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.
Thing Thing, a dynamic group of young artists, designers, and architects, revamps the Mobile Homestead into an experimental recycling workshop. Come watch them melt, mold, compress, inject, and extrude recycled plastic into beautiful objects. Learn about their innovative process of making one-of-a-kind objects with a material commonly reserved for mass production and industrial applications.
Read a full interview with Thing Thing by Curator of Education and Public Engagement Amy Corle here.
Mobile Homestead is a permanent art work by 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 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.
The Mike Kelley 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 the Mobile Homestead on Facebook and 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!
4454 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
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.