In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Detroit:How to Live in the City
  • Bernard Yenelouis (bio)

The 2013 filing for bankruptcy by the city of Detroit outlined in bureaucratic terms a sea change of effects wrought by decades of economic shifts and downturn in the automobile industry with which it has been synonymous since the early twentieth century. The city is old yet its history has been tethered to the car, as if nothing else existed prior to it. Its zeniths of prosperity and expansion occurred in the years before the Great Depression in the 1930s and the oil crisis of the 1970s.

When I returned to Detroit after an absence of almost two decades I realized that my claims as a native son, as a local, were now more imaginary than tactile. Most of what I could touch was not what I knew. My memories had almost no physical place. They were burnt and bulldozed like so much else.

As I photographed the architecture of the city I supplemented my own work with scavenged ephemera: family snapshots, images of civic boosterism, newspaper reportage. I considered these images as equivalents to the physical ruins of the city. These images echoed Fordist production in generating visual models of family, home, and daily life, and which have fallen into spectral anonymity.

The work has been presented as a gallery installation, slide lecture, and artist’s book.

Unless otherwise indicated, all historical photographs are the work of unknown photographers, in the personal collection of Bernard Yenelouis.


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Above: School pageant depicting the founding of Detroit, 1951 Below: Secretary, General Motors Overseas, 1966
(Page 5)


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First Communion, Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak, 1967
(Page 31)


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Bernard Yenelouis
First Federal Savings Plaza, 2009
(Page 39)


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Parade, Ford Auditorium, Civic Center, ca. 1956
(Page 58-59)


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Bernard Yenelouis
James Scott Memorial Fountain, Belle Isle Park, 2010
Architect: Cass Gilbert, 1925
(Page 80)


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Brad Iverson Belle
Isle Men’s Room, 1972
Courtesy of Brad Iverson
(Page 81)


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Mother’s Day, 1959
(Page 88-89)


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Dick Sheldon
Strikers in the cafeteria in the Fisher body plant number three, Flint, Michigan, 1937
Film nitrate negative, Library of Congress (Farm Security Administration/ Office of War Information Collection, LC–USF34–040026–D)
(Page 114)


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Such Crust IV, Detroit Memorial Regatta, Woodward Avenue, 1952
(Page 115)


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Image: Bernard Yenelouis
Storefront, Broadway Street, 2010
(Page 117)

Bernard Yenelouis

Bernard Yenelouis is an artist and writer. He has had solo exhibitions, Shelter and The Idea of Detroit, at the Kristi Engle Gallery, Los Angeles; he has been in group shows at Momenta Art, Winkleman Curatorial Research Lab, Art in the Anchorage, Four Walls, the Camera Club of New York and at the Kravets|Wehby, Monya Rowe, Sue Scott, and RARE galleries in New York City and at Complimenta and Standard Art Supply and Souvenir in Ithaca. His slide presentation Anarchiving Detroit was given at the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies/International Center of Photography MFA symposium Memories Can’t Wait, and his presentation Photography and Now was presented at the “Jetzt: Contemporary and Historical Figurations of the Present” symposium held by the Department of German Studies, Cornell University. His writing has appeared in 10x10 American Photobooks, Conveyor, Pastelegram, and Bomb. Yenelouis studied at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and in the MFA program in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6539
Print ISSN
0300-7162
Pages
pp. 5-117
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-17
Open Access
No
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