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Art ➔ Printmaker's Whale, The Freshwater Zars Whale"

Identifier:
2011.4.1
Description:
Fabricated life-size two-dimensional lightly colored, translucent work of art depicting a large fictitious "freshwater whale species" that was created to be suspended from the ceiling. Includes two fictitious artifact identification tags.;This two-dimensional sheer fabric full-scale interpretation of a whale was fabricated by a Spring 2010 Kendall College printmaking class for a special month-long public program and exhibition that was held at the old Grand Rapids Public Museum's building on Jefferson Avenue. This special project was not your ordinary museum exhibit. Rather, it was a project that was purposefully designed to turn over the curatorial and fabrication role to 30 college faculty and over 200 students, while the Museum staff provided support and oversight to ensure the museum facility and collections were properly cared for and protected. The resulting exhibition entitled: "Michigan Land of Riches: Reexamining the Old Grand Rapids Public Museum" was described by the online Rapidian journalist Austin Bunn, as "the best civic art experiment I've seen in years". It helped the Museum understand how to become a better partner with local schools, colleges & universities, as well as providing new insights into how valued the Museum's vast permanent collections are. It's creation was inspired by the 1905 Fin Back Whale Skeleton that hung from the ceiling of the Jefferson building for over 50 years- before it was reinstalled to hang on permanent display in the middle of the Van Andel Museum Center first floor galleria since 1994.;Two hang tags attached to whale's tale, referencing the mid-20th century Grand Rapids Public Museum artifact labels.;The "whale" was made by a group of students in upper level Printmaking courses at Kendall College of Art & Design of FSU under the direction of Professor Mariel Versluis for the special exhibition curated by Paul Amenta called, "Michigan Land of Riches". The student team that created the whale include: Jacob Zars, Alicia Wierschke, Phil Scally, Lacy Peterson, Alicia Heximer, Victoria Marcetti and Cassie Heuton. Initial drawing was done by Jacob Zars. To finalize the project in preparation for its installation in the exhibit, the students wrote a fictitious account of the captured of the whale and how it came to hang in the museum. The fictitious hand-written 1832 correspondence and accompanying hand-colored drawing depicting the fictitious whale capture have been added to the accession file.;This work of art directly references the 1905 Fin Back Whale Skeleton that has been on public display at any given time over the past 100+ years, becoming a key civic icon and symbol of "museum-ness" in the Grand Rapids community for more than five generations.
Date:
2010
Materials:
Drawings, Painting, Collagraph, Screen Printed, Mixed Media, Sheer Fabric
Dimensions:
6" h 76'" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Collection Tier:
Tier 2
Source:
Courtesy Of Kendall College Of Art And Design Of Ferris State University's Spring 2010 Printmaking Class
Exhibit/Program:
Michigan: Land of Riches (2010)
Michigan: Land of Riches was a collaborative project between the Grand Rapids Public Museum and 200+ local college and university students under the direction of Paul Amenta. Students created site specific art installations in the old Grand Rapids Public Museum building at 54 Jefferson to reflect on the past of the space as well as to help envision its potential future.
Related Entities:
Kendall College of Art and Design (creator) Zars, Jacob (creator) Kendall College of Art and Design (donor)