Realtor visionary art
Realtor magazine progressive art
1920s art deco magazine cover
1920s visionary urban art
1920s Art Deco cover art
Buffalo Pan American Expo poster
Ford Rouge modernism
Ford Rouge modernism

photographer Charles Sheeler put Henry Ford on the international radar with his photo shoot of the Rouge Auto Complex, the world's largest

Guardian Building gallery
Guardian Building gallery

1930 skyscraper in downtown Detroit has stunning mural and mosaic idealizing progress in Michigan

Guardian building gallery entrance
Guardian building gallery entrance

1930 skyscraper in downtown Detroit is architect Wirt Rowland's Art Deco masterpiece

Streetscape mural in Montreal
Streetscape mural in Montreal

in Montreal's Quartier des Spectacle, outdoor art accents the cultural facilities in the city center

Willis Street sculpture garden
Willis Street sculpture garden

Detroit's epidemic of vacant land has been a perfect host for spontaneous outdoor exhibitions

10 story mural in Detroit North End
10 story mural in Detroit North End

West Grand Boulevard studio provides massive infusion of color to the somewhat vacated industrial corridor of Milwaukee Junction

southwest Detroit mural
southwest Detroit mural

building size mural in southwest Detroit reflects hispanic culture of that section

The Great Cities' zenith early in the 20th century inspired an international avant garde movement celebrating ordinary elements of the built environment, with music, architecture, film and performance innovations.

Starting with Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand's 1921 classic "Manhatta" (left), wordless collages include (clockwise): the Russian "Man with a Movie Camera" (1929, Dziga Vertov), Floret's "Skyscraper Symphony" (1929), Ruttmann's "Barlin: Symphony of a Great City" (1927). 

The ART: 

images, words, ideas, feelings

Writers from Walt Whitman to Charles Dickens  were fascinated by burgeoning 19th century places, and poets from Langston Hughes to today's slam poets grew from gritty 20th century cities:

Design and architecture invoked classical civilizations, such as in these trade journals and event posters (right), and paid tribute to other cultures (bottom).

The Jewel Box Conservatory
World's Fair Pavilion
Adler Planetarium
Chicago's Chinatown
Bronzeville statue in Chicago
southwest Detroit Mexican mural
elevated train in Chicago southside
Detroit Depression-era jobs program
Public space on Chicago's lakefront

You don't have to have money, status, power. You may be down, but you will not be excluded. Beautiful public spaces (right) are everywhere.

Cities have driven popular music for over a century. Harlem Jazz, Memphis Rockabilly, Detroit's Motown, Seattle grunge...

"A Great Day in Harlem" (below), a collection of 57 jazz greats, from the Art Kane archives (www.harlem org)




    What happens to a dream deferred?


    Does it dry up

    like a raisin in the sun?

    Or fester like a sore—

    And then run?

    Does it stink like rotten meat?

    Or crust and sugar over—

    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags

    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?


Langston Hughes, “Harlem” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes.