Artists Take On Detroit - Projects for The Tricentennial
Tyree Guyton



Open House

For more than fifteen years, Guyton has worked at the Heidelberg Project, an ongoing public art installation where he reclaims neglected houses in a Detroit neighborhood. For Open House, Guyton has erected a building reminiscent of local houses. Campaign posters, newspapers, toys, brightly painted shoes, and other found objects attached to the black skeletal frame define the house’s form; they allude to society’s cast-offs and the necessity of "making do." Inside is a model of the White House, decorated with Guyton’s trademark polka dots and capped with a painted shoe.

A soundtrack written and engineered by Alfonzia Maclin emanates from inside, with religious and philosophical statements punctuating Detroit music and city noises. The audio environment challenges conventional values with the refrain of Marvin Gaye’s Motown recording "What’s Going On?" and conveys the idea that our collective moral emptiness is masked by the slogans and artifacts of popular and dominant culture. Yet at the same time, the soundtrack infuses the installation with a sense of hope.

> Transcript of Narration from Video

> Downloadable QuickTime Version of Video (17.9mb)

> Downloadable MP3 of the Installation Soundtrack (6.5mb)

Project Image


Tyree Guyton
with the Heidelberg Project
Open House
Installation, 2001

> Video Clip (Flash Required)

> Installation Slideshow (Flash Required)

> Artist’s Biography