In Detroit, Artists Explore the Riches of the 99-Cent Store

Mr. Pruitt has laid out 48 gradient poster boards to create a massive color-field wall hanging. Mr. Israel made a Calder-ish mobile. Ms. Meckseper created a shelf assemblage of engaging mirrored items not dissimilar to those she typically explores in her art. Mr. Baldessari, on the other hand, considered a minimalist, went crazy with sparkle glue, feathers and found images of horses (with the help of his assistant and her 2½-year-old daughter).

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Scott Hocking, inspired by graffiti that said “empty vessels make the most noise,” used an oily rope to link several used shopping carts for this installation.

Credit
Laura McDermott for The New York Times

From the outset, Mr. Hoffmann, like many of the participating artists, was mindful, he said, of the criticism that the show could be seen as another exercise in what he describes as “the fancy art world gone slumming.” “There’s certainly a humorous element,” he says, but at the same time, the exhibition is meant to begin serious dialogues. Just like stock in a dollar shop, there’s an astonishing range of quality: Some offerings appear perfunctory and flimsy, while other works — the true bargains — thoughtfully engage the assignment.

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For his piece, Sean Raspet gave surface cleansers to the museum’s maintenance staff.

Credit
Laura McDermott for The New York Times

Some artists weren’t comfortable spending their budget on dollar-store goods, and so the workarounds, protests and solutions they devised embodied their responses. Scott Hocking, a local artist who has previously worked with decaying and eroding man-made objects and was wary of the unethical labor practices potentially involved in the manufacture of dollar-store wares, chose instead to spend his $99 on seven used shopping carts…

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