Grand Valley Artists Celebrate 50 years, GRAM announces opening date

Grand Valley Artists Celebrate 50 Years

As abstract expressionism began to take hold as the innovative style in the U.S. in the 1950s, there were some that felt otherwise. In Grand Rapids, a group of young artists began working together to maintain their realistic style of painting. William Kubiak, Reynold "Rey" Weidenaar, Thomas Hoover, Carl Forslund and Armand Merizon formed the Grand Valley Artists group and have been working together since with the association now reaching over 250 artists.

"Artists work alone. It's a cocoon-like existence," said Forslund, who still attends monthly GVA critiques after all these years. "This group gives us the opportunity to interrelate, work together (and find) camaraderie." (Grand Rapids Press, 2/18/07)

GVA will be celebrating their 50 years on April 27 at their new space located at 1120 Monroe Ave. NW

GRAM announces opening date

After minor delays, and waiting with anticipation - the Grand Rapids Art Museum has now announced an official opening date of October 5, 2007. If you haven't heard this a hundred times already, the GRAM will be the first and only art museum in the world to have its entire facilities LEED certified.

Posted on March 7, 2007 | Comments (0)

John Mason's Grand Rapids in Frank LLoyd Ad


In this month's Art in America, Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica. CA featured John Mason's sculpture entitled Grand Rapids in their advertisement. This piece was created for the 1973 Grand Rapids exhibition entitled Sculpture off the Pedestal which was organized by the Womens' Committee of the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

This exhibition also produced works such as Mark di Suvero's Motu Viget and Robert Morris' X, as well as works by 11 other artists.

Posted on February 23, 2007 | Comments (0)

Meijer Garden really did get Punk'd

Back on September 25, 2006, LAMB blogged about about an intervention that took place at Frederik Meijer Gardens called Paleta Grande [ read: old post}.
We emailed the staff at the Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park to verify if this was actually true. Today, 5 months later, we have the truth:

Officially for the record, rumors of Paletta Grande returning to Meijer
Gardens on its March 16, 6-month anniversary are untrue. Rumors are true
however that Paletta Grande was quickly sold to a private collector. Waste
Management of West Michigan secured the sculpture at private auction for an
undisclosed amount. Yes, even Meijer Gardens can have a sense of humor.

Recently the individual responsible for the exhibit was found to be one of
our own. Disciplinary action was swift and appropriately measured to deter
copy-cats. Increased security measures have since been enacted throughout
the park to protect Meijer Gardens exhibits and other interests against
theft, vandalism and Ashton Kutcher look-alikes.

Meijer Gardens thanks LAMB for their support of the gardens and the arts
and requests that readers refrain from contacting the park with inquiries
concerning Paletta Grande.

Dr. Joseph Becherer, Ph.D
Curator of Sculpture
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Posted on February 19, 2007 | Comments (8)


Our favorite polychromatic color field painter and former Calvin College painting professor, Kasarian Dane, is now teaching painting in upstate New York at St. Lawrence.

His most recent show at Rowland Contemporary, Color, received a positive review in Feb. 2007's issue of Art Forum.

"Dane has long been interested in the chromatic effects of various combinations of color. Painting on both aluminum and wood panel, he creates sometimes thick and sometimes thin bands of highly saturated color in both vertical and horizontal alignment. Both matte and glossy, these oil paintings construct formal relationships that reach beyond the surface and address superficiality and the politics of ambivalence through their insouciant qualities. As David Batchelor stated in his book "Chromophobia", color is "...a false addition to a surface and the truth beneath that surface.""

Posted on February 10, 2007 | Comments (1)

Grand Rapids Expat gets attention of Art Forum

Calvin College graduate, Rowley Kennerk, gets some positive vibes from

"Newcomer Rowley Kennerk has unlocked the vaults of private collections for the third exhibition at his gallery, filling his diminutive space with gems by Sam Durant, Robert Heinecken, Lee Lozano, Cady Noland, and Richard Prince. Much of the art riffs on the cultural climate of the '60s....

