Sunday, September 23, 2012

Must Be Art

I spent 18+ hours at ArtPrize this weekend— eating, drinking and critiquing my way through downtown Grand Rapids. I went into Year 4 determined to accept ArtPrize for what it is, to acknowledge that art is subjective, and that this is ultimately a popularity contest. The public has 200,000 dollars to give away this week... and the public loves a gimmick. 

Historically, the best art has been where the crowds aren't– but it's often difficult to see past the clutter and actually find the gems. So if you have limited ArtPrize time. May I make some suggestions...

Must See Venues
Site:Lab at the Old Public Museum - Last year Site:Lab won the juried award for Best Venue for their work at the Junior Achievement Building. However I think their work this year is superior. Located at Jefferson and State, their incorporation of art into the old museum is quite brilliant. 
The SPOT at the Federal Square Building - A hot spot in 2011, the SPOT is once again full of well-curated, manicured pieces.
High Five Gallery at Riverfront Plaza Building - Had never been in this building before, in fact, had never noticed it. But the open space allowed for a very unobtrusive gallery space. Nice window vies too. 

Must See Art
Elephants - Adonna Khare - GRAM - The public seems quite taken with this one. And I have to agree with them here. Love how the artwork bursts free from the confines of the page. Real imaginative, and done with incredible skill. 

Plexus No. 18 - Gabriel Dawe - Kendall - I find this piece mesmerozing. It's remarkable from every angle. I audibly gasped several times. If this faces off against Elephants in the top 10 I'll have a tough decision to make. 

Vista La Grand - Ernest Grof - High Five - I like this piece because of the story of it's creation. The b/w photo above it is the view of GR north from the Varnum penthouse balcony. The mosaic is inspired by this view and will be the new floor of the balcony. 

Origami - Kimi Tamashita - GRAM - Quite a surprise here. Amazed by the details seen in these portraits. 

Stick-to-it-tive-ness Richard Morse - Grand River - We've all seen Deborah Butterfield's Horse at Frederik Meijer Gardens of which this is reminiscent. Even so, I just love the visual of these horses in the river, so (despite it's ridiculous name) I find this quite striking. 

Must Experience

More or Less - ABCD 83 - UICA - This is a fun installation made from found objects. But the brilliant part is the audio visual loop (about 7 minutes) that plays right on top of it. It is amazing and worth fighting the crowd to get to the front to see. 

Wave of Waves - Scott Naylor - High Five Gallery - Check this out at night if possible. It's a relaxing audio visual experience. If there had been waitresses comign around with cocktails, we may have never left. 

Grand Rapids (the city) during ArtPrize. You can vote for this, but you can definitely enjoy it. ArtPrize makes me proud to be a Grand Rapidian. 

So there's my suggestions. You have till the 29th to get Round 1 votes in (they lengthened Round 1 this year, which I love). And tomorrow they will reveal who leaders are. I have some hunches. Some I agree with, others not so much. But hey, it's art, it's supposed to be controversial. What fun would it be if it was unanimous? 

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