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Art a Frozen Asset in Michigan

January 25, 1987|LARRY PRYOR

The Michigan Water Resources Commission has gone into the arts-commissioning business, approving a project to create a 650,000-square-foot painting on a frozen lake. "I see this project as a chance for the arts to advance and to include the people," Duane Szot, a graduate student at Kendall School of Design, told a somewhat skeptical commission. "I would object like mad if that was on the ice I see every day," commission member Frederick Brown said. But the commission's chairman, James Murray, who said the ice work could "promote more understanding" of the arts, prevailed. Szot plans to paint a giant "yellowish-orange" spiral, using a blend of food dye, Kool-Aid and Jell-O as his medium. He assured the commission that this would create no more pollution than tossing a "couple of oranges" into the water. Szot said the lake near East Grand Rapids is used by ice fishermen, but "because (the painting) is spiral, I can work right around the fishermen and incorporate them into the work. . . . Ice boats out there will be flying across it. What a wonderful way to experience art. I think if you interact with art in a physical way, it helps you understand it a little bit more."

--Interacting in his own way, Andy Warhol has put on display a pop art version of the "Last Supper" in a Milan palazzo across the street from the church where Leonardo da Vinci's mural will soon be closed to the public for restoration. Warhol's work--four large paintings, some portraying Jesus and the apostles upside down, and 21 smaller works partially copied from Leonardo's work--is a "play of comparisons with Leonardo," Warhol said.

--Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) was one of several congressmen who braved the snow in Washington to catch political satirist Mark Russell's show at Ford's Theater. Russell did not spare the Kennedy clan, either. "Whenever a child is born into the family" he said, "at their first birthday they're given a little cake with ice cream and a congressional district."

--Billionaire businessman Sam Walton and his wife, Helen, will have a $6-million arts center at Fayettville, Ark., named in their honor. The Waltons, both of Bentonville, donated $5 million several years ago to pay for the University of Arkansas' part of the cost of the center. Fayetteville voters approved a bond issue last October to finance the city's share. Walton, founder of the Wal-Mart discount stores chain, is listed at the top of Forbes magazine's list of the nation's richest people, although Walton prefers not to discuss the designation.

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