Commissioned by Artangel and initially comprising the facade and front third of the Kelley family's ranch-style house, the fragmentary homestead was for two and a half years either being transported on a flatbed truck, secured in a local storage facility, or parked on a lot outside MOCAD; in its goofy and vernacular form, it appeared unsuited for its ostensible purpose of social engagement.
The ground floor, run by MOCAD'S Department of Education and Public Engagement and containing an office for the museum's curator of education, functions like a community center, so far offering resources such as a lending library and trading post.
"Goin' Home," a small exhibition at MOCAD installed for the grand opening of the project this spring, presented the three Mobile Homestead films as well as documentation and e-mails from Kelley.
Though at MOCAD, references to any specific place were oblique, Arceneaux's installations for this show nonetheless resonated with its Midwestern context, demonstrating a postindustrial sensibility that today holds optimism and pessimism in equal balance.
Staged as a journey from darkness into light, the exhibition partitioned MOCAD'S cavernous main gallery, first presenting the visitor with Circle Disk Rotation-Detroit Series, 2010, a dark, disorienting room tempered by a dim light trained on the back wall, in which three plastic fans blew a vertically suspended seventy-inch cardboard circle so that it silently revolved.
Woodward Avenue, the metropolis's most populated artery, and home to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), doubles as a colorful architectural barometer of socioeconomically stratified decay.
Kelley grew up in Westland, a working-class neighborhood of Detroit, and Mobile Homestead, a work in progress initiated this September, will eventually be a fully functioning re-creation of his childhood home (as precise as memory serves), sited on MOCAD's midtown campus in perpetuity and housing an artist residency and various community programs.