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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    The Artist and Martos Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1955, Detroit, MI
    Lives and works in Detroit, MI

    College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI
    Honorary Doctorate, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI
    Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, MI

    Selected honors: White Columns /Shoot the Lobster Award (2018), Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2015); Wayne County International Artist Award (2003); "Spirit of Detroit Award," Detroit City Council, Detroit, Michigan (1989)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Minnesota Museum of Art, Saint Paul; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

    For over three decades, Tyree Guyton has dedicated himself to being an artist, educator, and community activist. Guyton found his way to art in 1980, having previously served in the U.S. Army and working at the Ford Motor Company. Studying painting and sculptor at the Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and at Marygrove College, he was mentored by Charles McGhee, who introduced Guyton to the works of Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Robert Blackwell. It was in 1986 that Guyton, shocked by escalating urban violence and deterioration, began painting found objects that he placed into trees or nailed stuffed animals and dolls to abandoned houses as memorials. In the same year he initiated the Heidelberg Project, the colorfully painted polka dotted outdoor art installation on Guyton’s childhood street in Detroit for which he became famous. It is through his art that Guyton managed to bring the world’s attention to the East Side of Detroit that has largely been abandoned since the 1967 riots.

    With his multi-media practice, which encompasses painting, sculpture, assemblage and installations, Guyton aims to, “challenge tradition and convention. We live in a world full of corruption from the top to the bottom, values seem to no longer exist and rules are broken everyday. For me, art is a way of expressing life. My work is a science that deals with colors, shapes, objects that brings about a rare beauty to the mind and eyes of people, a type of esthete. My art is life, life that lives on with time because the entire creation is an art form.”

    As Carl Swanson most recently wrote in his December 5, 2018 Vulture article, “Tyree Guyton, famous for his whimsically apocalyptic Heidelberg Project in Detroit, has often been categorized more as an 'outsider' than as an 'artist,' but now he’s moving inside. Literally: There is an elegantly and pristinely curated show of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). But also inside the art world: He’s joined the Martos Gallery in New York, which will do a show with him next fall…”. After years of dedication to his socially engaged public art installations, Guyton is receiving due recognition, including his participation in the 2011 Venice Architecture Biennale followed by exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, among others.



acrylic, plastic and paint lids on Masonite
51 3/8 x 41 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. (130.5 x 104.8 x 14 cm.)
Executed in 2008.

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New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019