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MOCAD : Leni Sinclair : Motor City Underground


The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) is the first American museum to present a solo exhibition by Leni Sinclair, entitled Motor City Underground. Sinclair and her camera have borne witness to pivotal moments in Detroit’s rich activist history, from the anti-racist protests of 1967 to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s free concert in the city in 1971.

With Motor City Underground, MOCAD presents a selection of lesser-seen gems from the iconic photographer’s portfolio, chronicling the city’s counterculture and struggles for justice since the 1960s. Sinclair’s iconic oeuvre has touched on six decades of cultural and political change, presenting a strident and nuanced view of the ongoing struggle for social justice. Sinclair has long been involved in Detroit’s underground arts scenes and activist movements alike, marrying her unforgettable aesthetics with equally radical ideology.

Motor City Underground is Sinclair’s first American museum solo exhibition, following her 2014 gallery debut at the former Susanne Feld Hilberry Gallery in Ferndale, MI. Accompanying the exhibition, MOCAD and Foggy Notions Books will publish a 408-page monograph of Sinclair’s work.

Leni Sinclair: Motor City Underground is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit with support from Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator Jova Lynne, MOCAD Curatorial Fellow M Pofahl, and MOCAD Exhibitions Director Zeb Smith, in collaboration with independent curators Cary Loren and Lorraine Wild.



Since its founding in 1995, The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) has presented exhibitions and programs that explore the best of contemporary art, connecting Detroit and the global art world. MOCAD is focused on art as a means to nurture social change and human understanding, reflecting our community. We encourage innovative experimentation by artists, musicians, makers, cultural producers and scholars to enrich all who participate and to educate visitors of all ages in the power of art. Whether from Detroit or around the world, we welcome creative voices who can guide us to an equitable and inclusive future. We believe that art can change us, and it’s our responsibility to hold a space where challenge, acceptance, hope and beauty can coincide.


Leni Sinclair : Motor City Underground

February 5 – April 18, 2021

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

4454 Woodward Ave

Detroit, MI 48201

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