I have to close out Detroit on a positive note before I start on Canada .so here's the final chapter and we can get on with the Great White North! (And then to NY and then back to CDN). Having been underwhelmed by museums in more than one or two cities across the US, I wasnt sure what to expect from my visit to The Detroit Institute of Art. But I needed a sanctuary and there were one, two, three, four paintings I needed to see. Now, the DIA is no Louvre (which is a good thing), but neither is it SF MoMa. (With artwork valued at around 1 Billion you'd think eventually people would stop robbing liquor stores and move in for the big score....) One of the most popular 'attractions' of the museum is a large work by Diego Rivera. Though he thought that art should be public (meaning not in a gallery, his best work (a fresco) was painted inside a museum, which was a good call for him....perhaps he knew the spray can was coming?! The work consists of 27 panel murals that glorify the city's manufacturing and labor force of the 1930s and celebrate the value of unionized labor (Rivera was a Marxist) that without a doubt helped make the city what it was then, but also contributed a great deal to where it ended up. (Hmmm...Communism in the USSR dies about the same time the auto industry/union power in the US does....coincidence, conspiracy or just the fate of a labor system that's not aligned with a free market economy?) I'm not a huge fan of murals. But the composition and structure reminded me of Egyptian tomb paintings (which I do have an odd obsession with). The thing that blows my mind about all of civilization is everything we make today comes from the same places wed have sourced them from 3500 years ago. Not a single material Detroit workers utilized (then or now) wasnt available to humans thousands (hundreds of thousands) of years ago, give or take an ice age. Metals existed in the same ores then as they do now, petrol was underneath the sand in the middle east, elastic polymers oozed from the same trees in South America as ooze today....the only thing lacking was a vision (The Pontiac Aztec, for instance!), the ideas to turn those visions into manufacturing realities (assembly lines, unions, supply chains, etc) and the effort required to make it all happen (same then as it is now: sweat). And then I thought about all of the other technological advancements and industries that are just waiting to be created and assembled through visions and ideas and effort. Everything created in the future exists (the materials at least) for us here and now. Everything is there everything Detroit needs to regain what it lost is all around them. But it's their city and they can do what they want. I dont have to live there and actually like it exactly the way it is.