Monday, December 27, 2010

$180,000 in Detroit

This is what $180,000 will get you in Detroit.

No, not the houses. The artwork.



And this is what you get?

For far less money those houses could have been turned into livable houses instead of displays of people’s weirdness and lack of aesthetic judgment.

I know I am revealing that I am not much of an artist, but give me Rembrandt or Ansel Adams over this junk (literally). Or Monet even. I would even take Rockwell. Or one of my favorite paintings, Nighthawks. (I am not sure why I like this picture. It just conveys an eerie sense of loneliness and hopelessness for the man sitting alone.)

For $180,000 those six artists could have been hired to do something productive for the community. They could have been given real jobs. Have them hang a sheet of drywall, or teach them to replace an electrical socket or something. Paint a wall or mop a floor.

Of course, I am all for the free market, and if I could have gotten a bit of this money for something like this I would have taken it. So I don’t begrudge these artists for taking the money of someone who lacks the sense to put it to good use.

But having spent the last six weeks or so working on my house and actually turning it into something livable for far less money, I know $180,000 and a few mediocre skills combined with a willingness to try a few things can actually turn into something acceptable. Grand even for that amount of money.

Or you can find someone to give you a bunch of money to clean out a trash dumpster and hang the junk up in an abandoned house.

One day I will post a few pictures and you can compare my artwork to theirs and see if I should have gotten a bit of the handout.


Patrick Berryman said...

In Detroit they should have added this piece of art to the homes:

Scott Buchanan said...

I'm not sure that the high-brow contemporary art that was employed here was the right solution (perhaps with the exception of the first black-and-white one), but urban art actually can have a significant benefit for a community. Much of the difficulty of revitalizing a failing community is keeping the hope of recovery alive, and art can be a great way to do that. It supports morale and discourages vandalism/graffiti. The problem in Detroit is not a lack of housing, so putting the money towards remodeling the homes would not have been a better solution. What would have been better would have been to hire local artists to create art that could be appreciated by the masses.