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Andrew Moore: Detroit Disassembled by Philip…

Andrew Moore: Detroit Disassembled (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Philip Levine (Author), Andrew Moore (Photographer)

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Title:Andrew Moore: Detroit Disassembled
Authors:Philip Levine (Author)
Other authors:Andrew Moore (Photographer)
Info:Damiani/Akron Art Museum (2010), Edition: First Edition, 136 pages
Collections:Your library

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Andrew Moore: Detroit Disassembled by Andrew Moore (2010)

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    Modern Ruins by Shaun O'Boyle (Anonymous user)

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This is a book about Detroit that is both wretched and beauiful at the same time. Detroit is the largest rust-belt city that has lost more than half its population in the last 60 years (the others are Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Buffalo). All these cities have stretches of neighborhoods that have lost 95% of their population, but Detroit seems vaster. This is the wretchedness.

The beauty comes form the artfulness of the photographer, Andrew Moore, the ability to feel a poignancy when looking at some of the photographs. There is a sense of hope in some of them, that with a little bit of effort, some of the buildings could be reclaimed, such as the Polish Yacht Club and the University Club. There is even a picture of the interior shot of the Guardian Building downtown, which I believe is still funcioning is all its Art Deco grandeur.

The scenes of the Michigan Central Depot are well known. I remember visitng there when Amtrak still used the bottom floor. For a while in the 1970's there was some effort to keep it up. However, the number of Amtrak trains to Chicago have never numbered more than three round trips a day. There was a connection to Toledo that ran once a day in each direction, as well as a commuter train to Ann Arbor. The MC Depot was in a distinctly out-of-the-way location, so even in the 1920's one had to make special efforts for this place which doubled as an office building fo the Michigan Central Railroad. When that railroad was fully integrated inot the New York Central system before the building finished, there was never a need for the vast office space. The other problem with this place as a rail station was that ther really active coommuter rail ran on the Grand Trunk Western (a subsidiary of the Canadian National) and its main depot was on Brush Street in the actual downtown. There was a third station that got abandoned in 1971 when Amtrak came into being, and trains to Grand Rapids and to Ohio and West Virginia destination were abandoned. The Brush Street Depot was torn down to make way for the Renaissance Center opening around 1977, and the Fort Street Union Depot on the eastern side of downtown was torn down to make way for the new campus of Wayne County Community College.

Philip Levine writes a nice encapsulation of the book towards the end, called Nobody's Detroit. He mentions (as well as Andrew Moore in another short essay, the motto Detroit took on after a big 1805 fire, Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus: " We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes." This is a grand hope now that the city has gone into full-fledged bankruptcy. ( )
  vpfluke | Mar 1, 2014 |
What was once America’s fourth largest city, spread across 138 square miles, is now one-third empty land. Many of these empty stretches are now fields of high grass.

Detroit Disassembled
is a collection of photographs taken by Andrew Moore in 2008-9 for an exhibit at the Akron Art Museum (and then national tour), illustrating the decay of Detroit’s civic, industrial, and private buildings, with a general eye toward the “recycling of human construction by nature.”

Moore’s images are powerful but perhaps objective, even in the selection of what content is covered; it’s the accompanying essay by poet (and former Detroit-er) Philip Levine that brings an emotional connection to Detroit. ( )
  DetailMuse | Aug 10, 2011 |
This book is a catalog of an exhibit at the Akron Art Museum showing the photographs of Detroit's decay. A third of the city is now vacant, with grassy fields and buildings falling apart. I saw the exhibit at the museum and liked it so much I bought the book. These are excellent photos that show what is going on from a lot of different angles. Sometimes it is showing the remains of something artistic, and other times scenes of collapse. There are also a few pictures of extant buildings. In this category I like the pictures of the commodores of the Polish Yacht Club.

The only reason I gave the book four stars is that the pictures were much more impressive enlarged at the museum, but this is still a great, but melancholy book. ( )
  lemuel | Sep 1, 2010 |
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The photographs in this book were taken in 2008 and 2009.
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No longer the Motor City of boom-time industry, the city of Detroit has fallen into an incredible state of dilapidation since the decline of the American auto industry after the Second World War. Today, whole sections of the city resemble a war zone, its once-spectacular architectural grandeur reduced to vacant ruins. In Detroit Disassembled, photographer Andrew Moore records a territory in which the ordinary flow of time-or the forward march of the assembly line-appears to have been thrown spectacularly into reverse. For Moore, who throughout his career has been drawn to all that contradicts or seems to threaten America's postwar self-image Detroit's decline affirms the carnivorousness of our earth, as it seeps into and overruns the buildings of a city that once epitomized humankind's supposed supremacy. In Detroit Disassembled, Moore locates both dignity and tragedy in the city's decline, among postapocalyptic landscapes of windowless grand hotels, vast barren factory floors, collapsing churches, offices carpeted in velvety moss and entire blocks reclaimed by prairie grass. Beyond their jawdropping content, Moore's photographs inevitably raise the uneasy question of the long-term future of a country in which such extreme degradation can exist unchecked.… (more)

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