Tyree Guyton


Title: Street Folk

Medium: Installation Unveiling

Year Created: 2011

Tyree Guyton questions, “What is art today, right now at this moment in time?” This installation is a social commentary that addresses the issue of homelessness here in the city of Detroit and throughout the world. According to Guyton: People in the streets and the changing world! Its challenges! There are people living in the streets, sleeping in the street, and people being forced into the streets. All kinds of people are in the streets. As I walk the streets, I find people in their minds and out of their minds. Then when you think you’ve seen it all, keep looking. You see people sleeping in heat vents to stay warm—even dogs, packs of dogs, running through the street. I wonder what they’re looking for. Some of the streets are dirty, dark and mean right down to the bone. There are blocks with no houses on them and the street becomes very picturesque. The streets are wide open around the clock, night people and day people—they live there too. Our system of government here in the USA is known for helping to put people out into the streets in a very under-handed way. The closing of factories and the debacle with Wall Street etc., etc., etc., Oh, and let’s not forget about the war… that’s not even needed. The streets have no respect of persons and all colors, shapes, size are welcome to the streets. Street Folk are day by day and moment by moment people. You sleep where you can and eat what is at hand. I’ve witnessed people eating out of the trash cans with no shame in mind. What the hell is shame when the streets are your refuge? The street has no respect of person so there are no guarantees. You may not be on the street today, but you might be tomorrow. The messiah took his ministry to the streets in hopes of winning people over to a truth. It makes me ask this question, what is truth and what are we really looking for? My work is a medicine for the human mind and for the soul. The shoes are a reflection of people, all going in different directions and yet they are all in the streets. The streets have no closing hours they are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, all year long. You have night people living in the streets and you have day people living in the streets but we’re all living in the streets chasing whatever your life calls for. In some cases you don’t know what you’re your life is calling for. In the end, we are all Street Folk.