Scott Hocking Brings Jesus and Prehistoric Giants to ArtPrize

Scott Hocking in front of his ArtPrize 2014 installation The Secrets of Nature (2014).
Photo: Cait Munro.

Whoever said dinosaurs and Jesus never lived side by side mustn’t be familiar with Scott Hocking.

The Detroit-based artist has created one of his trademark surreal, fantastic, and large-scale installations for ArtPrize 2014, the annual art festival that takes over the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. His piece, The Secrets of Nature (2012–13), was commissioned by local non-profit SiTE:LAB as part of its exhibition “Strange Attractors,” curated by Paul Amenta and installed in an abandoned motel in downtown Grand Rapids known as The Morton.


Partial view of Scott Hocking, The Secrets of Nature (2012–13).
Photo: Cait Munro.

The installation brings together strange statues from abandoned roadside tourist attractions in Michigan and Ohio, including religious figures, dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, and what looks like a giant Sasquatch. Though executed on an unprecedented scale, the installation has been executed in several different iterations previously, including one at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit.


Partial view of Scott Hocking, The Secrets of Nature (2012–13).
Photo: Cait Munro.

“I am interested in forgotten places and things kept out of sight,” the artist said at the time of the MOCA Detroit exhibition. “I don’t know if this is because I’m from Detroit, a city that has become known for urban prairies and empty factories; but I try to work the same way no matter where I am. I explore my surroundings—gathering images and materials to create sculptural installations and photography projects. Often site-specific, these projects are temporary, with a lot left up to chance. I’m inspired by anything from ancient mythologies to current events—wherever I go, the history and people of that place influence what I make.”

ArtPrize 2014 continues through October 12.

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