Where big humor engages high culture on a grand scale. A very big horse makes for very big poop and very big poop calls for a very big scoop.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Commemorative Video

The Grand Rapids Alliance of MICHief in MICHigan (www.gramim.com) is pleased to announce the release of the official PALETTA GRANDE one year anniversary 2007 commemorative video on sale now at your local bookstore and Frederik Meijer Gardens gift shop.

Video highlights include:
Scoop History: The life and times of Florentine artist Francesco Nicola Sansovino.
Scoop Makers: Bringing about the scoop - Fondamento per la Scultura Naturale (Foundation for Natural Sculpture)
Scoop Artists: Personal interviews with the Paletta Grande sculptors Ponzo and Ileana Siricio.
Scoop Thought: Reflective commentaries by William Faulkner, Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, Oldenburg and Coosje van Brugge.

Also includes bonus video:
Scoop Making: Behind the scenes footage of Paletta Grande during design and construction.
Scoop Reality: Live footage of the Paletta Grande exhibit being assembled at Meijer Gardens.
Scoop News: Coverage by local TV news station FOX 17.

Please enjoy these samples:

video

video

Monday, September 18, 2006


Paletta Grande - Exhibit Photos

Flickr Link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pietro_sorrento


FREDERIK MEIJER GARDENS & SCULPTURE PARK PRESENTS
FRANCESCO NICOLA SANSOVINO: PALETTA GRANDE

CONTACT
877-907-2667
www.meijergardens.org

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — September 16, 2006 — Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the most significant sculpture experience in the Midwest and an emerging cultural destination on the national scene, is pleased to introduce the never-before-exhibited PALETTA GRANDE ("Big Scoop", "Large Shovel") by Francesco Nicola Sansovino, in his grandest public art exhibition to date. His artistry debuts in the United States exclusively at the spectacular Frederik Meijer Gardens world-class gardens and sculpture park.

"Meijer Gardens is delighted to bring art into our community by presenting Francesco Nicola Sansovino in Grand Rapids, an exhibition that complements the history and significance of Leonardo Da Vinci's great horse 'Gran Cavallo' and expresses nature's call as we all can relate," said Joseph Becherer, curator and director of the Sculpture Program at Meijer Gardens. "We are pleased to work with Fondamento per la Scultura Naturale (Foundation for Natural Sculpture) to bring about this important piece of whimsical imagery. A very big horse makes for very big poop and very big poop calls for a very big scoop. Sansovino's grand vision is now fulfilled, to see us smile at ourselves and find playful delight in the creativity of art in all its frolicsome forms, even mischievousness."

Displayed at ground level which allows for easy visitor interaction, the 12 x 12 foot scoop with 22 foot handle is an awesome triumph, inspiring gasps and grins by adults and children alike. Visitors can pick up an educational brochure at the exhibition podium or visitor information desk and page through the exhibit literature describing the history and chronology of PALETTA GRANDE — "From Scoop Thought to Scoop Reality." The exhibit also features PALETTA MINIATURA, a 1/8th scale replica interactive display. Visitors can discover in miniature how a stack of flat aluminum sheet metal can unfold and transform into a 3-dimensional GRANDE scoop.

FRANCESCO NICOLA SANSOVINO: PALETTA GRANDE is made possible by a grant from the Fondamento per la Scultura Naturale (Foundation for Natural Sculpture) — a world renowned fraternity of kinetic artisans based in Grande Rapido, Italy celebrating art that expresses good-natured fun and the human spirit of adventure. Their motto speaks to every human soul: "What’s life without adventure? What’s society without art?" At the official unveiling, Fondamento Founder and Art Director expressed the purpose and importance of bringing PALETTA GRANDE to realization:

  • To laud and applaud the Italian Renaissance and its immense cultural, artistic and scientific legacy.
  • To uplift and esteem Leonardo Da Vinci, his extraordinary genius, his clever codes, and his grand and noble horse.
  • To encourage imagination, recreation, adventure and creativity among us all.
  • To promote Frederik Meijer Gardens, the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts.
  • To stand as a lasting symbol of kinship between horse and scoop, art and necessity.
Special guest speaker William Faulkner, dedicating PALETTA GRANDE at the posterior of Da Vinci's horse, shared his feelings with these words: "There is something about jumping a horse over a fence or lifting a great scoop in the air, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it's the risk, the gamble. In any event it's a thing I need. The Scoop that Every Horse Needs...IS!"

