Wall flowers

Dec 12, 2007 at 12:00 am

Photos by Jake Cooley and Gary Eleinko


Edward Duffy, who owned a pipe company on West Jefferson Avenue, near Clark, was a big collector of work by 1960s and '70s Cass Corridor artists. An op art mural on the side of the company warehouse, painted by Robert Sestok, is striking evidence of that. Sculpture and paintings decorate the interior as well.


Jake Cooley reports: The "Mondrian Building" is a non-marked, sealed-up building next to a gas station on Harper near Outer Drive on Detroit's east side. The neighborhood was upper-middle class back in the day, and Harper featured tons of higher end stores. Evidence of this can be seen in the art deco-inspired Harper Theatre (now Harpo's). The neighborhood is now mostly poorer residents.


Artist Gary Eleinko reports: Driving westbound on I-94, I saw the most incredible graffiti under some bridges. The locale is under the eastbound exit ramp to West Grand Boulevard. There's a spot where the median widens, and grass and shrubs are planted (daffodils in the spring), and at the western end behind several bridges is this wall of graffiti. It appears, in passing at high speeds, to be two separate paintings. The southern graffiti is a vibrant, rococo signature perhaps, while the northern half is a darker, moodier abstract in black, pink, blue and orange.


More expressway art, along the lines of the "Object Orange" houses signaling city blight, is visible along both I-94 and the Lodge.

"The burnt-out house sits on a street that abuts to 94," says Jake Cooley, who snapped this pic of the pylons a couple of months ago. "The neighborhood is by the Boulevard in the shadow of those nursing homes."

Art that's seemingly by the same workers appears when traveling north on the Lodge, near the Davison Freeway exits. Three orange cones and a large mirror are affixed to a crumbling structure, teaching us to see ourselves in the environment. The mirror also reflects the atmosphere, framing cool blue and grey amid the ashened black.

Rebecca Mazzei is Metro Times arts and culture editor. Send along your photos to [email protected]