Detroit was my student art project

Because the hipsters think Baltimore is now too safe:

But the city offers a much greater attraction for artists than $100 houses. Detroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished. From Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project (think of a neighborhood covered in shoes and stuffed animals and you’re close) to Matthew Barney’s “Ancient Evenings” project (think Egyptian gods reincarnated as Ford Mustangs and you’re kind of close), local and international artists are already leveraging Detroit’s complex textures and landscapes to their own surreal ends.

In a way, a strange, new American dream can be found here, amid the crumbling, semi-majestic ruins of a half-century’s industrial decline. The good news is that, almost magically, dreamers are already showing up. Mitch and Gina have already been approached by some Germans who want to build a giant two-story-tall beehive. Mitch thinks he knows just the spot for it.

I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a Detroit house party – show up in Detroit, buy a house, do whatever the hell you want in a giant party, and head out. But more seriously, this article has a lot to say about how to compress a dying city. Detroit has a lot of possibility, but it will be a long, hard slog.

[Edit: I wrote this about a week ago, but here the New York Times has a very similar article on entrepreneurship in Detroit. When I visited China a year ago, one thing that struck me was the palpable energy on the street. It was exciting – everyone was trying to do something, start up a small business (for pirated DVDs most often) or a little cart of food. I felt a little of that with the food carts in Portland; maybe Detroit is finally beginning to have some of its own energy.]

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