Tuesday, Nov. 27 — As a dozen Michigan State University art students stared at the wall earlier today, 228 eyes stared back. They were inside the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, which had just unveiled its latest piece, “The Gift: Lansing, Michigan.”
The project has been a work in progress for over a month, as German artist Jochen Gerz invited the area’s regular Joes and Janes to come in for a quick headshot. The 20-by-24-inch black-and-white portrait photos are arranged in a neat grid (19 portraits long, six high).
Over 500 people participated, so the first question for people who took to the stool and looked deep into the camera is, “Where’s my face on there?” But if you don’t happen to see your mug on the wall this week, fear not — there are 114 photos on display, and they’ll be rotated every Friday, giving visitors a unique piece of art each week.
When the exhibit is taken down next month, everyone who participated will receive a “gift” (hence the exhibit’s name) in exchange for sharing his or her likeness. If you braved the camera and allowed your portrait to be taken, you will be given a photo, but not your own. Each “model” will receive a photograph of a complete stranger … and someone else will be the recipient of your giant black and white photographed face.
If you’re interested in participating, the photo lab in the education center of the museum will be open for portraits for one final day on Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibit will run through Dec. 15.