These regurgitated pop-culture images of flower-child counterculture, sexual revolution, and the pathologies of everyday life adeptly expose the collective perversions that lead to social upheaval, and set an interesting precedent for the gallery’s program."

Read the enitre review here. Visit the Rowley Kennerk Gallery online.

Posted on February 5, 2007 | Comments (0)

Cameron Van Dyke Solo Exhibit @ Forest Hills Fine Art Center

Cameron Van Dyke, of the husband and wife duo runCapsul Gallery located at 136 S. Division [map]will be exhibiting his Modern furniture at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center. The exhibit opens Thursday, January 11th with a reception from 6-7:30pm. The exhibition will include 25 recent pieces, including his newest public seating project.

Not able to make the opening? The show will be up until January 28th.

Posted on January 3, 2007 | Comments (0)

Conflux interview MP3

The *flux interview between Ben Schaafsma and Adam Wolpa is now available online. Download it and perhaps follow along with the transcript here. A free copy of LAMB #2 if you can spot and name the R. Kelly song!

Posted on October 17, 2006 | Comments (1)

Big Red Thing

As you've noticed by now, LAMB makes occassional references to the Calder, GR's beloved (or not) sculptural moniker. As you may have also noticed on G-RAD's front page, Jennifer Mikulay is doing a project utilizing its imagery. Rather than give you another synopsis, we're publishing the statement for your infotainment:

In 1969, the citizens of Grand Rapids dedicated a gigantic red stabile by Alexander Calder as the heart of an ambitious urban renewal effort. Designed to announce a new, spirited civic center, the sculpture embodies notions of the public sphere that are under much critical pressure today. Contemporary art historians often suggest that public sculptures of this type are passé, but how have citizen experiences with and responses to La Grande Vitesse developed over time? How do ordinary citizens define, use, and produce this arguably still quite prototypical public art work?

A new research project argues that vernacular photography has much to tell us about the relationship between citizens and public art. To test this claim, Civic Studio will mount a drive to collect photographs of Calder's sculpture created by local residents over its nearly 40-year lifespan. Photos will be collected by hand, via email, and through a website upload utility. The goal is to collect several hundred photographs created by Grand Rapidians from all walks of life. The collected photos will be displayed at Civic Studio, online, and at a poster session in February at the College Art Association's annual conference. The researcher is currently seeking additional venues to display the photographs.

The researcher, Jennifer Geigel Mikulay, is a Ph.D. candidate in visual culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is writing her dissertation about public art in Grand Rapids, and she teaches visual culture at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

Furthermore, the press release goes something like this:

GVSU students participating in a course called Civic Studio seek photographs of Alexander Calder’s Grand Rapids stabile. According to associate professor of art Paul Wittenbraker, “Civic Studio aims to document a full range of experiences with the Calder, from 1969 to the present.” The public is invited to contribute photographs that may be old or new, everyday or special occasion, print or digital, black/white or color. The project, entitled “Big Red Thing” after a common nickname for Calder’s sculpture, is part of a research project coordinated by University of Wisconsin graduate student Jenny Mikulay. Civic Studio will collect photographs between October 15 and November 15, 2006.

Photos may be contributed in person or by mail, email, or website upload. To contribute a photo in person and receive assistance making a scan, visit Civic Studio at the Rapid Central Station, 250 Grandville SW on Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesdays 5 to 7 p.m., or Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contributors may also mail photographs with a SASE to Civic Studio Big Red Thing Project, 300 Ellsworth NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. To contribute by email, please send a message to To contribute via website upload, visit

Civic Studio, a course that investigates the role of artists in their community, is led by Wittenbraker. Students Zyra Castillo, Jennifer Dunbar, Dean Foster, Giles Hefferan, and Sara Wassenaar are coordinating the photo drive in collaboration with Mikulay.

Posted on October 17, 2006 | Comments (2)

REVIEW: Under Cover: An Exhibition of Artists' Books

By Teresa Zbiciak

Under Cover: An Exhibition of Artists' Books, a juried show with artists from throughout the nation, is currently on display in the UICA’s Monroe St Gallery. For such a seemingly specific category, there is enormous variety. If there is, in fact, the idea of a Book resting in the imaginary universe of Forms, it had no direct route of manifestation here. Artists variably referenced, questioned, redefined, destroyed, or transformed any conservative notions of book-ness.

