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Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg retrospective lands at the MOCAD

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“2+2=8: Thirty Years of Heidelberg” runs through January 6

Tyree Guyton.
Photo: Tim Johnson, 2018.

One of Detroit’s most-visited outdoor public art installations will be featured and studied for its 30+ years of drawing visitors and attention to the east side. This fall, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) presents a retrospective on the Heidelberg Project and artist Tyree Guyton’s work.

The Heidelberg Project was started by Guyton in 1986 in his McDougall-Hunt neighborhood. Comprised of found objects, paint, and sculptural assemblage, the two-block installation has drawn thousands of visitors from around the world into the neighborhood. According to the MOCAD, the Heidelberg Project, “ruminates on urban landscape and familial legacy—creating public works that speak to a possibility of shifting paradigms in which imaginative future and present reality live side-by-side.”

Over the years, the installation has faced threats from the city, and more recently, arson. Two years ago, Guyton announced that the Heidelberg Project would change in the coming years into a more community-driven installation instead of just his own work.

Tyree Guyton, Heidelberg Project, 1986-ongoing.
Photo: Tim Johnson, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

2+2=8, the equation informing the installation “as a site of interdimensional travel, infinite possibility and community archive,” will also include a new installation at the MOCAD that reflects on two of Guyton’s previous works, Street Folk and Giant Steps. Think soles of the feet as they relate to souls in relationships.

Two documentaries will be shown in the MOCAD’s Black Box Theatre to inform visitors on the impact of the Heidelberg Project over the past 30 years.

A second Guyton exhibition will open October 13 at the MOCAD. Process will display Guyton’s illustrations, sketches, paintings, and portraits over the years.

2+2=8: Thirty Years of Heidelberg opens Friday, September 7 with a member-only hour at 6 p.m. and a public reception and opening at 7 p.m. A History of Heidelberg with art historian Rachel Adams will be held at 1 p.m. September 8. And on November 15 at 7 p.m., Guyton will join Oneita Jackson for a conversation on the the artist, the project, and the future of Heidelberg.