‘Mobile Homestead’ is one of the last works by the late artist Mike Kelley, a piece he used as a way to reconnect with his childhood roots. Having grown up in a working-class town on the outskirts of Detroit, Kelley began the project back in 2005, creating a model of a classic ranch-style house similar to his childhood home. Kelley toured the art piece through Detroit and nearby towns as a way to illustrate the dramatic reversal of the city-to-suburbs “white flight” migration. Now, the ‘Mobile Homestead’ will become a permanent feature on a plot behind the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit where it will be opened up to the public for community use.
Working with the British organization Artangel, Kelley transported the replica on a flatbed truck through downtown Detroit and into the suburbs. He set out to examine the inequalities between the communities, and stopped off at various historical locations, interviewing local characters en route. Kelley turned his finding into a series of films that would accompany his very personal project.
Opening next month, the ‘Mobile Homestead’ installation will become a space for free classes, a barbershop, and a basement studio for local artists.