Posted on October 8, 2006 | Comments (1)

REVIEW: Curt Ikens

By Teresa Zbiciak

In line with the book theme in the Monroe gallery, downstairs in the Front Street Gallery, Curt Ikens' installation "Monument Beyond Passaic" deals with Robert Smithson's conception of entropy in the terms of outdated knowledge.

Posted on October 8, 2006 | Comments (0)

LAMB founders to speak @ CALVIN


Posted on October 4, 2006 | Comments (3)

Frederik Meijer Gardens gets PUNK'D!

On Monday Sept. 18, a mysterious press release was posted on a website, Paletta Grande. The website attempts to historicize a fictional Italian sculptor named Francesco Nicola Sansovino, who is responsible for the design of Paletta Grande [tanslated from Italian means "Big Scoop"]. The press release even includes,


what seem to be fabricated, quotes from Meijer Gardens head curator - Joseph Becherer. One of Becherer's possibly fabricated quotes from the press release include, “We are pleased to work with Fondamento per la Scultura Naturale (Foundation for Natural Sculpture) to bring about this important piece of whimsical imagery. A very big horse makes for very big poop and very big poop calls for a very big scoop. Sansovino's grand vision is now fulfilled, to see us smile at ourselves and find playful delight in the creativity of art in all its frolicsome forms, even mischievousness.”

Photos of Paletta Grande also appeared on a Flickr account under the user name Pietro Sorrento. The photos seem to be nothing more than a photoshopped spoof, but at this point nothing can be confirmed.

The name Francesco Nicola Sansovino turns up nothing on a simple Google search, but the names Francesco, Nicola and Sansovino are all common among Italian Renaissance sculptors - this new fictional name simply being a conglomoerate of others true names.

The press release also not only reported William Faulkner's presence at Meijer Gardens and ground breaking speech for Paletta Grande, but it mentions Meijer Gardens partnership with the "Alliance of MICHief in MICHigan (," which gives this away as a well executed prank.

Who is this Ashton Kutcher of the art world? Sounds like a young Maurizio Catalan.

LAMB has contacted the Sculpture Department at the Meijer Gardens for more information.

Posted on September 25, 2006 | Comments (6)

Douglas Rushkoff to speak at GVSU

If you have ever taken an intro art, design or cultural studies class [or even a visual culture class. GO CALVIN!], you may have the seen the PBS documentary The Merchants of Cool. A documentary about the tastemakers,

the people that create and market what's "cool". Douglas Rushkoff is responsible for this great documentary.

"The Art & Design Department at Grand Valley State University, in partnership with the College of Interdisciplinary Studies, the School of Communications and the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy, is pleased to present a lecture by internationally respected author and media theorist, DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF. Rushkoff's lecture, entitled The Persuaders: Marketing & the Creation of the Citizen-Consumer, has been scheduled for October 12th, 7pm, at the Louis Armstrong Theatre on Grand Valley's Allendale campus."

More information about this lecture is available here.

Posted on September 21, 2006 | Comments (0)

GRAM slated to open "on-time"

You think this project will never be completed, but according to an article


by Jeff Kaczmarczyk in the Grand Rapids Press, the Grand Rapids Art Museum is on schedule to be open for business in November of 2007. Don't take my word for it, take the GRAM CAM's word for it!

According to Kaczmarczyk, a $75 million capital campaign began in September 2001 with an initial gift of $20 million from Peter Wege. "The campaign -- including $55 million for construction, $4.5 million to buy and demolish privately owned buildings on the site, $2.5 million in transitional and moving expenses, and $13 million toward an endowment to fund operations -- crossed the $70 million mark this summer."

Too bad Dick Devos isn't interested in "cool cities". [link]

GRAM has also commissioned a 25 foot bi-chrome piece by Ellsworth Kelley for the atrium lobby of the new museum. According to a Grand Rapids Press article, "The lobby is a monumental space, and we looked for an artist that we felt could create a wall piece," said museum director Celeste Adams. "In terms of that genre, he is the pre-eminent American artist."

