Shakespyeare: Day 62 - King Lear in Detroit

Tucked between Wayne State University, burned out mansions, and Comerica Park, the Detroit Art Institute straddles the fault lines of post-urban Detroit. The museum was built and stocked during the heyday of industrial Detroit. Now, beset by budgetary concerns, they manage to hang onto a collection of decent work while bringing in an occasional smallish international exhibit like the five Van Gogh paintings I drove the hour to see.


A feeling of unevenness hangs about the museum. I stood before paintings I'd seen in books such as Brughel's Wedding Dance then turned and walked through halls of work that was clearly not up to the scratch for a major city's art museum. Somewhere in the middle to middling range, a painting of King Lear. Though perhaps a bit overwrought, it captures the atmosphere of a line I've remembered from childhood, "this night will turn us all into fools and madmen."


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