GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - An ArtPrize entry on the landmark Calder Plaza sculpture will be decommissioned before the end of the world's largest art competition.
The City has ordered the removal of the white flowers made of PVC foam board from "La Grande Vitesse."
"I'm the criminal responsible for putting magnets on the Calder," frustrated "Fleurs et riviere" creator David Dodde said Wednesday.
Dodde agreed to remove the entry, but said the work is an homage to American artist Alexander Calder, who created "La Grande Vitesse."
The red steel sculpture at VandenBerg (Calder) Plaza that has come to represent the city since it was dedicated in 1969 by Grand Rapids' first son and then-U.S. Rep. Gerald R. Ford. It is the first work ever given to the public that was financed by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The City of Grand Rapids had previously approved Dodde's entry.
But it said it has since been contacted by three unnamed citizens who said the piece pushed the limit too far. Officials contacted the New York City-based Calder Foundation, which said the entry should be removed.
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell said in a press release that leaving the entry up wasn't worth jeopardizing the city's relationship with the foundation.
"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," the mayor said in a statement.
City Manager Greg Sundstrom says he's ready to take the blame for the debacle.
"We owe it to the world to properly, as you way, curate, to protect it," Sundstrom said. "I thought what was done was interesting and fun, but maybe it was beyond what we should do."
Art has hung from the sculpture in previous years without conflict -- Sundstrom says perhaps more than 100 in the last 45 years. During ArtPrize 2012, "10000 Hours La Grande Vitesse" by Laura Isaac hung on the sculpture and was a finalist for the juried award for best use of an urban space.
The city, ArtPrize and the artist are all disappointed by the situation.
"It's unfortunate, but I think that I have achieved what I wanted to do, which is open up a larger conversation about ArtPrize, about the Calder -- 'La Grande Vitesse' -- and about my own work," Dodde told 24 Hour News 8. "I approached this with a lot of love and care. I spent almost a year in research and development -- the right products, the right process, the do-no-harm approach to this."
Though "Fleurs et riviere" will taken down at noon Friday, the entry (No. 55175) will remain in the competition and people can still vote for it.
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