News broke earlier this month that Detroit artist Tyree Guyton is going to systematically dismantle the Heidelberg Project. Over the years I’ve taken several visitors to Guyton’s found art installation, which sprawls across several blocks in the neighborhood in which he grew up. Guyton painted the street and sidewalks and smothered abandoned houses with clothing, appliances, children’s toys. I’ve written in the past that the unknowable histories of these once-loved everyday objects have a way of driving home the awesome magnitude of what has happened to Detroit.
Guyton’s work always seemed a fitting symbol of Detroiters’ ingenuity in the face of ever-increasing urban disinvestment, and a good counterpoint to the hype that tends to surround the (mostly) white, (mostly) recent transplants among Detroit’s arts scene.
“After 30 years, I’ve decided to take it apart piece-by-piece in a very methodical way, creating new realities as it comes apart,” Guyton told the Detroit Free Press. “I gotta go in a new direction. I gotta do something I have not done before.”