Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project, a Detroit Stalwart, Will Come Down After 30 Years

It attracts an estimated 200,000 visitors a year.

The
The "Dotty Wotty House" at the Heidelberg Project. Photo Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images.

A fixture of Detroit’s East Side for some three decades, a two-time survivor of city bulldozers and of a dozen arson attacks, artist Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project will be slowly taken apart over the coming years, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Intended to call attention to Detroit’s neglected neighborhoods, the Project, named for the street it stands on, consists of brightly painted abandoned houses as well as huge installations of urban debris, and attracts an estimated 200,000 visitors a year. It will gradually be disassembled, with some of the component parts sold off to support future projects.

The artist, now 60, tells the paper that a growing number of national and international commissions, as well as his increasing age and the demands of keeping up the Project, led to the decision.

A sculpture created from recycled material at the Heidelberg Project. Photo Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

A sculpture created from recycled material at the Heidelberg Project. Photo Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

The Heidelberg Project’s board is about to undertake a million-dollar fundraising campaign to ensure its legacy and expand it into a “broader cultural village,” executive director Jenenne Whitfield tells the Free Press, also saying that one of its trademark structures, the colorful “Dotty Wotty House,” will be transformed into a museum.

Another hallmark of the project is the impressive accumulation of found objects spread about installations in vacant lots, including toys, lawn sculptures, dolls, junked cars, architectural elements, and stuffed animals. But the area hasn’t been without its share of issues. Last year, four teenagers broke into the Numbers House, a space Guyton “transformed to help kids learn to count,” and vandalized it. A year prior, fire damaged the nearby Taxi House.

Museums including the Smithsonian Institution and the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta, Georgia, have been in discussions with Project staffers about its future. artnet News reached out to both, but did not receive immediate comments.

A sculpture created from recycled material sits amongst the "Heidelberg project," which is an "open air art environment" centered around one block in Detroit, on September 3, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Heidelberg project is the brain child of Tyree Guyton. He and other artists use the urban environment (including homes and sidewalks) as a canvas for art, which they make using paint and recycled materials. Courtesy of Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

A sculpture created from recycled material sits amongst the Heidelberg Project in 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Courtesy of Andrew Burton/Getty Images.


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