A Composition for Detroit
A Composition for Detroit is a portrait of contemporary America. Inspired by many trips to Detroit and its banks of broken factory windows, some overpainted, Sara VanDerBeek built structures that functioned as supports for leaning panes of glass and a wide range of photographic imagery. She then photographed her ephemeral installations before dismantling them. The photographic material includes close-ups of images such as, in the first panel, a Walker Evans photograph of the ruins of a pre–Civil War plantation in Louisiana and a Charles Moore picture of a crouching woman, sprayed with water, during a 1963 civil rights protest. VanDerBeek also used documentary material, some dealing with riots in Detroit in 1967, as well as her own evocative photographs of abandoned buildings and broken blinds. The photographs contribute to the subtle telling of stories that move from left to right across the four panels, or from back to front within each panel. According to the artist, the allusions to windows, stairs, and doorways in all the panels open up the possibility of either staying where we are or taking off in new directions.
a: 65 x 48 in. (165.1 x 121.9 cm)
b: 65 x 43 1/2 in. (165.1 x 110.5 cm)
c: 65 x 48 in. (165.1 x 121.9 cm)
d: 65 x 47 1/2 in. (165.1 x 120.7 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of the Contemporary Art Council
© Sara VanDerBeek. Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
Sara VanDerBeek (American, born 1976). A Composition for Detroit, 2009. Chromogenic photographs, a: 65 x 48 in. (165.1 x 121.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Contemporary Art Council, 2010.32a-d. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2010.32a-d_composite_PS6.jpg)
overall, composite, 2010.32a-d_composite_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.