‘An Artist’s Journey’ to unite students, cultures

Alexandria Sprague

“An Artist’s Journey” will explore 81 years of Dutch artist Cyril Lixenberg, famous in West Michigan for his sculptures and paper works. The exhibit will line the walls of Grand Valley State University’s Thornapple Room in the Kirkhof Center throughout the fall semester, showcasing mono-prints, small sculptures and paintings from the 1950s to present and giving students a chance to experience his modern style.

“It’s actually pretty awesome. They all make me interested,” film major Chelsea Couyeou said.

Lixenberg is a major contributor to the aesthetic of GVSU. In 2002, he donated multiple pieces of art to the university, and his “Amaranth” sculpture outside Mackinac Hall has become iconic in the GVSU community.

He invited GVSU art staff into his personal studio in 2012 both to document his early work and select new pieces to add to campus. The university features many different artists, but Lixenberg is shown more than others.

For guest curator Timothy Chester, Lixenberg’s collection being displayed in Kirkhof holds great value. He said he strongly believes in its importance to students and faculty alike.

“It’s very unusual to be able to study and learn from such a comprehensive collection of work by a single artist,” Chester said. “Normally, the works of well-known artists are spread around across many public and private collections, and it’s almost impossible to study and appreciate their career without a great deal of effort and travel. While Lixenberg’s work can be found throughout Europe and in select collections in the United States, GVSU owns a large and representative sampling of his work that lends itself to study.”

Having such a selection of artwork at students’ fingertips is not the only lesson to be learned from Lixenberg.

“Lixenberg’s art allows us all to examine a life well lived and to extract lessons from our observations,” Chester said. “One of those lessons may be that our journey is just as important as our destination. Lixenberg’s ideas and concepts bridge two continents and several cultures. I believe that we have a lot to learn from this world traveler who connects our world in West

Michigan, his second home, to his primary home in the Netherlands.”

“An Artist’s Journey” will be on exhibit in until Dec. 6, and starting next week, Lixenberg will also be on campus to provide professional expertise and wisdom learned throughout his years.

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