‘To display, and parade, half a house is a meaningful act’


From Bad Subjects:

In the lot behind MOCAD the Mobile Homestead demi-house rested upon a trailer drawn by a truck. As noon approached the various speakers at the dedication began to assemble and mill around inside it, until they realized it was unsuitable as a green room in which to wait their turns. The dedication began with remarks from the Chair of the Board of Directors of MOCAD, Marsha Miro. She called the Mobile Homestead the “first major public sculpture in Detroit in a long time”, and extolled its “two European sponsors, of a piece in Detroit, really extraordinary”. She pointed out that “Mobile Homestead” will be attached to another piece, to be called “Home”, with two lower levels, dug into the ground. The completed structure is to serve as an artist’s studio or a “place to be underground”. As she noted that “Mobile Homestead” is its public part, one wondered if the other—the private—part would be market-rate housing, owned by MOCAD? This could be a good gift to a cultural institution. Or perhaps Kelley’s own piece of Detroit real estate?

Kelley is quoted in the handout “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 persona 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…” The ellipsis suggests hesitation, or the text may be drawn from a longer document. This “secret side” reminds one how in Ann Arbor Pioneer High School 1972-’73, there was a group of lads (not this review’s author, but friends) who had a private locked room in the school, ostensibly the headquarters of the ENACT Environmental Action Club, reminiscent of the dichotomy Kelley describes.

“Can’t Forget the Motor Kelley: Mobile Homestead at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit”, Mike Mosher, Bad Subjects

View a slideshow of the Launch of Mobile Homestead here