01 July 2009

Detroit, the new Brooklyn?

Now, some people compare downtown Los Angeles and even Venice Beach to various cities in Brooklyn, and I dislike the patronizing insinuation that L.A. is only a lesser version of New York. However, I can appreciate the notion that somewhat dodgy towns can re-invent themselves with the arrival of avant garde (or, perhaps more accurately - struggling artist) inhabitants. Both Downtown and Venice have been re-born in this manner, and both boast an increasinly rich variety of culinary and cultural offerings. (Of the two, I prefer Downtown).

The latest broken-down city to herald the emergence of broke, young artists is none other than Detroit, Michigan. What a tremendous boon for the city who has seen nothing but turmoil, unraveling hopes and bankruptcy the last few years. With the Kresge Foundation's grant of $450,000 to 18 visual artists, it appears a similar renaissance could be on the horizon for Motor City, as well. See Flavorwire for more info.

On a selfish level, I like to think of the young, poor and creative as the saviors of society. With little in the way of responsibility, and few materials to tinker with, these are the ones who dare to think outside the established order. Few distractions and even fewer restrictions in the presence of a burning desire to survive spark some of the world's best ideas. Desperation can also be debilitating, so keep it coming, Patrons of the Arts.

(Note to L.A.'s resident billionaires - Grab a clue from Eli Broad (the man knows a thing or two about smart investments) and support your city's art scene! MOCA, LACMA & others are more than storehouses of pretty crap - they fuel dreams and inspire revolutions. Duh.)

Photograph by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


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