Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:15

ArtPrize revisited: Producer Joe's Best and Worst

Written by  Joe Gasmann
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Joe at the BOB Joe at the BOB PHOTO: Dave Carson

ignoring most venues and social graces for two straight days, my trusty photographer and I excitedly combined our favorite annual art contest with our favorite not-so-annual contest of drinking too much. We accomplished very little of our original intents, but saw anything worth seeing — according to us.

While there seemed to be less speculation, hype, or controversy prior to the event ArtPrize 2014 brought in record entries and crowds to Grand Rapids. I admit, I was disappointed in the lack of colossal swine to loathe.

Additionally, the overbearing amounts of garbage that littered our streets in previous years was seemingly left in the front yards of the Ionia goblin-people. Nevertheless, ignoring most venues and social graces for two straight days, my trusty photographer and I excitedly combined our favorite annual art contest with our favorite not-so-annual contest of drinking too much. We accomplished very little of our original intents, but saw anything worth seeing - according to us.

For the first time in six years, I can say with mutual dismay and pleasure that there was much more to love than hate this year. However, the a-hole in me runs deep, so again, I present to you, both the best and worst of ArtPrize.

 

The Best

Untitled (Sean Lyons)
A favorite of mine that was largely ignored. This piece represents everything good in this world worth caring about. A kick-inventing, angel-voiced, Yakuza-fighting Steven Seagal teaches a young Shogun the ancient techniques of the Pokemon. The subtle lines around Squirtle and the yellow-blackness of Beedrill, perfectly compliment the circle things that are also there.

Hey YouTube, It's Me (Aaron Nemec)
While rightly being denied any praise at all, this piece made my drunken heart swell. Hey YouTube, It's Me allowed users to duet with a handful of terribly sung pop song covers and, in turn, allowed me to stare uninterruptedly into the eyes of unknowing spectators while "All About That Bass" blared in the background. Hard as they tried to disable the URL bar, I encored my performance with a video of YouTube star, Cazwell, and his posse of hard bodies gyrating to his hit song "Ice Cream Truck."

Whiteness (Natalia Pawlus)
Finally, some amazing art that I could picture hanging from the walls of mi casa. I’m a little shocked this didn’t garner enough Hudsonville votes to win based on the title alone. It was sad to watch the listless crowd lumber past in hopes, I assume, of finding another 200k quilt to vote for. F#@k you, quilt people! Never forget.

Intersections (Anila Quayyum Agha)
Yes, it was really great. It won and it deserved to. There’s not really much more to say. Yay for us! I would like to add though, that it definitely deserved the entire juried award. Am I right, or what?!


The Worst

The Scarlet Cord (Pamela Alderman)
While I appreciate the artist's passion to educate the public on a very serious and real topic, I wasn’t a fan of being hoodwinked into this box of sadness. I was once again faced with the possibility that the actresses in my favorite Czech Streets videos may, in fact, have boxes of sadness themselves. :(

Weave Peace (Michele Miller-Hansen)
I don’t consider this a “worst” solely on its unpleasing aesthetics. There may have been some very poetic and amazing words attached to the dome of ugliness. The few “peaceful intentions” I noticed made up a metaphorical bukake of simple-minded thoughts. You never know, though. The GR hivemind may find solace in “Kamri is Bae.”

The Venues
There’s nothing wrong with the venues as a whole, but my God, at this point it should be beyond evident that the numbers are way too vast. And I don’t say this purely because I’m lazy. I say this also for the artist’s sake. A lot of great art is probably missed because I don’t want to go into every single business that feels the need to be a part of ArtPrize. Some of us don’t feel like standing next to a bin of “toppins” whilst art gazing. It’s OK to say no, you guys.

[TRUE] journalism: Windows to Michigan (MLive)
Your advertisement is quality, I give you that. But submitting pictures of other people’s art for a chance at a prize is super lame. Next year, if you don’t feel like submitting a picture of your pictures, you might have a decent shot with your Guy at Meijer Begging Me to Take a Paper installation. P.S. Journalism is a stretch.

 

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