The Rapidian

Internationally-Recognized Sculpture being forcibly removed in downtown Grand Rapids




Open Concept Gallery, a gallery devoted to using contemporary art to spark dialogue, partnered with the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in the summer of last year to bring Big Mind Sky, a neon sculpture by Ugo Rondinone to downtown Grand Rapids. After months of working with city officials, the sculpture was installed on the rooftop of the gallery, located at 50 Louis st., in February of 2012. During the installation process, the building was sold to new owners CWD Real Estate, who soon contacted the gallery to inform them the sculpture must be removed so they could close the sale on the building. The new owners were informed that the important piece of public art had been approved by City of Grand Rapids officials and the previous building owners, and that the gallery had taken out a one million dollar insurance policy in order to ensure the safety of the public and the work itself, but this did not change their minds. As a city that puports itself as an epicenter for art and culture, this is an important issue to cover and discuss. 

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