Thursday, October 13, 2011

Art Prize 2011

Click on photos to enlarge

We have had a two week string of beautiful weather here in West Michigan.  Mostly sunny skies and no precipitation has allowed me to do a river trip, get out in the woods hiking, bicycling to work and in general have enjoyed the fall in ways that is not normally possible in a place that has more cloudy days than Seattle…  That’s came to an end last night as you may have seen in the American League Championship Game, which was rain delayed.  Those drops from the sky were tears as I can’t stand the Rangers almost as much as I can’t stand the Yankees.  I supposed having the Tigers beat the Yankees is just a taste of heaven, having them beat the Yankees and Rangers back-to-back would be heaven…

Last Friday I spent the day in Grand Rapids, taking in the sights at Art Prize 2011.  This is a unique art exhibit (it’s huge with over a 1000 pieces on display).  Art Prize is unique in that it doesn’t use “professional art judges.”  Instead, viewers determine the winners.  Viewers vote on their top ten, then there is a run-off as they vote on their top choice.  

In walking around the exhibits along both sides of the Grand River, I noticed a few themes.  Religious art is very popular, along with art from junk (recycled art).   Those pieces receiving top votes were often religious, had ties to West Michigan (like a statue of President Ford) and were large.   The dress for the day seemed to include either a Detroit Tiger’s t-shirt or hat…

Although I thought this year's winning piece was beautiful, I think the artist's piece from last year was better.  I couldn't help but wonder if her subject matter helped win her votes in Michigan's Bible Belt.  She's started this mosaic for a church in California but the construction was put on hold and so she entered it into Artprize. Both of her pieces are beautiful; however, they were both in a room with too much south-facing light for the displace of art (the intense sunlight creates the shadows in my photos).

For my posts on last year's Art Prize, click here and here.
Finally, walking across the Grand River, I couldn't help but be envious of the guy in the river with his fly rod, fishing for spawning salmon.  As I have been gone all summer and was too busy to fish in the spring, I don't even have a Michigan fishing license!  At the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, a host site for many art exhibits, there were carved bears in the fountain (title, "Grizzlies on the Ford).  I couldn't help to wonder if there wasn't a political meaning behind these bears since, from what I recall, the stock market was rather "bearish" during Ford's tenure as President.


  1. We got a whole bunch of those tears here yesterday too....lovely pictures, especially the last on ...salmon fishing really..that's so very yummy, I mean so cool! Hope you caught a good amount....I was hoping you'd share some stuff from that art fair in Grand far it's been just a great autumn to keep living like it's summer!!!!

  2. If that frying-pan states wasn't so gimmicky. It has potential. There is a return from it that you only get from good stuff.

  3. That must be cool to actually be able to fish for salmon. There's always next year, my friend.

  4. Wow, some extremely neat pieces there. I like the idea of using the sun to create wood burning art!

  5. Art Prize 2011 sounds like my kind of exhibit. The winner's work is excellent (really liked last year's painting as well!)...and I loved the wood burning pieces. I would've enjoyed seeing that guy working in the sun.

    The car is also very cool, and your salmon fishing pic makes me my old hometown.

  6. Nice photos. I can't believe you don't have a fishing license.

  7. nice...some really cool and unique pieces here...i like that mona lisa in all the colors...very nice...

  8. I trust you landed a few of those salmon to salt away for the winter. Time for lox and a bagel!


  9. Karen, it wasn't me fishing--I just was envious of the guy

    Vince, I agree on the frying pan states. However, he was an incredible metal worker

    Lynn, it is, but most people don't eat these salmons that are on their spawning "death run"

    Charles, that was unique, but the "art" he created was kitsch

    Scarlet, you need to enter Art Prize 2012!

    Judy, we had high water in the spring so I didn't get out trout fishing and then I was too busy and then gone--HOWEVER, I did buy a 10 day salt water license in NC and fished when I was there in mid-September

    Brian, I also liked the Mona Lisa

    Randall, I didn't fish, if you can believe it

  10. or Durfsun Illuminating Mediums on the 'www', durfsun (at) yahoo (dot) com ; THE SOLAR ARTIST APPRECIATES YOUR COMMENTS!!!