I’m not in Grand Rapids, but I’ve been keeping an eye on ArtPrize ever since I mentioned it in April. From afar, it seems to be living up to expectations, at least in terms of excitement.
Monday’s Grand Rapids Press had an article about performance art entries, describing one work as “a live duet between [Ritsu] Katsumata’s riveting electric violin work and [her husband Stafford] Smith’s digital camera shots and film clips flashing on stacks of television sets.” It’s called Fearscape and is ranked as one of the most controversial of the more than 1,200 entries — “a response to the climate of fear perpetuated by the mass media.” It’s also attracting viewers.
ArtPrize organizers have worked hard to create excitement, including holding regular media briefings and scheduling all kinds of events, every day, published online — like this one. Go to its website, and you’ll see pictures of the (current) top vote-getters, including one by Jason Hackenwerth (above right) and one by Terrence Karpowicz (left).
Even they didn’t plan for some things, though — on Sunday night, strong winds blew through the city, damaging some works, according to WOOD-TV8.
And the excitement has spilled over to the commercial galleries, according to the Press, which described gallery traffic here.
The first-round voting continues until Oct. 1 — Thursday – when you can see the top ten entries. They will go to round two voting. It’s hard to tell what this means for art; there are simply too many artist-participants to study from afar, but I did notice a paucity of women among the top 25.
One artist/musician has already captured local sentiment, or maybe wishful thinking: ”I think we’re beginning to shift the DNA of Grand Rapids,” he told a reporter.
UPDATED: 9/29: I forgot to post a link to this Detroit Free Press article, perhaps the best roundup of what’s going on in Grand Rapids, with good background and some skepticism.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of ArtPrize