One of the cool things I like about riding my bicycle throughout Detroit’s neighborhoods is the outdoor art I see. I’ve seen alphabet blocks stacked in a way to spell out simple messages. I’ve also seen mounds of dirt and cement painted in vibrant, glowing colors. On Oakland Street north of East Grand Boulevard, I stumbled upon three brightly painted, orange metal sculptures of tall, lean figures in a field. They all carry poles that remind me of spears. The figures are placed as if they are walking across the field.
There are many other outdoor art installations I’ve spotted on my rides, including those that are constructed of throw-away materials such as bricks, old pieces of metal and wood. That type reminds me of urban folk-art. Others I’ve seen are well designed, sophisticated sculpture installations such as the one I recently saw in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.
That particular African looking sculpture is very similar to the three I saw and wrote about in February 2011. Like those, this one is quite similar in style, color, stature, etc. I would assume it was done by the same artist. However, this version is much more ornate and decorative. Unlike the others, this one is blowing a fugal horn (or something similar), carrying a brass colored bow with animal horns at the top, and it’s trimmed in various other metal pieces.
A few blocks away on Second Avenue, near the city’s Historic Boston-Edison neighborhood, there is a series of six urban folk-art sculptures. The pieces are constructed of discarded plastic children’s toys, laundry baskets, flip-flops, orange plastic fencing, yellow construction hats, discarded auto parts and many other plastic items we all see in our daily travels and generally take for granted. Each of the six pieces is color coordinated, and they stand independently of each other. The interesting sculptures add color and interest to an otherwise unassuming, overgrown field near the street corner where they are located.
Over in the North Corktown neighborhood is a bicycle sculpture that runs the length of a sidewalk. It is made of 10 bikes, all aligned single file as if they are following each other. However these bikes start off in one piece as they move forward from one to the next, each slowly deteriorates, as if they have been hit by a car or something. All of the bikes in the sculpture piece are monochromatic silver and all look to be ordinary road bikes that have been reclaimed for the installation.
Over at the Grand River Creative Corridor, amid a hotbed of graffiti and colorful wall murals, stands a white horse. It’s a simple, beautifully proportioned white horse made of plywood. It’s called “Of Course, Of Course.” Sitting atop the horse is a nude female rider, and that makes me wonder if this piece may have been be modeled after Lady Godiva. The unassuming, simple piece looks at ease in the tall grass field where it stands.