Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ArtPrize 2014

For some years Grand Rapids has been on the map as a big-time Artsy City, not just because of Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, but because of ArtPrize for 3 weeks in Sept/Oct. This year more than a half million was given away in prize money (the largest art prize money in the world). During the first years, art critics snubbed their noses because the prizes were awarded by popular online voting. Juried prizes were introduced last year, and this year, to satisfy the critics, equal prize money was given to top popular and top juried votes. The popular vote, it is assumed, will be given to a giant moose made out of a billion or so nails, obviously a major undertaking, but equally obviously, I suppose, not art. So with some of the best art critics in the country, at least one of the $200,000 top prizes will go to REAL art. So a funny thing happened this year. Both the masses and the jury voted for the same thing (though the jury had a tie for the top), which meant that one artist received a purse of $300,000. So much for those top know-it-all art critics.

Anila Quayyum Agha's installation "Intersections" won the big money. It is a 6.5-foot cube, illuminated from the inside, projecting its shadows on the surrounding walls as well as its viewers. She's an art professor from Indianapolis.

I took dozens of pics during my 3 visits, and I thought Anila's was one of the best. A very large installation was outdoors and entirely made of clocks (3 huge structures that spell NOW). There were many wonderful glass pieces and paintings---far too many to add to this post.