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Untitled (3658 Heidelberg Detroit)

Sam Mackey

Artwork Details

Untitled (3658 Heidelberg Detroit)
Sam Mackey
black, blue, and red crayon on cream wove paper
19 x 12 in. (48.26 x 30.48 cm);21 x 14 in. (53.34 x 35.56 cm);
Gift of The Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection


Sam Mackey
United States, 1897–1992
(3658 Heidelberg Detroit)
Crayon on paper
Gift of the Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection, 2002/1.203
While Sam Mackey had worked as a commercial house painter most of his life, he did not start making art until he was 89 years old. In addition to individual drawings, Mackey also started cleaning up abandoned lots on Heidelberg Street in Detroit with his grandson Tyree Guyton—the humble beginnings of the large-scale art environment now known internationally as The Heidelberg Project. One of Mackey’s contributions to The Heidelberg Project was his use of large, colorful polka dots to cover surfaces—a motif that is now the major emblem of the installation.
(Out of the Ordinary, 2010)
Living in Detroit since 1918, Sam Mackey was born near St. Louis, Missouri. At the suggestion of his grandson, Tyree Guyton, Sam Mackey began drawing as a way of dealing with his loneliness after his wife’s death. Although he had no formal artistic training, he enjoyed making drawings that record his memories and aspirations. Sam Mackey was the inspiration for Tyree Guyton’s art and also assisted him with the Hiedelberg Project.
Lindsay Meehan
Modern and Contemporary Art Intern

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