ArtPrize: I really blew it.
Well, just when a major and I mean Major Art World Moment was occurring in Grand Rapids, my home town, I was off with my husband lallygagging around Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. It was all very fun and beautiful but, oh my gosh! Like many people, I was caught by surprise and missed much of it.
The whole thing was pretty amazing. A huge art competition that broke all the rules and brought thousands of people downtown to vote, talk and explore their city. Details are in post to follow this one.
Rick DeVos, the who createad this brainchild said his goal was to, “reboot the conversation around art.” That he did.
Trust me. I won’t miss ArtPrize again. Already got the time slot blocked out on my calendar. Next year I’m pounding the pavement daily to see as much as I can see. Hope to host artists in our home and take part in a big way. Will Post! Post! Post!
But since I don’t feel I can be a self respecting design and travel blogger without including ArtPrize on DesignDestinations someplace, I’m going to post some photos and a summary of what I think are the most interesting comments and observations about ArtPrize that I have read or heard.
I hope anyone from GR who attended ArtPrize will add his or her thoughts in the comment box.
A big question throughout the entire event has been “What is Art?” Is it a large replica of the Loch Ness Monster in the Grand River? Tricycles with recycled toilets attached? Beautiful oil painting depicting gorgeous scenes on our planet? Glass mosaics? A gigantic table with schmaltzy art folk painting? Photo images on salt? Sculptures made from nails? Portraits painted in thumbtacks? All these and much more—over 1200 pieces were folded, welded, painted, and submitted as ArtPrize entries.
Thousands of people showed up every day for three weeks to gawk and vote and talk. One commentator said we were “conversing ourselves senseless.” Another one said, “I’m ArtFried.”
Artprize, planned and executed by 20Somethings, left some of the more mature members of the art community in Grand Rapids scratching their heads with the changes in rules and guidelines. It was a rapid pace prototyping.
The entertainment reporter for the Grand Rapids Press said, “it’s big. It’s lucrative. It’s quirky.”
Some of the venues were outdoors, on bridges, front lawns, parks, museum walls. Some like the B.O.B., a downtown restaurant and entertainment venue, were carnival like. Others like Tanglefoot, an old warehouse populated with artists’ studios—industrial and raw and open.
One observant blogger described the whole thing as a gigantic scavenger hunt. “Find the artist, climb inside this venue, poke into dark corners, visit a new neighborhood and move to the next one. It’s a massive multi-player, explore your own city game.” From the little I saw, I agree.
It was a respite and retreat from the world’s troubles. It was truly amazing.
My favorite comment of all: “While it is interesting to see who has taken home the money, the real winner is Grand Rapids.”