About Francesco Nicola Sansovino
Francesco Nicola Sansovino was a Florentine artist of the Renaissance period (Florence 1462 - Venice 1529). Sculptor, architect, Reformed traditionalist and contemporary of Leonardo Da Vinci, his works influenced a fun sculptural style for nearly a century in Italy. Sansovino's origins are unclear, his earliest works emerging in 1490 in Pisa (or perhaps 1491, if corrections are made for the early Pisan calendar). Competing directly with Michelangelo in works of refined classic inspiration, he was said to create expressions of theoretical and practical debate, challenging the social norms of the new Italian "modern society" and subtly transforming them into humorous commentary. Modern day large-scale artisans Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen say they gained inspiration for their big projects (Trowel I, 1971 and Trowel II, 1976) from the maestro Francesco.

About Grand Rapids
Since the arrival of Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse 35 years ago, groundbreaking exhibitions such as Sculpture Off the Pedestal (1973) and the opening of Meijer Gardens in 1995, the City of Grand Rapids has earned a national reputation for public art and sculpture projects. That tradition continues with Francesco Nicola Sansovino's PALETTA GRANDE, one of the largest public scoop exhibitions in the city’s history. Meijer Gardens has partnered with several community organizations to help realize this presentation — Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau, West Michigan Tourist Association and the Grand Rapids Alliance of MICHief in MICHigan (www.gramim.com).

About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
The 125-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which currently serves more than 600,000 visitors annually, features Michigan's largest tropical conservatory; the nation's most comprehensive carnivorous plant house; one of the largest children gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens; outdoor gardens; the Midwest's most comprehensive sculpture experience featuring world-class works by Rodin, Moore, di Suvero, Francesco Nicola Sansovino and others; indoor galleries with changing sculpture exhibitions, as well as a 1600-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring world-renowned musicians every summer, café and gift shop. For additional information, please visit www.meijergardens.org

GET THE POOP ON THE SCOOP AT FREDERIK MEIJER GARDENS!

CHRONOLOGY OF THE SCOOP

2003
  • Garden historian Pietro Sorrento buys a sketch of Paletta Grande on eBaia (Italian eBay) described as an original work of Francesco Nicola Sansovino authenticated by the Italian Botanical Art Institute in Giardini Boboli, Italy.
  • Sorrento discovers a secret Da Vinci code hidden in the famous painting "Elegant Art Pad". The artist’s hand shown clearly sketching a very big horse on his ornate art pad casts a rather unusual shadow which is actually that of an inverted scoop. More interestingly, the letters in the title "Elegant Art Pad" are the very same as those in "Paletta Grande".
  • Careful research into the horticulture records of the Knights Templar reveals the truth. Covertly Paletta Grande was a joint project between Sansovino and Da Vinci to complement his great horse "Gran Cavallo". When Leonardo's full-scale clay horse was destroyed by French invaders in 1499, Francesco's scoop project was retired as well.
  • After visiting the exquisite Frederik Meijer Gardens to see Da Vinci’s grand vision fulfilled, his great bronze horse now standing majestically, Sorrento feels inspired and resolves to finish what Francesco had begun.
2004
  • Sorrento partners with Fondamento per la Scultura Naturale (Foundation for Natural Sculpture) to bring about the great scoop. The Foundation provides preliminary funding, hires artists, metallurgists and freemasons.
  • Sorrento travels to Italy for meetings with leading Renaissance scholars, art historians, garden tool experts and descendants of the elite Priory of Sion.
  • A 1/8th scale model is sculpted out of aluminum foil by world renowned artists Ponzo and Ileana Siricio. The scoop is faithful to Francesco's original sketches and is in keeping with his fun-loving, light-hearted spirit.
  • Deeply impassioned by the spectacular botanic garden and world-class sculpture park, Sorrento selects Frederik Meijer Gardens as the quintessential venue for exhibiting the great scoop.
2005
  • A celebrity polo tournament is held in Sacramento, CA to help raise funds. Patrons donate $5,000 per divot replaced and $10,000 per steaming divot.
  • Precision 3-D Laser Imaging Incorporated scans the 1/8th scale model to develop full scale construction molds for the aluminum casting.
  • Ford Motor Company donates 17 retired Mustang GT crash test vehicles for aluminum and steel raw materials.
  • Lowes, Home Depot and Menards provide all remaining materials for the great scoop. Construction begins.
  • A set back in the construction of the massive handle sends engineers back to the drawing board, delaying the project 87 days. White pine proves too soft to support the weight of the giant scoop. A towering oak is cut down to replace it. All intricate hand carvings are redone.
  • Handle construction completed, sections are saw cut, packed and crated for delivery.
  • Steel frame is completed for the massive scoop, 2 tons of aluminum placed and polished, final detailing is applied.
  • Scoop construction completed, sections are laser cut, packed and crated for delivery.

