‘Fleurs et riviere’ To Be Decommissioned

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2013 ArtPrize Fleurs et reviere by David DoddeGRAND 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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  • Biffer

    And that's why Grand Rapids has been and always will be a backwater fly over town of uptight conservative right wing Luddites. Art has no business coming anywhere near this "still 1952" town…they don't get it and probably never will

    • ivan

      GR has decriminalized pot, signed onto Agenda 21, had a string of Democrat mayors, etc. If anything GR is a left wing liberals dream. Do you even live here in GR?

  • Michaelia

    Here is quote I read on the Mlive article regarding this situation. “What I’m hearing from friends and colleagues across the country is this is horrifying (what Dodde did ‘La Grande Vitesse’),” Becherer said. “When you take an original work of art and change it, then you’re really violating the artist’s intellectual and creative property.
    With that said then I guess we should let it rust and watch the paint fall of it because putting new paint on it was altering its state and it will no longer be an original. People are acting like the artist altered it for ever it was magnets for goodness sake! Furthermore last year an artist was allowed to cover it with a kntted web. Wasn't that altering it? how come it is okay for one to temporarily alter the art work but not the other?