Home ArtPrize Artist David Dodde not discouraged by removal of flowers from Calder

Artist David Dodde not discouraged by removal of flowers from Calder

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Photo by Joshua Vissers

By Joshua Vissers

This morning the artist behind “Fleurs et rivière”, the ArtPrize entry that had placed foam flowers on Alexander Calder’s “La Grande Vitesse”, dismantled his artwork. David Dodde was asked by the city of Grand Rapids to remove his work from the landmark sculpture after several complaints from the art community, including a scathing letter of disapproval from the Calder Foundation which called it an ‘abomination’.

Photo by Joshua Vissers
The last of Dodde’s flowers on “La Grande Vitesse”.

“It took me 10 months to create it. It took me two hours to take it down,” Dodde said after finishing with removing the magnetic flowers.

Dodde, who is from Grand Rapids, was surprised that his work stirred up so much controversy because the Calder has been adorned many times in the past.

“Various things have been done to this sculpture to kind of appropriate the image of it,” he said. “So no one, including the curator or myself or the city, had any inkling that this would be an issue with anybody, because of the provenance of the work.”

But after the letter from the Calder Foundation, written by Alexander Calder’s grandson, Grand Rapids asked that the flowers be removed. Dodde wasn’t discouraged by the city’s decision.

“It always had an expiration date,” he said. “That’s kind of the nice thing about ArtPrize. You can do things that are outside of the boundaries of what people would deem acceptable, or deem normal, or deem pleasing, sometimes.”

Dodde isn’t bitter with the Calder Foundation either, saying they’re “just doing their job.”

“We never came into the contest with any delusion of prizes,” Dodde said. “We came into this as an awesome opportunity to re-introduce the Calder to people, and for me as an artist to get an opportunity to really push the boundaries of fine art.”

The Collegiate wants to know how you feel about the removal of Dodde’s artwork. Comment below.