Virtual artworks are taking up residence in Detroit’s landmark buildings

An ethereal exhibition staged by Library Street Collective gallery

Contemporary art meets historic architecture in a new virtual exhibition, which is digitally adding artworks to some of Detroit’s landmark buildings.

The SITE: Art and Architecture in the Digital Space exhibition – set up by the city’s Library Street Collective gallery – features sculpture, light installations and paintings, all of which have been re-created in digital form and placed throughout Detroit’s 120-year-old State Savings Bank, designed by McKim, Mead & White.

Phillip K. Smith III, Portal 8, 2016-19. (Image courtesy the artist and Library Street Collective; image and rendering by James Haefner)

The gallery worked together with photographer James Haefner, using his images of Detroit’s historic buildings as backdrops for the exhibition. After standing empty for 20 years, the State Savings Bank was partially restored in 2014 and reopened to the public four years later.

Its grand Beaux-Arts hall is now home to a virtual version of Daniel Arsham’s bronze eroded Venus de Milo. Elsewhere in the building, Phillip K Smith III’s Portal light piece digitally beams out from the bank’s weathered walls, alongside Rachel Rossin’s hybrid hologram-painting, Leda, and Kennedy Yanko’s industrial SHELTER sculpture.

Library Street Collective plans to host more editions of the exhibition in other buildings across Detroit in the coming weeks. It will donate 10% of the proceeds from works sold to the city’s Ruth Ellis Center – a non-profit that provides support to LGBTQ youth and young adults of colour facing housing issues.

José Parlá, San Lázaro y Genios La Habana Cuba, 2014. (Image courtesy the artist and Library Street Collective; image and rendering by James Haefner)
Rachel Rossin, Leda, 2019. (Image courtesy the artist and Library Street Collective; image and rendering by James Haefner)
Kadar Brock, guts the wanderer, guts by the sea, the artist’s hand paints the world, the egg of the king, i wish i was albert oehlen, 2018. (Image courtesy the artist and Library Street Collective; image and rendering by James Haefner)
Simphiwe Ndzube, Many Many Silences and In the Order of Elephants After the Rain (II-I). (Image courtesy the artist, Library Street Collective, and Nicodim Gallery; image and rendering by James Haefner)
Kennedy Yanko, SHELTER, 2020. (Image courtesy the artist and Library Street Collective; image and rendering by James Haefner)
Courtesy of Library Street Collective; photography: James Haefner

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