Is there any room for institutional critique in Grand Rapids? hmmm......

Posted on September 20, 2006 | Comments (6)

mmmmmm...... Food-Farm-Film Fest

We here at LAMB like food, especially LOCAL food [as well as film]. The Local Food-Farm-Film Fest will take place at the Wealthy St Theater in conjunction with Farms Without Harms. The festival will feature 10 short films that aim at making agriculture and food production more transparent in hopes that people will think twice before they enjoy some KFC or even a salad from Panera.

Not only are we interested in food, but also how different types of artistic mediums can be used to raise political, relational and social concerns and how art can be an incubator for new ideas and change.

The event takes place at the Wealthy Theater, 1130 Wealthy SE in Grand Rapids, on Saturday Sept. 16 from 1-10 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $10, or $7 after 5 p.m. Michigan native Kirsten Kelly will discuss

her 90-minute documentary, "Asparagus: A Stalk-umentary," which will be shown at 7:30 p.m., and answer questions after the screening.

Did you know that Asparagus is actually an herb and a perennial herb at that!

The Future of Food is an hour-and-a-half documentary about how food is really grown in the United States. A great a primer to this festival - you can watch it here.

Posted on August 30, 2006 | Comments (0)

Mark di Suvero to speak in Grand Rapids

There's the Calder, the X and then .... the TIRE SWING! Grand Rapids is known for it's public art works, but not many people can tell you why they're art or would made them -

Mark di Suvero is known for his towering sculptures that appropriate very raw industrial material such as steel I beams and making them sway and dangle as if they weighed nothing.


Most Grand Rapidians are most familiar with his tire swing, entitled Motu Viget, which means strength through activity. Motu Viget is located near the Vandenberg Plaza.

Most recently, the Motu Viget has been the subject of a song by anti-folk musician Kimya Dawson in her song Tire Swing on her newest album Remember That I Love You. Dawson is accompanied on the album by Grand Rapids expatriate Paul Baribeau, now Bloomington, IN resident.

On Monday, October 30, 2006 at 7:00 PM, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan will host internationally-acclaimed sculptor, Mark di Suvero, for the second-annual Ward Paul and Charles Schoenknecht Art and Sculpture Lecture Series. Di Suvero will speak in greater detail about his work which he calls, "drawing with steel," as well as his recent exhibitions at Meijer Gardens, Storm King Art Center and the Peace Tower during the Whitney Biennial.

Posted on August 29, 2006 | Comments (0)


The blogging community art website has recently aquired the former

Dynamite Family Gallery, located at 613 Lyon. The group plans on using the space for many different projects as well as a general 'clubhouse' including a reading room and screen printing facilities. The space shall be known as NE.ST.

Stay tuned to G-Rad for more news.

Posted on August 21, 2006

UICA Call for Proposals

As part of an ongoing commitment to promote challenging, innovative practices in the visual arts, UICA is seeking exhibition proposals for solo shows, curated shows, and individual pieces that address contemporary issues and concerns, and/or work that pushes traditional boundaries in its treatment of materials or subject. There are five exhibition opportunities, described below.

All entries will be reviewed for the 2007/2008 season if postmarked by NOVEMBER 1, 2006. Notification of results will be sent by May 1, 2007.

Posted on August 20, 2006 | Comments (1)

Artist Application for the 18th Annual UICA Holiday Artists’ Market

The Holiday Artists’ Market is held throughout UICA’s impressive 28,000 square foot facility and offers artists an inviting venue to sell their one-of-a-kind works of art and craft right before the holiday season. On December 1, 5 – 9 PM and December 2, 10 AM – 5 PM, hundreds of shoppers look forward to the sale each year where over 40 artists will set-up shop. Artists’ applications due September 30, 2006, and jury results will be mailed by October 20.

If you are interested in applying:

Download the artist application at


Or contact them at 616-454-7000 to receive an application by mail.

Posted on August 18, 2006