Monday, Nov. 5 — An art installation relying on public participation leading up to the opening of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on Nov. 10 has attracted roughly 250 participants.
The piece, called "The Gift: Lansing, Michigan," was conceived by photographic artist Jochen Gerz and consists of a wall of framed black-and-white portraits.
“We need as many people as we can to participate,” said Rebekah Zuranko, a Michigan State University graduate student of painting and video who is helping staff the project.
Since the project began last week, roughly 250 participants have stopped by for a portrait at 333 E. Grand River Ave. at the former Barnes & Noble location.
Lindsay Emerson, an MSU undergraduate psychology student also helping with the project, said, “More people are stopping in to check it out,” rather than staffers actively trying to bring participants in, as was the case in the beginning. “People are curious about what’s going on here. They know about it and they come in here and say, ‘I want to be a part of it.”
Gerz has created similar installations in contemporary art museums in Paris and San Francisco. The MSU Arts Department and City Pulse are cooperating to help promote the piece through print and online publication.
The public is invited to sit in for a portrait session at the present location through Wednesday between noon and 3 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the temporary studio will move into a tent adjacent to the museum. The resulting photo will be printed, framed and hung in the museum. When the exhibit is over, all participants will be called and given a portrait — but not their own — to take home and hang. Hence the name, “The Gift.”