This art exhibit focuses on an image taken by artist Wang QingSong called The Bloodstained Shirt (2018). It also shows the process Wang went through to create this image. This image is a remake of the famous drawing The Bloodstained Shirt (1959). You can see this exhibit in UMMA until May.
The message of the artwork relates to communities that have been dispossessed. Detroit is a city that has been plagued by gentrification, especially with the New Detroit movement. Physical gentrification is taking place as high rents shove disadvantaged natural residents out of their homes. At the same time cultural gentrification is taking place because of idiopathic empathy. New ventures and businesses are stealing the stories of the Detroit residents by labelling themselves and their businesses as resilient and making a come back from struggle. This is a facade that is denying the voices of the actual victims of Detroit. One person’s opportunity is often another person’s eviction. The New Detroit movement needs to recognize that they are not saving Detroit, they are taking it over it. Bringing privilege into Detroit and forcing out vulnerable people is not fixing the problem. Art exhibits like this promote collaboration instead of gentrification and hopefully will encourage the people of Detroit to rewrite their own cities history.
This artwork captures gentrification by showing neglected ruins of Detroit. It relates it to similar struggles and issues happening in China by impersonating the drawing The Bloodstained Shirt (1959). This photo has been banned in China!
The photo features the artist himself and many Detroit locals. I know some Michigan students and other people involved with the University participated as models for the photo. Shout out to anyone on campus who was involved.
In addition to the photo The Bloodstained Shirt (2018) , I included other photos featured in the exhibit: the clothes Wang QingSong was wearing in the photograph, the bloodstained shirt that is held up in the photograph, some photos of the making of the photograph and the volunteers involved, and lastly words and Chinese expressions that are on the windows of the exhibit. There is also a video of the making of this image playing in the exhibit room.
There are probably a hundred different phrases, I chose to include a couple of my favorites. Most of the Chinese phrases have English translations above them, but some do not. I am not sure why he did for some and not others, but I recommend going with a Chinese friend who can translate some of the phrases that are not in English.