“Here we are now 30 years later. Time to move on. Gotta go in a new direction. Got to do something I’ve not done before.”
A confluence of factors have pushed Guyton to change course: an increasing awareness of his own mortality as he reached 60, the toll that the fires have taken on his psyche, the increasing number of project commissions that are pouring in from across the country and across the globe and the Sisyphean burden of keeping the Heidelberg Project going for literally half his life.
…By next summer, visitors to the two-block stretch of Heidelberg Street — where Guyton started his project in 1986 as a response to the rampant blight in the neighborhood of his youth — will notice familiar sights slowly disappearing. In two years, all of the magically transformed found objects that crowd the empty lots between houses are expected to be gone: broken dolls, shopping carts, TVs, shoes, telephones, a Noah’s ark of stuffed animals piled high as an elephant’s eye, the debris splashed with optimism and painted polka dots and dozens of Guyton’s paintings of clocks and primitive portraits.
Guyton’s plan to disassemble the Heidelberg Project marks a dramatic turning point in the history of a seminal public art adventure that for many has come to represent the soul of contemporary Detroit.
I couldn’t find one photo that captures the breadth of this massive folk art project so I went with this one I took when I visited 8 years ago. View it background big and click for 330 more photos of the Heidelberg Project in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr!
More Michigan art on Michigan in Pictures.