Silhouettes of gunmen atop UICA sparks ArtPrize entry controversy

Posted at 12:11 PM, Sep 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-11 20:18:52-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - An artist's exhibit atop a downtown Grand Rapids building started causing controversy in the days leading up to ArtPrize.

The silhouettes of what appear to depict soldiers - some with guns - were placed on top of the UICA building this week.

The installation is called "there's something happening here." The name is lyrics from the Buffalo Springfield song "For what it's 20140911_115322worth."

The owner of the building is CWD Real Estate.

Lisa Young, CWD's marketing manager, told FOX 17 the company will be "more careful about who we work with" in the future.

Young says they didn't expect guns to be part of the installation.

Artist Henry Brimmer, East Lansing, Mich.

Artist Henry Brimmer, East Lansing, Mich.

FOX 17 News has learned the artist behind the exhibit is Henry Brimmer of East Lansing.

Brimmer says the preliminary sketches he submitted to CWD did not show guns, but made a note that the "sketches were roughly drawn" and should be "considered a work in progress."

Brimmer said he had he had "no mislead" and he "feels horrible" that anyone would think  he tried to sneak in the guns.

"I heard they were not very happy there were figures with guns," Brimmer explained to FOX 17. "But I have to say, art isn't always pretty or decorative. Art need (sic) to be accepted as spanning the gamut of human expression."

A tweet from Marty Brooks, a nearby resident said, "Nothing like waking up in the morning and looking out your window to see an outline of a sniper."

"I think it should have an element of surprise," said Brimmer. "Naturally, you can`t dismiss the fact that the figures are military folks and I think it has to do with a little bit of surveillance and a little bit of  the increasing military presence."


ArtPrize begins September 24th.