GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - "Fleurs et riviere" was viewed Tuesday by the person who mattered most to artist David Dodde -- his 17-year-old son Koen.
The Calder Foundation called Dodde's ArtPrize entry an "abomination." Others said it was an improvement to the iconic "La Grande Vitesse" sculpture at Vandenberg (Calder) Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.
Either way, the PVC foam flower held to American artist Alexander Calder's famous sculpture with magnets will be removed Wednesday.
Koen Dodde, who has Down Syndrome, nearly missed the chance to show off his dad's work to his class from Forest Hills Northern.
Last week, the City of Grand Rapids told Dodde that "Fleurs et Riviere" -- which it had approved before ArtPrize -- had to be removed from "La Grande Vitesse."
Three anonymous people saw the art and then went to the city with complaints. Seeking guidance, the City then contacted the Calder Foundation.
The Calder Foundation replied with harsh criticism of "Fleurs et riviere," saying it contributed nothing to the dialogue of Calder's sculpture and that it was an "abomination."
The City decided leaving Dodde's work up wasn't worth jeopardizing its relationship with the Calder Foundation. It ordered "Fleurs et riviere" decommissioned Friday. But the work was not withdrawn from the world's largest art competition, and the controversy is likely what pushed it into the Top 100.
Then there was another anonymous call to the mayor's office. It asked the city to delay removal because Dodde's son was scheduled to visit ArtPrize Tuesday.
"It coming down last Friday would have meant that his class, which is a very large class of special needs kids, could not see it," Dodde said.
The mayor agreed that the decommissioning could wait.
"I guess I plead guilty to having too soft of a heart," Mayor George Heartwell said Tuesday.
Tuesday, Koen was proud to introduce to his classmates the man who originally said yes, then said no, then said maybe just a little longer.
Dodde couldn't have been happier.
"I am so glad you guys came. I am really happy you are here," Dodde told the class.
Heartwell told 24 Hour News 8 he was surprised at the passion on both sides of the issue.
He also said he would probably not authorize the use of "La Grande Vitesse" again -- not for ArtPrize or anything else.
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