Connecting the Dots (Hardcover)
Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project (Painted Turtle Books)
Painted Turtle Book, 9780814333204, 144pp.
Publication Date: June 20, 2007
In its twenty years of existence, the Heidelberg Project has inspired awe in visitors from around the world, drawn praise from the international art community, and provoked extensive discussions in its own backyard. In 1986, Tyree Guyton created the project with the idea of visibly transforming the environment of his decaying neighborhood, which was marred by crime, prostitution, and gangs. Using the materials around him-cast-off toys, discarded car parts, and other debris-along with his trademark brightly colored polka dots, Guyton eventually transformed several houses and vacant lots on Heidelberg Street into the city's most recognizable art environment and one of its leading tourist attractions. Connecting the Dots, the first comprehensive collection of writings on the Heidelberg Project, attempts to get to the heart of Guyton's project by considering it from a number of fascinating angles-including legal, aesthetic, political, and personal.
Because of its unorthodox nature and large scope, Guyton's art has often met fierce opposition in his own neighborhood while garnering raves from around the world. Connecting the Dots explores this tension in "Art or Eyesore?" by landscape architecture expert and Harvard lecturer John Beardsley and in Detroit News reporter Michael Hodges's essay, "Heidelberg and the Community." Former Detroit Free Press editor and publisher Neal Shine adds a piece on Sam Mackey, Guyton's grandfather and the artist's inspiration for the project. In addition, a complete legal perspective on the Heidelberg Project is presented by attorney Daniel S. Hoops, and the city's position on the project is explained by Marilyn Wheaton, former director of Detroit's Cultural Affairs Department. Wayne State University professor of art history Marion E. Jackson also offers an aesthetic analysis of Guyton's project, and Detroit native Aku Kadogo discusses bringing Guyton and his project to Sydney, Australia. Connecting the Dots concludes with an "inside view" of the Heidelberg Project in a piece by Jenenne Whitfield, the project's executive director.
Connecting the Dots presents these essays along with a thoughtful introduction by Wayne State University professor of English Jerry Herron and an artist's statement by Tyree Guyton. Numerous photographs of Guyton's artwork are also included in this full-color oversized volume. Artists, art historians, and those interested in Detroit cultural affairs will enjoy this comprehensive and intriguing book.