Art or "Ruin Porn": The Appeal of a Ruined City to Artists

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

If a picture paints a thousand words, what story is told by photographs of dilapidated buildings and abandoned factories? Photos of city ruins have been around for centuries, but they have not always been referred to as "ruin porn."  That's a phrase some criticsuse to describe recent photo journalism in Detroit. But does the term apply to art, as well as journalism?

Andrew Moore, photographs abandoned and dilapidated buildings in Detroit; his exhibit, "Detroit Disassembled," is currently being shown at the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio. Moore says his work is about looking at the evolution of a place, but is it sensationalizing an area of despair? 

Vicki Goldberg, photography critic and author of books such as "The Power of Photography: How Photographs Changed Our Lives," says this type of art has existed in our country since the Civil War. 

Andrew Moore
Arnold Nursing Home, 7 Mile Rd
Andrew Moore
Kinga, Eastside
Andrew Moore
Model T Headquarters, Highland Park
Andrew Moore
National Time, former Cass Tech High School
Andrew Moore
Peacock Alley, Broderick Tower
Andrew Moore
Roofparty, Broderick Tower

Guests:

Vicki Goldberg and Andrew Moore

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin and Amanda Moore

Comments [3]

Meredith

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Mar. 07 2013 02:26 AM
Ruth Bennett from Sterling Heights, MI

Yes, ruins all around. BUT a NEW Detroit is emerging inside the hollowed-out shell of the old. Spent the Fourth at the Downtown River Walk--absolutely beautiful! New, clean, modern, with public walkway along the Detroit River. Huge pots of flowers, trees, benches, a delightful carousel, the first urban state park in Michigan with a small wetlands, and lots of families of diverse ethnicities enjoying it all. Why not promote some of that GOOD stuff!!!

Jul. 06 2010 09:39 AM
John Ferry from Detroit 48228

It truly is a surreal experience living here in Detroit. The often photographed ruins are a drop in the bucket. They are the most "glamorous" of the hundreds of derelict buildings, certainly, but nothing compared to the empty schools and burned out apartment buildings which cover the landscape in neighborhood after neighborhood. Photojournalism is art, but it isn't truth. The truth about living in Detroit is far worse than the "ruin porn" portraits we so often see.

Jul. 06 2010 09:02 AM

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