Metro Weekly

Gallery: SITE at the Library Street Collective

The digital exhibition benefits at-risk LGBTQ youth and young adults of color.

site, library street collective, gallery

Site State Savings Bank — Phillip K. Smith III

A grand, century-old symbol of Detroit’s economic glory days, the decaying edifice of the Historic State Savings Bank has recently inspired a group of eight international contemporary artists who were invited to create site-specific, mixed-media installations challenging notions of time, history, and reality.

A planned series from Motor City’s Library Street Collective in partnership with architectural photographer James Haefner, SITE: Art and Architecture in the Digital Space, according to the exhibition’s official description, “is entirely digital, and so the art displayed is skillfully and seamlessly rendered into its environment.”

It’s also an online presentation with a significant real-world benefit, as 10 percent of the proceeds from art sales will be donated to the Ruth Ellis Center, which works to provide help and shelter for Detroit’s at-risk LGBTQ youth and young adults of color.

The exhibition features Daniel Arsham’s Bronze Eroded Venus de Milo, an intentionally decayed-looking bronze replica of a celebrated Greek marble statue with its own complicated history and housed at the Louvre in Paris.

There’s also José Parlá’s San Lázaro y Genios, an abstract sculptural painting based on wall facades of an intersection in Havana that the artist presents here as an intriguing, complementary juxtaposition within the worn facades of the historic bank, and Rachel Rossin’s Leda, a “Hologram Combine” merging traditional painting techniques with augmented-reality technologies that are intended, according to the artist, to give the viewer “a glimpse of our slow fade into an increasingly virtual world.”

Another highlight is Phillip K. Smith III’s Portal 8, a fiberglass structure enhanced through the use of automotive paint, electronic components, LED lighting, and a unique color program, part of the artist’s ongoing series of three-dimensional light works, each created with an eye toward “revealing its slow shift over time.”

“I like the idea of the portal,” Smith says in an official statement, “this pure, all-white, low-sheen, ultra-smooth fiberglass form contrasting against the raw nature of the kind of worn plaster and dusty walls of the upper mezzanine at the State Savings Bank.”

Site State Savings Bank — Daniel Arsham

Site State Savings Bank — Simphiwe Ndzube

Site State Savings Bank — Kennedy Yanko

Site State Savings Bank — José Parlá

To view the full exhibition, visit

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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