Thursday, September 20, 2012

Art Prize: Art? Really?

Being of limited exposure to the art experience, there are times when I experience a bit of confusion when it comes to the precise definition of what is and is not "art". Art Prize is in full swing in Greater Grand Rapids. From huge to miniature, whispy to solid, beautiful to ugly, ridiculous to sublime, tasteful to detestable, attractive to repulsive, art is an elusive idea. Last year a beautiful, tasteful, colorful, non-controversial portrait won first prize. It was magnificent. The art world was up in arms over it. Evidently, a work of art isn't a work of art unless most people of good taste find it repulsive. In that vein, this year there is a professional group of judges thast will determine the winner. That way the prize won't be recieved by an artist who isn't really an artist because they created something beautiful. The judges will make sure that the winner will be someone who challenges good taste to such a point that only the elite and knowledgable will appreciate the value of such a unique item.

I guess true art will always bypass my little world of ignorance and bliss. I just don't have the time to study the value of tasteless, repulsive junk arranged into some meaningful and thought provoking form. This Art Prize event is quite the thing around here. I applaud the promoters for bringing it to area. Hundreds and thousands of folks swarm into the city and see art forms in all sorts of venues. A very special time. It spurs thought and conversation and in some cases I am sure, action of some sort. I do feel somewhat sad however for those folks who's special art is stuck in a far corner of the city, way off the beaten path and few visitors get a chance to see it. Yeah, that's kind of a bummer. But let me tell you, in my personal opinion, as fun and enlightening and thought provoking as all this art is, some of those items, pretending to be art are better off in the bottom of a garbage can or the tank of a porta potty for obvious reasons.

I guess this is what art is all about, discussion. I guess that's good. I have noticed though that when it comes to the discussion of art and how it can be so obviously contraversial and repulsive, if you or I actually state the obvious: Some of it is simply tasteless garbage. We are berated for being ignorant and opressive. Truth be known, I believe that when some of this art is displayed in public, in the name of freedom, in front of anyone, it is actually a type of tyranny and opression to an otherwise sensible society.
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