home in Midtown Detroit (on the grounds of MOCAD) to return to the “mother ship”, the original Kelley home in the suburbs.
On its way down Michigan Avenue, one of Detroit’s main arteries and passageway to the western suburbs, the mobile home passed through some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods such as the old Irish area of Cork Town; Dearborn, the home of the Ford motor company, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village (Ford’s personal collection of homes and structures associated with great Americans such as Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Rosa Parks); Inkster; Wayne (where Kelley attended Catholic school); and finally Westland where the former Kelley family home still stands.
In a largely disinvested city with many abandoned houses and dilapidated buildings,Mobile Homestead enacts a reversal of the ‘white flight’ that took place in Detroit following the inner city race riots of the 1960s. It does so at a time when the city is exploring new options of renewal by assessing its singular post industrial conditions in an attempt to articulate a new model for American cities.
The sculpture which almost exactly replicates the vernacular architecture of working class neighbourhoods in the American Midwest, brings the suburbs back into the city, and as it travels - on specific missions - the mobile home performs various kinds of community services, establishing a permanent dialogue with the community that houses it. Mike Kelley shot material for a video documentary that focuses on the people and communities who live and work along Michigan Avenue.
Mobile Homestead is artist Mike Kelley’s first public art project anywhere and the first major permanent installation of his work in his hometown. This project is also the first commission by Artangel in the United States and has been produced with support from the LUMA Foundation and in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. The work is also the first contemporary artwork especially commissioned for the Midtown Neighborhood of Detroit.
Mike Kelley: “Mobile Homestead covertly makes a distinction between public art and private art, between the notions that art functions for the social good, and that art addresses personal desires and concerns. Mobile Homestead does both: it is simultaneously geared toward community service and anti-social private sub-cultural activities. It has a public side and a secret side…”
James Lingwood, Co-Director of Artangel: “Mobile Homestead exemplifies the long-term projects Artangel on occasion commits to making happen. It’s an ambitious project that needs a specific place, in this case the city of Detroit. As the project evolves, it’s our hope that the place will need the project too.”

Luis Croquer, Director and Chief Curator, MOCAD: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Mike Kelley, one of Detroit’s greatest artists and Artangel, on this ground breaking project for the city of Detroit. Mobile Homestead is a complex multi-layered work that questions notions of history, site, architecture and most of all expanded notions of sculpture.”

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