Dan Hawkins: Detroit: Arsenal of Democracy

When Dan Hawkins goes to Motown, he’s all about business. “No one goes to Detroit for vacation,” he says. Hawkins’ latest exhibit, “Detroit: Arsenal of Democracy” (through Jan. 4), gives some picture-perfect reasons why the city doesn’t have Disneyland tourist appeal. The Seattle-based photographer shoots abandoned buildings—mental hospitals, jails, hotels, chemical factories, and nuclear facilities—in their various states of decay. Detroit, dubbed the abandoned building capital of the world for its 36,000 forgotten structures, provided Hawkins with plenty of material—around 4,000 shots. (In a way, Detroit is his Disneyland.) Twenty of those dark, looming, and eerie compositions form Hawkins’ exhibit, which is utterly capitvating and surprisingly beautiful. That’s a good thing for Hawkins, who says he would be thrilled if any of the buildings is preserved because of his work. In the meantime, he’ll settle for this: “I want people to see how something like this could occur in the richest country in the world.” Form/Space Atelier, 2407 First Ave., 349-2509, www.formspaceatelier.com. Free. Noon to 4 p.m. JOSHUA LYNCH

Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Dec. 19. Continues through Jan. 4, 2008

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