"Without straying into politics, [Detroit Disassembled is] an eloquent plea for new national policies aimed at helping places like Detroit and Cleveland survive and become more competitive....With strong projects such as the Moore exhibition, the Akron museum is demonstrating a desire to animate its new galleries with shows that justify a significant community investment. It is, quite simply, a knockout."
- Steve Litt, The Plain Dealer
National Building Museum
September 30, 2012 - February 18, 2013
Akron Art Museum
June 5 - October 10, 2010
Andrew Moore’s photographs of the Motor City are sublime—beautiful, operatic in scale and drama, tragic yet offering a glimmer of hope. They are the subject of Detroit Disassembled, an exhibition organized by the Akron Art Museum making its debut here before touring nationally. Detroit, once the epitome of our nation’s industrial wealth and might, has been in decline for almost a half-century. The city is now one-third empty land—more abandoned property than any American city except post-Katrina New Orleans.
Moore’s images, printed on the scale of epic history paintings, belong to an artistic tradition that began in the 17th century. Numerous artists have used ruins to remind their viewers of the fall of past great civilizations and to warn that contemporary empires risk the same fate. Moore’s soaring scenes of rusting factory halls and crumbling theaters share the monumentality of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 18th century engravings of the fallen civic monuments of ancient Rome and Greece. His photographs of skeletal houses and collapsed churches carry forward the Romantic tone and rich hues of Caspar David Friedrich’s 19th century paintings of fallen medieval cathedrals and castles. Although hard to believe that Moore's post-apocalyptic scenes reflect present-day America, he has been scrupulously honest, creating photographs that are both documentary and metaphorical in nature.
Watch behind-the-scenes footage that includes interviews with Andrew Moore, exhibition curator Barbara Tannenbaum and funders Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell in this Detroit Disassembled documentary produced by Western Reserve PBS. Click HERE to watch on demand.
The Takeaway Presents: Art or "Ruin Porn": The Appeal of a Ruined City to Artists
Listen below as Takeaway hosts John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee discuss "ruin porn" as it relates to Andrew Moore's most recent body of work in Detroit. Click HERE to go directly to The Takeaway's official website.
This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum and made possible by a major gift from Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell with additional support from the John A. McAlonan Fund of Akron Community Foundation. The accompanying publication is underwritten by Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell with additional funding from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.