"I am a Detroiter," "I'm from the Midwest," "I'm an American."

How we think of ourselves is inextricably linked to where we come from -home plays a large part in shaping our identities. So what happens when a home is uprooted from its original environment? Does the home retain its original character or does it take on the identity of its new surroundings? What if the house is moved between communities as disparate as affluent Birmingham and Detroit?

That's what three Cranbrook Masters of Architecture candidates hope to uncover with a new exhibition at Detroit's Tangent Gallery. Jeff Rawlins, Bradford Watson, and Michael Zebrowski reverse the direction of sprawl by taking a home from Birmingham and moving it to the Tangent Gallery in Detroit.

To make this journey possible, the artists spent two weeks disassembling the small two-family house in Birmingham without the use of heavy machinery. Parts of the house will be rebuilt and installed for exhibition in the gallery with some of the pieces becoming permanent fixtures of Tangent, thus incorporating a piece of Birmingham in Detroit.

Had the entire house been moved in one piece on a truck, it would simply have been a matter of a home displaced. Had the operation included entirely dismantling the home and totally rebuilding it somewhere else, the resulting structure would be something new altogether. By disassembling and reconfiguring the house, the project becomes one of metamorphosis - the transformation of a suburban house into an urban art gallery.

For the exhibition, video and photographs documenting the process from takedown to reconstruction will accompany the actual remains of the home. Since opening, the Tangent Gallery has been committed to revitalizing the art community and through it, the larger community of Detroit. By examining the interaction of identity and place, Rawlins, Watson, and Zebrowski's exhibition should offer insight into the ongoing transformation of Detroit's own identity.

- Nick Sousanis



The Tangent Gallery: The Extraction of a Suburban House
Opening Reception: 5 - 8:00 PM Thursday, March 13
Exhibition Dates: March 13 - April 19 2003
Gallery Hours: 12 -6 Wed - Friday & 12-5 Sat.
715 E. Milwaukee, Detroit. Call (313) 873-2955

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