Monday, May 25, 2015

5/24 Detroit Institute of Arts & Downtown

I escaped the state park hoards today to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts.  It is a fantastic art museum in the Cultural Center area of Detroit.  The Cultural Center includes Wayne State University, the Detroit Science Center, the African American History Museum, the DIA, and several other smaller facilities. The DIA is famous for having murals covering the walls of a large courtyard area done by Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera in the 1920s, commissioned by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford. 

Unfortunately the last major addition to the museum made the back of the museum the main entrance which is a shame because the front of the building is really impressive. 

This building across the street from the museum is the main branch of the Detroit Public Library.  I spent a lot of time here when I was in high school as our community did not have a public library and this one was the best in the area.

This is the main entrance hall of the DIA.  Much more impressive than the new back door! 

 And the Great Hall, just beyond the entrance, and before the Rivera Courtyard.

The next few photos are of the Rivera murals. There were so many people, I had trouble getting all of it in, but there is a lot of meaning and people hidden in these images.  Rivera was a communist and tucked in bits and pieces when he could.  He also used Ford employees and popular people for his models.  

This shows airplanes being built for war and for peace.  Note the guys on the right wearing gas masks.  The unseen panel just to the right of it shows the Michigan pharmaceutical industry, so the artist is showing here how industry can cause poisons as well as chemicals for good uses.

This group of images shows the nurturing of the earth and plants.

And this one shows the mining of coal and other materials for industry. The hands are struggling to escape from the sand and coal.

On the bottom panel is the blast furnaces making steel at the Rouge Plant in Dearborn.  I always look for my grandfather in this picture because he worked in the foundry as a foreman from 1915 to 1948. 

A close-up of the bottom portion of the above.

There are a series of panels along the bottom on both the north and south wall, and this is the final one showing the workers heading home at the end of the day, tired and not very happy.  This bridge is also famous for a union uprising.  

More of the blast furnaces and the assembly line that never seems to end.

This is the Palm Court where food has been served for decades.  With the enlargement of the museum a few years ago, two other restaurants have been added.

This is the back side of the museum with a Picasso.

This is the Center for Creative Studies next door.  It is a fully-accredited college offering bachelor and masters degrees for people interested in the arts. You can get a degree in advertising and graphics, fashion, fine arts, interior design, photography, and product design.   A very special place in Detroit!

Could not resist driving through downtown on my way home, even though Woodward avenue was down to two lanes with construction. 

Detroit was hopping!  Not only was there a Tigers game, but the streets were full of people from some kind of music festival on the riverfront.

Woodward is the main road through downtown Detroit.  A lot of buildings are empty, but many have shops and restaurants on the ground floor and apartments above.  Detroit is not quite dead yet!

This clock is a famous landmark that was saved when the old Kern's department store was destroyed.  A new office building was built in its place.

This is the City County Building where I worked for ten months about 11 years ago.  The four towers surrounding the taller building is the General Motors Headquarters with a hotel in the middle.

I was not able to get very good photos of the event on the river, but it was certainly noisy and full of people walking around.
I spent five hours at the DIA, but I really need to go back next time I am in town because I only saw about a third of it.  I also need to go downtown and take some more photos.  


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