About the Museum
  Upcoming Events
  Contact Us
  Facility Rental

Subscribe to MOCAD Become a member to MOCAD

Mobile Homestead in front of Mike Kelley's Westland home, 2012

Click here for the Mobile Homestead downloadable PDF booklet.


Inspired by Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead, MOCAD has embarked on a multi-year examination of artists who seek to establish participatory and socially transformative art. Known primarily as social practice, its practitioners freely blur the lines among art making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism, and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art that often flourishes outside the gallery and museum system.

Click here to learn more.

Current Exhibitions

Prints and Drawings by Dave Eggers
On view February 5 - April 24, 2016

Opening Friday, February 5, 2016, 6-8pm

Please join us for an opening reception with Dave Eggers on Friday, February 5, 2016 from 6 - 8pm. Eggers is an American writer and artist known for books such as The Circle and What Is the What. His artwork has been shown in galleries in the United States and was the subject of a recent exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art.

A selection of prints will be for sale in support of MOCAD’s Education Programs. Download a PDF of prints and price list here.

This exhibition is on view until April 24, 2016.

Little Library Originals: A Collision of Art, Literacy and Community
On view January 15 - April 24, 2016

For Little Library Originals: A Collision of Art, Literacy and Community, 13 miniature libraries created by Detroit artists will be installed inside Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead. This exhibition, curated by Detroit Little Libraries, aims to encourage reading and community cohesion in Detroit, while providing opportunities for visitors to interact with literary culture and the written word in engaging ways. As part of Little Free Library — the movement that has grown to over 30,000 around the world — Detroit Little Libraries goal is to bring their unique artist designed libraries to neighborhoods in Detroit that, with no public library or bookstore, are in critical need of reading materials. Since 2014 Detroit Little Libraries has installed over one hundred Little Free Libraries throughout Detroit with the motto of "take a book, return a book," it has provided access to printed material that might otherwise be inaccessible. An exciting series of programs will accompany the exhibition including readings by many local and national writers, including children's storytime, artist talks, and book clubs.

Participating artists: Barbara Barefield, Loretta Bradfield, Mary Fortuna, Debora Grace, Jesse Kassel, Eno Laget, Kelly O'Hara, Nbubisi Okoye, Rashaun Rucker, John Sauve, Mitchell Schorr, Pam Shapiro, and Fatima Sow.

Little Free Library

The opening reception for Little Library Originals: A Collision of Art, Literacy and Community will be held on Friday, January 15, 2016, 5-8pm, with live jazz music from Metro Detroit Underground and an appearance by Todd Bol, the founder of Little Free Libraries.

Book Deserts in Detroit
Saturday April 16, 11am-1pm
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation)

Mary-Catherine Harrison, Associate Professor of English at the University of Detroit-Mercy, leads a panel discussion about the current state of access to books for children in Detroit. Joining the panel are Nell K. Duke, Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture at the University of Michigan, Satori Shakoor, Executive Director for the Society for the Re-Institutionalization of Storytelling, and Ethriam Cash Brammer, Associate Dean of the Center for Latina/o and Latin American Studies at Wayne State University. Each panelist will touch on their contributions to the community through different literary avenues and the role Little Libraries plays in Detroit.

RSVP on Facebook here


Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead is a permanent art work by the late artist Mike Kelley, located on the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. It's both a public sculpture and a private, personal architecture – based on the artist's childhood home on Palmer Road in Westland, a neighborhood which primarily housed workers for the Big Three auto makers: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

In a largely disinvested city with many abandoned houses and dilapidated buildings, Mobile Homestead enacts a reversal of the 'white flight' that took place in Detroit following the inner city uprisings of the 1960s. It does so at a time when the city is exploring new options of renewal by assessing its singular post-industrial conditions in an attempt to articulate a new model for American cities.

The sculpture, which almost exactly replicates the vernacular architecture of working class neighborhoods in the American Midwest, brings the suburbs back into the city, and as it travels – on specific missions – the mobile home performs various kinds of community services, establishing a permanent dialogue with the community that houses it.

MOCAD’s Department of Education and Public Engagement programs the ground floor of Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead as a community space, as Kelley intended. It is home to projects, events, gatherings, conversations and displays that are created by and for a diverse public, and is intentionally unaffiliated with the Museum’s exhibitions and public programming.

Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead is commissioned by Artangel in association with MOCAD, LUMA Foundation and Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts with the generous support of the Artangel International Circle.

Community programs in Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead are supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

The Mobile Homestead was featured on WDET, learn more and hear the story here.

Keep even more up to date with Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook Instagram

Photo of artist Mike Kelley at the Mobile Homestead Christening Ceremony and Launch, September 25, 2010. Photo courtesy of PD Rearick.


On Saturday, September 25, 2010, the trailer portion of Mobile Homestead, which constitutes the front of the house, made its maiden voyage from its new home in Midtown Detroit to return to the original Kelley home in the suburbs.

On its way down Michigan Avenue, one of Detroit's main arteries and passageway to the western suburbs, the mobile home passed through some of the city's most historic neighborhoods such as the old Irish area of Corktown; Dearborn, the home of the Ford motor company, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village (Ford's personal collection of homes and structures associated with great Americans such as Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Rosa Parks); Inkster; Wayne (where Kelley attended Catholic school); and finally Westland where the former Kelley family home still stands.

Mike Kelley also produced a video documentary that focuses on the people and communities who live and work along Michigan Avenue. The videos, entitled Mobile Homestead Christening Ceremony and Launch, September 25, 2010; Going West on Michigan Avenue from Downtown Detroit to Westland; and Going East on Michigan Avenue from Westland to Downtown Detroit will exhibit at MOCAD, May 11 through July 31, 2013, along with documentation materials, which reveal the process of realizing this major art work.

Mobile Homestead will be fully completed in spring of 2013, when the mobile home will be attached to an altered reconstruction of the Kelley home, to function as a community space.

Mobile Homestead is artist Mike Kelley's first public art project anywhere and the first major permanent installation of his work in his hometown. This project is also the first commission by Artangel in the United States and has been produced with support from the LUMA Foundation and in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Mike Kelley: "Mobile Homestead covertly makes a distinction between public art and private art, between the notions that art functions for the social good, and that art addresses personal desires and concerns. Mobile Homestead does both: it is simultaneously geared toward community service and anti-social private sub-cultural activities. It has a public side and a secret side..." Read Kelley's full essay about the project, written in 2011, here.

Click here for an Audio interview with artist Mike Kelley and Artangel director James Lingwood.


At the core of Mike Kelley's vision for Mobile Homestead's ground floor is community engagement. In its permanent location behind MOCAD, Mobile Homestead integrates into the neighborhood as a clubhouse. Rather than projecting ideas out into the world, Mobile Homestead is about inviting the community’s ideas in.

Visitors are encouraged to suggest and participate in potential events or projects to take place within Mobile Homestead. If you have an idea you want to pitch, you can email us, but the best thing to do is drop by for a visit!

Comments, suggestions, or questions? What do you want to say to us? Email mobilehomestead@mocadetroit.org

Mobile Homestead
4454 Woodward Ave 
Detroit, MI 48201 
Phone 313.832.4944

Mobile Homestead Hours
Friday - Sunday: 11AM - 5PM

All of Mobile Homestead's entrances and public areas are wheelchair accessible.  A wheelchair is available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Service animals are welcome at Mobile Homestead.