Kaws in the D!

Written by: Fajr Strong

I have not witnessed anything this exciting in art and culture since I was accepted into College for Creative Studies 2003. That is a bold ass statement. On Friday May 18th, the Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans (the financial tech giant) had KAWS deliver and install KAWS statues as public art – right smack dab in the middle of the Five Points Grid: Woodward Avenue – in the heart of Downtown Detroit. This is the latest edition of public art exhibits from some of the strongest names in art; Binion McArthur, Obey Giant, Sydney, James and KAWS.

Public Arts – Detroit – Google Images: From left to right: Obey Giant – Sydney G. James

The 17-foot bronzed statue entitled “Waiting” by globally recognized contemporary artist KAWS stands as an installation in front of the One Campus Martius— a great site to witness. I sat back to watch the reactions and interactions as passersby discussed and even debated, offering some good and not-so-good critiques. Detroit is still undergoing its evolutionary changes. There are still Metro Detroiters who are conservative and not yet ready to move with the wave of creative progress and its bright bursts of artisan, creative cultural dialogue and output. Nevertheless, the movement is happening. I do not see it slowing down anytime soon.

A 17-foot statue titled "Waiting" by artist KAWS overlooks Campus Martius in Detroit, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (Photo: Kathleen Galligan, Detroit Free Press)

It is a good shock to the system to see a gigantic installation in the center of the courtyard.

There have been tons of propaganda in various parts of Brooklyn calling on cool and creative folks to become implants of Detroit. The cost of living is extraordinarily affordable, with similar architectural influences and a hipster vibe. KAWS is a huge indication that things are growing in Detroit. KAWS codex of contributions indicates that Detroit is approaching a new era. The Disney comparison is uncanny with the “X-X” eyes symbolizing what Detroit is all about; new energy, new businesses opening and thriving. The cultural diversity is becoming obvious.

I can see Dan Gilbert and his wife Jennifer will likely be commissioning more installations and public displays in Detroit.