GRAND RAPIDS,Mich. — The Following is a press release from the city of Grand Rapids:
“After careful consideration and consultation, the City has requested that the exhibit known as ‘Fleurs et riviere’ located on Vandenberg Plaza be decommissioned prior to the completion of ArtPrize 2013. The City regretfully takes this action with respect for the Alexander Calder Foundation, ArtPrize, the curator and the artist.
The curator for the City’s Vandenberg Plaza venue will work with the artist to comply with this request. The City will collaborate with the artist in decommissioning the work to help reduce decommissioning costs for the artist.
Artist David Dodde sought to create, “a temporary transformation of a Grand Rapids icon” that has been “one of the most important pieces of art in my life,” according to a statement accompanying his ArtPrize entry. The artist’s intent is clear from his statement, “With absolute care and love, Fleurs et riviere is my homage to one of the greatest minds in art, Alexander Calder.”
The foam core flower petals attached with magnets to the Calder stabile “La Grand Vitesse” have created a conversation in the best spirit of ArtPrize. “Part of that conversation is about exploring to discover boundaries. Those boundaries can sometimes include formal or practical relationships,” said City Manager Greg Sundstrom. The Calder stabile has been adorned several times in the past and had been incorporated for a former ArtPrize entry.
Mayor George Heartwell reflected that, “Our nearly half-century relationship with Alexander Calder and, following his death, the Alexander Calder Foundation, is too important to risk by allowing this art installation to continue. While many – myself included – initially saw this installation as whimsical and attractive, further reflection on my part together with conversations with art curators convinced me that this is an inappropriate treatment of our Calder stabile.”
“ArtPrize is about learning together,” said City Manager Greg Sundstrom. “That is what our successful five-year ArtPrize relationship has taught us. We intend to continue in this spirit as we engage the community through our commitment to ArtPrize.”
Installations at venues are not managed or sponsored by ArtPrize. ArtPrize provides a platform for expression. The curation program that activates City parks and public spaces, including Vandenberg Plaza, is made possible through sponsorship from Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. ArtPrize helps select a sponsored curator for these spaces, then the City manages their venues in the same way each of the 168 ArtPrize venues manage their shows. ArtPrize stated that David Dodde’s Fleurs et riviere will remain in the voting for ArtPrize 2013.
In all, the City curates 13 public venues including the Grand River and these venues contain 51 pieces for ArtPrize 2013.”
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