As a means to bring together a diverse segment of the population to experience and discuss how communities relate to art and symbols in public space, Sam Durant worked closely with Library Street Collective to establish community partners and place a selection of drawings in key locations throughout Metro Detroit. Durant is a Berlin-based interdisciplinary artist whose works engage a variety of social, political, and cultural issues. Growing up in Boston in the 1970s, an educational culture emphasizing democratic ideals, racial equality and social justice created the foundation for Durant’s artistic perspective.The artist has developed a rigorous research-based practice that extracts and re-frames dominant historical narratives.

The drawings shown in these outdoor spaces were then exhibited in his solo exhibition Iconoclasm that was held at a space in Detroit’s East side. The initial presentation of the works in public spaces allowed vulnerability and accessibility of the works and the possibility of interference in ways rarely seen in contemporary art today. The use of the drawing medium reflects upon the ephemeral nature of art and challenges the indelible perception of historical events that were depicted in the artist’s work. The pieces exhibited in the gallery carried the potential for registered markings of dialogue with the community through engagement and physical interventions upon the artworks. Durant’s drawings are a reminder of the notion of a living history, reflecting humanity’s need to celebrate and commemorate, as well as the compulsion to destroy symbols of a past that conflict with a specific dominant world view. Given the global current rise in political polarization, religious extremism and nationalism, this work presented a critical opportunity to explore humanity’s relationship with the symbols of the past and how to address them as society changes.

Project Gallery


San Cristóbal de las Casas 1992, 2019

640 Temple St.
Detroit, MI 48201


Fort-de-France 1991, 2019

Cranbrook Art Museum
39221 Woodward Ave
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304


Tehran 1979, 2019

Mardigian Library, U of M Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48128


Durham 2017, 2019

1286 McClellan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48214ss


Port Said 1956, 2019

2732 Yemans St.
Hamtramck, MI 48212


Addis Ababa 1991, 2019

Hellenic Museum of Michigan
67 E Kirby St.
Detroit, MI 48202


Accra 1966, 2019

20 Bartlett St.
Highland Park, MI 48203


Caracas 2004, 2019

4440 Vernor Hwy.
Detroit, MI 48209

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