The new exhibitions at the Detroit Institute of Arts are taking the legacy of the Motor City for a spin, but when it comes to who’s sitting behind the steering wheel, the two shows feel miles apart.
“Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020” is a high-octane love letter to automotive design. The exhibition is as smooth and well-composed as the 12 vehicles the museum wheeled in to take center stage.
The sprawling exhibition eats up more than 10,000 square feet. To complement the cars, including a gorgeous 1958 General Motors Firebird III concept, there are dozens of designer drawings and a handful of contemporary art pieces, including a sculpture and several paintings.
Housed in a much smaller gallery, the photo exhibition “Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs, 1958-2008” trades shiny centerpieces for something with more emotional horsepower. It’s not about…