Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters, the band started by Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, was a crucial part of my adolescence. I really wanted to include Jim and Mike as individual artists and also separately give a nod to their band. This is one of four amazing banners they created. We couldn’t include all of them because they would have taken up the whole gallery. Destroy All Monsters Collective (Mike Kelley, Carey Loren, Jim Shaw). Courtesy of the artists and the Estate of Mike Kelley.

“An exhibition about Detroit is not going to be contained in a couple of Chelsea galleries,” says the curator Todd Levin. “It couldn’t even be contained in a large institution the size of MoMA.” Which perhaps explains why Levin, who lived in the Motor City until he was 30, opted for a highly personal point of view in assembling Another Look at Detroit, his two-century celebration of the city opening June 26 (through August 8) at Marianne Boesky Gallery and Marlborough Chelsea. “The exhibition isn’t about me, but in the end, it’s about the things that affected how I thought about art at many different stages in my life,” he says. Some of the contributors included were born in the city, others were inspired by it from afar or just happened to pass through, but all managed to convert the raw energy of Detroit into something lasting. You’ll find original LPs from Metroplex Records; pieces from Anna Sui’s first collection; 19th century landscapes by Ronald Duncanson and works by contemporary artists such as Nick Cave, Julie Mehretu, Dana Schutz, Jim Shaw, and the late Mike Kelley. Of course, no show about Detroit’s innovation would be complete without a sampling of automobilia (1957 Cadillac adverts, Diego Rivera’s portrait of Edsel B. Ford) or the standouts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art (classic pieces from Harry Bertoia and Charles and Ray Eames). Here, Levin walks us through a few highlights.