I AIN’T PLAYIN
Thursday, March 30th – Saturday, May 13th, 2023
Tyree Guyton, Gallery Installation, 2023 Mixed media and latex flat paint
For this immersive installation Tyree Guyton has transformed the gallery space into a specific subsect of the original Detroit neighborhood that he has developed and cared for over the past (nearly) 40 years. Guyton produces work through the divination of a spiritual world, in service of a broader community, He allows his collected objects to speak to him, after which point he works to create new assemblages and paintings that speak back to his world.
The Heidelberg Project, initiated by Guyton in 1986, is a living testament to the artist’s own biography and to the neighborhood that he grew up in. Located in Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt enclave, Guyton’s two block strip of Heidelberg street has been aptly characterized as an “open-air museum,” and is largely composed of polka dots, painted faces, children’s toys, car parts, clocks, and assemblage sculptures. Homes are repainted with vibrant colors and forms, after which Guyton adds miscellaneous objects directly on top. Heidelberg’s lawns are likewise populated by similar artifacts. The public’s ongoing engagement with the project is of reciprocal and transformative value, as the urban environment attests to the truism that art can really be anywhere and anything.
Martos Gallery thus functions as a platform for the artist to transmute his characteristic energies in a New York context. Two walls are reconfigured as home exteriors, decorated with records on one side and stuffed animals on the other, the latter specifically recalling Heidelberg’s Party Animal House. The gallery’s back wall bears a trio of record-bearing trees, set beyond a bench packed with miscellaneous painted bricks and sundry objects. New Yorkers are thus offered a microcosm of Guyton’s expansive worldview, seeing his mind’s eye reverberating throughout the space.