Photo by Alexander Paschka

Visiting the Last Supper Table exhibit space at the UICA and brainstorming.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA) will house the Last Supper Table during ArtPrize 2014 in Grand Rapids from September 24 – October 12. We are honored to be a part of the collective of artists selected to exhibit. The UICA’s theme this year is COLLABORATION with “originality, inspiration, and chemistry encouraged.”

This weekend we had the opportunity to visit our exhibit space at the UICA and it had us thinking about both the art and the execution of the project. We are experimenting in the shop and working through our thoughts on the overall scale of the table as well as its details. It is this part of the process where we understand and value the act of collaboration. It is also this part of the process that tends to be silent to you, the public. What you are allowed to see is a finished piece, not one under production. The Last Supper Table is an exception and, in the next few weeks, you will see our process come to life.

You may also begin to understand the way that we collaborate. The Prologue video to the Last Supper Table already tested us as co-designers. If you pay close attention, you will notice two seats with only one of us present at a time – not both. We walked into the video shoot with the intention of speaking about the Last Supper together but we were prompted to do so apart – and this was not easy. As you follow the making of the Last Supper Table you will get to know us, the makers, a little more. For instance, the post before this was one that took Andre 33 years to write. It is this kind of release that drives this project for the both of us.


The First Supper

The Last Supper would not have been possible without the First Supper. Nearly one year ago, Andre and I shared a meal with friends at our home in Detroit. After a disastrous experiment with dinner, we settled into a conversation that was quite the opposite. It was, in fact, one of those rare moments when you realize the power of an accidental idea and the many forms it can take.¬†Andre and Brian were from Grand Rapids; Lisa and I were not. Somewhere in the hilarity of ‘Grand Rapids talk’ – religion, race, biking, teenage anti-drug enforcement, high school rivalries (Ottawa Hills vs. East Grand Rapids), and football – was ArtPrize. It was in that mess of laughter that the Last Supper Table was conceived.

In the months that followed, the idea of designing and crafting a Last Supper Table grew. Although born out of a light-hearted conversation, it spoke to us personally and we began to fall in love. Through private commissions at Ali Sandifer Studio, we had birthed a series of tables over the years and they kept growing in size to convene more and more people. With each one that followed the First Supper, we would revisit the idea of a table inspired by the Last Supper. When ArtPrize 2014 was announced, we had already decided to make this special project happen. After ten years of designing furniture for our own studio, we were ready to take what we had learned and step aside for a moment to enter a new territory of public art.

The collection of thoughts on this blog will not capture all of our dreaming to date – and there has been a considerable amount of dreaming – but it will allow you to follow us as we turn this dream into a reality. This public platform is your invitation to join us for dinner.