By Julia Halperin
Published: June 30, 2011
It sounds like a "20/20" special or an inspirational Hilary Swank
movie: Jaded international art consultant sees television news report on a poverty-stricken Midwest city and spontaneously drives there to see the physical devastation for herself; bowled over by what she finds, she packs up her New York apartment and ships out in a matter of months, leaving behind everything she knows in order to build a museum in one of the most dangerous parts of a lawless city.
How does such a Euro vision for a museum adapt to a crime-riddled neighborhood of Detroit? According to Osten, the inaugural exhibition of 12 films is inextricably linked to the spirit of the city. Jespur Just's "Sirens of Chrome" and Tim White-Sobieski's "The Sound and the Fury" were both filmed locally. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Bill Viola's 54-minute film "The Passing" which captures a figure alternatively emerging and sinking into the water, perhaps a metaphor for the stalled nature of the city itself. Each film speaks in some way to the city's complex relationship with the passage of time, said Osten. "Everyone lives a little in the past here... Letting it go is a big problem."