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The Pohlite Blog

Participating in "The Gift: Lansing, Michigan"

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With Jochen Gerz, German-born artist behind "The Gift: Lansing, Michigan"


Just weeks after the grand opening of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, hundreds of people who participated in the exhibit "The Gift: Lansing, Michigan" had the opportunity to receive a portrait from the work's artist, Jochen Gerz, this past Sunday.

The idea behind the project is that everyone is connected to the art and the museum through owning a portrait from it. The fact that no one will receive their own portrait adds to the randomness and mystery.

Portraits were taken at a makeshift photo lab in the former Barnes and Noble location on Grand River in the days leading up to the grand opening of the museum, as well as during special times at the museum itself.

I had my portrait taken on the Sunday of the grand opening weekend, the first day the museum was open to the public. I still haven't seen mine or those of anyone I know personally, but I look forward to this week's edition of the City Pulse, which will have the hundreds of portraits published in one place.

My in-laws also had portraits taken, and we met at the museum to receive the new portraits in return. Interestingly, we each received a portrait of a woman.



Although I do not know who the woman is in my portrait, I'm continuing to find familiarity in her face as I look at it. When Jochen Gerz handed it to me, he talked about how this woman is older than me, but that in time I will find more in common with her and her appearance.

I love her dark hair and features, especially how spaced apart her eyes are - it's even more obvious when looking at the three portraits together. She has a Jackie Kennedy look about her to me.

I plan to hang her portrait with pieces that I've done for a figure drawing class I took about 10 years ago that are around the same size.

I'm really interested to see more of the portraits as participants share how and where they displayed theirs in their homes.

This was an intriguing project and I'm glad that I was a part of it.


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