2006 - YEAR OF THE SCOOP

  • Boeing Aircraft Company expands the "Improved Cargo Helicopter" program which will modernize more than 300 US Army Chinook 47D helicopters. The first two Chinook 47F prototype helicopters are loaned to the City of Grand Rapids to transport Paletta Grande.
  • Paletta Grande scoop and handle arrive at Frederik Meijer Gardens and are reassembled to exacting specifications by Fondamento craftsmen.
  • Unveiling and dedication with special guests William Faulkner, Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
  • September 16 - Paletta Grande exhibit officially opens at Frederik Meijer Gardens !!!


PALETTA GRANDE
From Scoop Thought To Scoop Reality
How One Man's Grand Inspiration became
Another Man's Grand Aspiration
500 Years Later

SCOOP ARTIST – Francesco Nicola Sansovino
Florentine artist of the Renaissance period (Florence 1462 - Venice 1529). Sculptor, architect, Reformed traditionalist and contemporary of Leonardo Da Vinci, his works influenced a fun sculptural style for nearly a century in Italy. Sansovino's origins are unclear, his earliest works emerging in 1490 in Pisa (or perhaps 1491, if corrections are made for the early Pisan calendar). Competing directly with Michelangelo in works of refined classic inspiration, he was said to create expressions of theoretical and practical debate, challenging the social norms of the new Italian "modern society" and subtly transforming them into humorous commentary. Modern day large-scale artisans Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen say they gained inspiration for their big projects (Trowel I, 1971 and Trowel II, 1976) from the maestro Francesco.

SCOOP THOUGHT – Paletta Grande
Literal translation: "Big Scoop" or "Large Shovel". In 1482, the Duke of Milan commissioned Leonardo Da Vinci to sculpt the largest equestrian statue in the world – one the size of a three-story building. Not to be shrouded in the historic shadows of her husband, the Duchess of Milan secretly expanded the project to include the sculpting of a colossal scoop, unrivaled in magnitude, to accompany the great horse. Unable to sustain the enormity of his assignment, Da Vinci outsourced "Paletta Grande" to fellow artisan and decorated sculptor, Francesco Nicola Sansovino.

SCOOP MAKERS – Fondamento per la Scultura Naturale
Literal translation: "Foundation for Natural Sculpture". This world renowned fraternity of kinetic artisans based in Grande Rapido, Italy celebrates art that expresses good-natured fun and the human spirit of adventure. Their motto speaks to every human soul: "What’s life without adventure? What’s society without art?" A grant given to garden historian Pietro Sorrento, second only to the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, breathed life into Sansovino’s monumental scoop which lay in hibernation for over 500 years.

SCOOP REALITY – Unveiling and Dedication
In his grandest public art exhibition to date, Francesco Nicola Sansovino’s never-before-exhibited PALETTA GRANDE debuts in the United States exclusively at the spectacular Frederik Meijer Gardens world-class gardens and sculpture park. Displayed at ground level allowing for easy visitor interaction, the immense 12 x 12 foot scoop with 22 foot handle is unequivocally the largest public scoop exhibition in Grand Rapids history. At the official unveiling, Fondamento Founder and Art Director expressed the purpose and importance of bringing PALETTA GRANDE to realization:

  • To laud and applaud the Italian Renaissance and its immense cultural, artistic and scientific legacy.
  • To uplift and esteem Leonardo Da Vinci, his extraordinary genius, his clever codes, and his grand and noble horse.
  • To encourage imagination, recreation, adventure & creativity among us all.
  • To promote Frederik Meijer Gardens, the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts.
  • To stand as a lasting symbol of kinship between horse and scoop, art and necessity.
Special guest speaker William Faulkner, dedicating PALETTA GRANDE at the posterior of Da Vinci's horse, shared his feelings with these words: "There is something about jumping a horse over a fence or lifting a great scoop in the air, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it's the risk, the gamble. In any event it's a thing I need. The Scoop that Every Horse Needs...IS!"