Vulture Editor Tweets Himself Into Further Detroit Trouble

From bad to worse. That’s the end result of Vulture editor-at-large Carl Swanson trying to explain to angry Motor City residents over the weekend why his piece for the site highlighted only white Detroit artists.


Swanson first threw Elysia Borowy-Reeder, director of Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art, under the bus, tweeting that she had put together the list of artists for him. Then, per Deadline Detroit’s Alan Stamm, he framed the assignment as something of a sideline afterthought, tended to while the writer visited his partner’s family over the holidays:

[Detroit artist Kelly] Guillory responds Sunday afternoon: “This is not a ‘little article’ when your site is read by millions.” Later in the day, Guillory says Borowy-Reeder of MOCAD told her by phone that “she named a LOT of artists, including Tylonn Sawyer, Carl didn’t visit them.”

While it’s possible from an NY media POV to understand the Soho-ers-in-Detroit angle, it’s also equally logical for locals in Detroit to be upset by the homogeneous end result under that “Why” headline. Stamm, who first wrote about the social media uproar on Saturday, suggests the Detroit hurt feelings aren’t going away any time soon. Perhaps Vulture and Swanson should consider some sort of follow-up.

Update (3:30 p.m.):
An acknowledgement was in fact added earlier today to the bottom of Swanson’s piece. It reads:

Note: As many commenters have pointed out, this story, which focuses on artists who have chosen to make Detroit their home, missed an opportunity to highlight artists of color. The list does not fully reflect the diversity of voices and experiences in the city, for which we apologize.