Arts & Entertainment and Government

Grand Rapids decommissions Calder ArtPrize entry

September 26, 2013
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Grand Rapids decommissions Calder ArtPrize entry
David Dodde’s ArtPrize 2013 entry, “Fleurs et riviere,” incorporates Alexander Calder’s “La Grande Vitesse” sculpture and is an “homage” to Calder. Photo via artprize.org

An ArtPrize entry that incorporated the city’s most famous piece of art is no more.

City officials decided yesterday to “de-commission” a piece by David Dodde called “Fleurs et riviere.”

Grand Rapids icon

The temporary art installation used “La Grande Vitesse,” the 1969 sculpture by Alexander Calder, as its foundation and featured a “mash-up” of artistic expression and technical execution, according to the artist.

The Calder stabile has been adorned several times in the past and had also been incorporated into a former ArtPrize entry.

This time, however, Dodde’s creation of foam flower petals and leaves clinging via magnets to the surface is exiting the competition early.

“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,” said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. “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.”

An homage

Dodde said he meant no harm and said he 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.”

His official ArtPrize description of the piece states: “With absolute love and care, ‘Fleurs et riviere’ is my homage to one of the greatest minds in art, Alexander Calder.”

City as curator

City personnel will help Dodde remove the piece to spare the artist some expenses.

ArtPrize officials said ‘Fleurs et riviere” will remain in the voting for ArtPrize 2013.

In all, the city of Grand Rapids curates 13 public venues, including the Grand River, and these venues contain 51 pieces for ArtPrize 2013.

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