Untitled (Detroit Mich)

Accession Number

Untitled (Detroit Mich)

Sam Mackey

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
orange, purple, and green crayon, ink and graphite on cream wove paper

18 7/8 x 11.9 in. (47.94 x 30.32 cm);20.9 x 13 7/8 in. (53.18 x 35.24 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of The Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection

Label copy
Sam Mackey
United States, 1897–1992
Untitled (Detroit Mich)
Crayon, ink, and graphite on paper
Gift of the Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection, 2002/1.204
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

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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2 Related Resources

Detroit-Area Artists
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Folk, Self-taught, Amateur, and Visionary Art
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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