ArtPrize: Do you trust the public to judge art?

September 22, 2009
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Call it the American Idol-ing of art. Starting Sept. 23, what's being billed as the world's largest art prize competition begins in Grand Rapids...with you as judge.

According to www.artprize.org, the ArtPrize competition is "open to any artist in the world who can find space. Open to anybody in Grand Rapids, Michigan who wants to create a venue. Open to a vote from anyone who attends."

The first place winner scores $250,000. Second gets $100,000. Third gets $50,000 and the rest in the top ten each get $7,000.

Here's how the voting works: During the first week, registered visitors 16 or older vote up or down on each work. Ten pieces move on to the second round. In the second week, each voter has a single vote. All voting is electronic.

So far, more than 1200 artists -- including Zionsville's Nancy Noel -- have found space in Grand Rapids to hang their work.

I'll admit that I'm skeptical about art-as-popularity contest. The winner, I'm certain, will largely depend as much on Facebook/Twitter skills as on artistic skills and vision.

But the creators of the event seem to know that, too. Quoth the site: "We do not believe that we have contrived the 'best' way to discover the 'best' art. The prize money, the public vote, the open venue system simply creates an environment where public can engage artist and artist can engage public in a fresh way."

Taking aside the notion of "best," the idea of a town being covered in artwork is a thrilling one. And whether or not I make it to Grand Rapids in the next few weeks (unlikely, since the program ends Oct. 10), I'm very interested in seeing how this all plays out.

So do you find merit in what's happening in Grand Rapids?

Could such an event have happened here?

Would this make you consider a road trip to Michigan?

Your thoughts?

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  • Art is subjective. In terms of rating art, I think the "best" art is that which appeals to the most viewers.

    Simply look at history as the best examples of this: paintings, statues, frescos, buildings. The ones which are still around, still seen, cared for, are the most appealing to the masses.
  • I am so sick of this American Idol, America's got talent type stuff. What a waste of time and money.
  • Art is more of a reaction than good or bad. You can hate the art but reconize the talent. I am not a big fan of Jackson Pollock but his art of spattering paint is considered good. Even Robert Indiana's street signs are thought of as great art. I worked in a musuem that had an artist make a shelf and then put items from the museum's collection on it and that was called "art". If you get some sort of reaction, good or bad, then it is art.

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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1

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