Martos After Dark is pleased to announce its inaugural presentation, The Heidelberg Project, New York City, by Tyree Guyton, a unique extension of Detroit’s famous Heidelberg Project. On view 24/7 at 167 Canal on the corner of Elizabeth Street, this installation contains both new elements and historical components of Heidelberg. Traveling from its original site in Detroit is The Shit’s on the Table (2000), a commentary by Guyton on contemporary consumption and excess. The work’s titular phrase also references full transparency in the context of this continually accessible exhibition. Guyton has also painted his trademark clock motif across the space’s walls, a persistent reference in the artist’s work to the unyielding relevance of time, that again doubly resonates with the show’s unusual temporal format. Adjacent to the installation is an original mural by Guyton on which he has painted in simple, large lettering his elusive thesis: “2 + 2 = 8.”
The Heidelberg Project began in 1986, when Tyree Guyton returned to his childhood neighborhood to encounter poverty, drugs, abandoned houses, and vacant lots. With his grandfather Sam Mackey and neighborhood children, Guyton—to mixed reactions from his community—transformed the wreckage into a sprawling, candy-colored landscape covered in polka dots, painted clocks, colorful toys, shoes and more, developing within the installation a unique visual lexicon and personal cosmology. Since its founding, The Heidelberg Project has survived decades of resistance, city-sponsored demolition, and arson. In 2021, over two decades after the most recent demolition ordered by former Mayor Dennis Archer, Tyree Guyton was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the City of Detroit, marking a major shift in the relationship between Heidelberg and its surrounding community.
For over thirty years, Tyree Guyton has both salvaged Heidelberg after acts of destruction, and integrated fire and annihilation into the very content of the installation, continually reinforcing Heidelberg as a statement of resilience and an index of its own history. Now, as The Heidelberg Project enters its fourth decade, Guyton has begun to envision how the site-specific project may be protected and made available to future generations, both outside of Detroit and in the custody of institutions. The Heidelberg Project travels to New York City in part to demonstrate the portability of Heidelberg, both physically and in terms of its message of inclusivity and healing. As in Detroit, the work locates in public space, situated on a corner with no threshold of entry, providing an accessible alternative to nearby traditional art venues and reflecting the rhythms of the city. The installation will be on long term view, its opening marks its loan to the City of New York. In traveling to Manhattan, The Heidelberg Project demonstrates the universality of Guyton’s message: that art is medicine, a bitter pill to swallow for some, healing for all.
We encourage you to learn more about the Heidelberg Project at www.heidelberg.org and in the video below. We hope you will be inspired to its singular mission.
Martos After Dark and The Heidelberg Project would like to extend their thanks to the following for their generous assistance in realizing this project: Chris Currence, The Dadourian Family, Marquita Flowers, and Victor Hugo.
Since its inception, The Heidelberg Project has shifted from an art installation led by one man into an arts community led by many, from a two-block radius rejuvenated to inspire its local residents to an internationally recognized outdoor museum drawing visitors from around the world. With the exponential growth of HP, your support is needed now more than ever to maintain the site, now recognized by the city of Detroit, for future generations.
Your donation will directly support our Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy (HALA) program and the Numbers House renovation project, as well as general operating costs associated with sustaining our mission and vision in the community we serve. Join us as we reach new heights in the years ahead!