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City removing ArtPrize entry at Calder

8:44 PM, Sep 25, 2013   |    comments
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"Fleurs et Riviere" on the Calder sculpture.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A piece of ArtPrize artwork is coming down early. Grand Rapids officials have ordered the removal of an entry attached to the Calder sculpture.

The artist, David Dodde says he is saddened by the news. He grew up in Grand Rapids and says it's a homage to Alexander Calder, who created the sculpture in 1967. ""This piece is very significant to me as an artist and as a person. It has influenced me going forward in my work."

In a statement released Wednesday, Mayor George Heartwell says while he initially saw the installation as "whimsical and attractive," he now considers it to be an "inappropriate treatment of" the Calder sculpture.

Dodde says he doesn't know who complained, but he says, "It's unfortunate that a few powerful and vocal people were able to swing things."

"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," Heartwell said in a press release.

The piece is called "Fleurs et riviere,"and features foam flower petals attached by magnets to the sculpture.

The city is working with artist David Dodde to decommission the work and help him with the cost of removal. The entry remains eligible for ArtPrize voting. "Everybody came at this with love and appreciation. I just want people to know that I did too. So, the conversation was started, this is where its going to end," says Dodde. 

To contact Mayor George Heartwell, email mayor@grcity.us
or call (616) 456-3168.


Below is a news release from the City of Grand Rapids:

'Fleurs et riviere' to be Decommissioned

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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