Friday, October 7, 2011

Art Prize in Grand Rapids

I am so confused! I know, I know, most of you would agree that I am rather confused about a lot of things but this is different. It's about the "rules" again. Let me explain.

Art: Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter or counteract the work of nature.

I live in the Greater Grand Rapids Michigan area. Grand Rapids is hosting, for the third year an event called "ArtPrize." Hundreds of pieces of Art are displayed throughout the city and even a little beyond. Hundreds of thousands of people are pouring into the area to view the art and vote on their favorite work. There are all kinds: Big, small, colorful, black and white, sculpture, paint, even live all vying for a prize up to $250,000. It's a beautiful thing to behold. The part that is confusing to me is where a number of people are whining about the prize winners. They, it seems are the experts on what "Art" really is instead of the hundreds of thousands of people doing the voting. The winner this year, A mosaic of the Crucifixion in glass is nothing short of spectacular. The so called experts are saying that something is awry when such a magnificent work of art is the winner. What????? They are saying it is too, "normal!" Something tells me they are simply whining because they were caught with their pants down in the world of art. Where is it set in stone that a work of art needs to shock or go against nature or be repugnant to most people who, "don't understand" those art forms.

Many of those same people were in awe of a simple glass of urine with a crucifix set in it at another show. No days weeks or months of effort, no imagination or extraordinary thought processes, no intricate coloring or use of shadowing, no fine detail to provoke or inspire or even to be just plain fun to look at. However, it fell within their strictly defined idea of art. That, to me is ignorant.

Art, taken by it's definition can be almost anything. Be it repugnant or touching, irrelevant or inspiring, funny or sad, thought provoking or mindless. I don't understand anyone who professes to know all about what art is restricting it to only what they deem as worthy. Every art piece in this years ArtPrize is worthy for heavens sake. This year a very popular special piece won. I hope the organizers never back down from their goal of bringing fine art to the public in such a terrific way. I wonder truthfully if any of those so called experts actually voted or did they find it more satisfying or attention getting just sitting back and crying foul? I have a challenge for them: Create what you believe to be a finer work of art than any of the ones that won and put it in next years competition. Or, is it just too easy to blame stuff on the rest of us being too vulgar to really get it?

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