New Art Installation Is A Surreal Trip Through the City’s Boat Culture

The “Bone Black” exhibition from Scott Hocking is part of the Cranbrook Art Museum’s sprawling new exhibition “Landlord Colors.”

Sarah Blanchette

If you wander the former warehouse district less than a block from the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, there’s a 25,000-square-foot building tucked away with a stunning new installation from Detroit artist Scott Hocking.

The installation is called “Bone Black.” The found object spectacle is comprised of 30-plus abandoned boats that Hocking collected from throughout the city.

For years, they had been dumped like trash in vacant lots or abandoned buildings. 

Through Hocking’s work as an artist who often utilizes found materials, the boats are transformed into something else entirely as part of the Cranbrook Art Museum’s ambitious new exhibition “Landlord Colors: On Art, Economy and Materiality.” 

“This kind of throwaway city mentality bothers me,” says Hocking. “So it’s a little tiny bit of cleaning up through art work in a way, but in the process trying to make some type of transformational installation. One of the great things about installations like this is that sense of discovery, unknown and mystery.” 

Click on the audio player above to hear WDET’s Ryan Patrick Hooper in conversation with artist Scott Hocking about his new installation “Bone Black.”

“Bone Black” is on display at 900 Guoin Street every Saturday through October 5th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.