In March 2015, American artist Ryan Mendoza began turning an abandoned Detroit house into art installation ‘The White House.’
After Mendoza deconstructed the blighted house which was formerly lived in by the Thomas family on 20194 Stoepel St., Detroit, Michigan, he shipped it to Europe where he painted the entire house white, including roof and windows. Now, lit from the inside, music of LP's he found in the formerly abandoned house resonates once again within its walls.
While Mendoza tries to reconnect with his homeland after being in Europe for 24 years, his project created a heated debate about ‘Ruin porn’, ‘Poverty tourism’, ‘White Privilege’ and ‘Exploitation’.
Meant as a tribute to his past as an American, the White House was initially shown at Art Fair Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
In March 2016, a USA Today journalist found the skeleton of the remains of ‘The White House’ still not yet demolished on Stoepel Street, 5 months after the facade was taken to Europe. The media attention was largely negative, even though Mendoza paid for the demolition before leaving Detroit.
In May 2016 Mendoza went back to Detroit and resided with his friend John O’Malley, a 60 year old nurse battling cancer in Brightmoor. Brightmoor is considered one of the most dangerous parts of Detroit. O'Malley is stuck in his childhood home between two abandoned houses.
Mendoza painted both of O’Malley’s neighboring houses white and drilled bullet size holes in their facades spelling out respectively ‘TRUMP’ and ‘CLINTON’ in the hopes of drawing attention to O’Malley’s situation.
Both candidates turned down the invitation to spend a night inside what is dubbed ‘The Real White House’.
In July 2016 Mendoza was approached by Rosa Parks' niece Rhea McCauley. McCauley had taken the house her aunt Rosa had lived in from 1957-59 off Detroit's demolition list. After being turned down by numerous institutions, McCauley turned to Mendoza hoping he would help her save the house. Mendoza dismantled the house and took it with him to Berlin were he is currently rebuilding it. Mrs McCauley and Mendoza hope that the house can travel back to the US, it's rightful home, one day.
An unintended homage to Detroit and its people, the documentary ‘The White House’ tracks expatriate American Ryan Mendoza’s attempt to bring his homeland back to him.
Featuring the Detroiters who crossed his path, the documentary tells the story of Gregg Johnson (donator of The White House), the Thomas family who lived in the house until they lost it due to taxes in 2012, John O'Malley and Rhea McCauley, Rosa Parks' niece.
The documentary serves as an insight into Detroit, America's comeback child, a city full of a musical legacy which stands for the American dream, it’s delusion and it’s current attempts at revitalization.
Including Techno-pioneers Underground Resistance, the grandfathers of Hip Hop The Last Poets, former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Tommy Hearns, Urban Activist and public shamer Jonathan Pommerville, Rosa Parks' niece Rhea McCauley, TV personality Greg Dunmore from PULSEBEAT.TV, Harley K Brown, once the biggest employer for minorities in Michigan, the neighbors of the White House on Stoepel street, Kari Smith CEO of THE PACKARD PLANT PROJECT, North Americas largest industrial renovation project, Donor of the house Gregg Johnson, musicians from Detroit as Sovereign T, Preach the Artist and Breanna 'Breezy' Caprice,The Thomas Family, Detroit's The D Town Riders Bike Club,
John O’ Malley from Brightmoor among many more.
Talib Shakir aka SOVEREIGN T, Preach The Artist 'Wake up DIRTY', Breanna 'Breezy' Caprice, 'UR Perception & Mad Mike 'Abandoned House in Mono', Gregg Johnson aka Gig Lamarr, Sovereign T feat. Ryan Mendoza 'I should have done more'
Special Thanks to Lars Schlecker
Copyright @ All Rights Reserved