Monday, September 17, 2012

ArtPrize and Musings

As you may or may not know, ArtPrize features a lot of terrible art.  Part of the whole philosophy of letting everyone enter is that EVERYONE will enter, and a lot of things will be less than great.  So, to help you choose where to go, I have compiled a list of venues that will have great art.

  • Kendall College of Art and Design has some great stuff happening this year for ArtPrize.  There will be galleries in both buildings, so be sure to visit everything.  Parking here is a pain, so be aware of that.
  • The UICA (Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts) has a pretty great curated exhibit. Parking here is a pain, just like at Kendall, but both are worth it.  Unsurprisingly, the art here is going to be pretty contemporary, so don't expect much in terms of your 2D representational paintings.  Also this is free during ArtPrize.  Yay for free!
  • The GRAM is great and has some fantastic stuff, but be aware that it will be incredibly crowded during ArtPrize, and ArtPrize is when the art touchers come out.  Parking is also a pain.  Still, you should go.
  • The Women's City Club isn't a venue that you would automatically assume has great art, but when I've been there in the past, it's had some awesome stuff.
  • Meijer Gardens!  Meijer Gardens is fantastic and is usually full of big sculptures, which I like.  There aren't a ton of people who visit Meijer Gardens, since it's so far from downtown, but it is worth the trip out there.  Go.  You will not regret it.
  • And SiTE:LAB is going to rock everyone's world.  Just so you know.  It's...just going to be awesome and amazing.  They're having a big opening party on September 18th at 5, and you're invited.  I'll be there.  I heard a rumor that Design 99 is going to be there too.  Don't miss out.
I hope you enjoy your visit to ArtPrize and your time in Grand Rapids!

Artprize is fun, and it's great that it brings art into the center of discussion.  I think ArtPrize is great for the city in that it brings economic activity and makes Grand Rapids a center of art in the region.  Making people who aren't "art people" think about art is a great thing, and it needs to happen more often.  However, ArtPrize brings a lot of bad art out into the open.  And sometimes that bad art can pander to the audience just enough to win.  Should everyone have an input on who wins such a large prize?  The piece that won last year was Crucifixion, which was a giant mosaic of Jesus.  Grand Rapids is a churchy town, and it seems like a lot of people who voted for that piece may have just been giving Jesus a thumbs up.  The thing is, Jesus isn't the one who received $250,000 for that piece.  Placement in the top ten also relies heavily upon location, last year I noticed that works in the parking lot of The BOB did surprisingly well.  Since it's in the center of downtown, it's not surprising that a lot of people voted for them.  This is the same reason why pieces at Meijer Gardens are never going to win, they're just too far and don't see enough traffic.
This year is the first for the juried prize, which could really be a gamechanger and add some much-needed legitimacy to ArtPrize.  We'll have to wait and see what happens.
Here's an article from GQ about ArtPrize that touches on the issue of bad art winning prizes, and on Surfer Jesus.  It's worth a read.

1 comment:

  1. Parking at Meijer Gardens is FREE and there is lots of it! Maybe that will encourage more peple to visit there.

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