GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - From the very beginning, ArtPrize organizers have said the world's largest art competition is all about the conversation.
And this year's biggest controversy was "Fleurs et riviere," an entry by David Dodde installed on the iconic Calder Plaza sculpture "La Grande Vitesse." The red sculpture by American artist Alexander Calder was installed in 1969 and has since come to represent the city.
The city -- which had given Dodde permission to install the white flower magnets-- ordered it decommissioned early and it came down Wednesday.
ArtPrize Executive Director Christian Gaines weighed in on the debate for the first time Friday.
"It's a fascinating issue, to be honest with you," he said. "It's an issue that I am really glad is being discussed around ArtPrize. It has to do with intervention of an existing piece of art."
Dodde's magnets prompted both strong and mixed reactions. Some Artprize-goers liked them. Others didn't. Some citizens complained to the city and the New York City-based Calder Foundation called the work an "abomination."
"Not an unpredictable reaction," Gaines said.
In response, the city said "Fleurs et riviere" had to be taken down.
"It has to do so with a foundation whose job it is to protect and preserve the integrity of the original artist," Gaines said.
The work was allowed to stay up until after Dodde's son's class was able to visit it on a field trip. But that prompted even more criticism that the city had flip-flopped again.
ArtPrize makes no judgment on any of it, instead just glad that art is prompting conversation.
"In my view, as far as what the artist was hoping to do, mission accomplished," Gaines said.
The city manager estimated that perhaps 100 different things have hung from the Calder in the past. The mayor said that probably isn't going to happen anymore.
A woman from Mount Pleasant died after her SUV crashed on a road in Montcalm County.
Mirror parts found at the scene indicate it may be a 2005 Chevrolet Uplander.
An observation survey was conducted by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group.