ArtPrize — I Still Don’t Get It…

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
October 7, 2012

ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition, took place in Grand Rapids over the past few weeks. Winners were announced last Friday with over $560,000 in prize money awarded. This was the fourth year for ArtPrize, and it was amazingly successful. The big prizes are determined on a public vote — people come downtown and cast votes on what they like. No ads. No campaigning. Very democratic and — especially in an election year — kind of refreshing.

I myself didn’t actually make it to ArtPrize this year. On the beautiful weekends when strolling the streets of downtown Grand Rapids was at its prime, I was laboring on my own sort of art project at home — putting a new roof on my shed. In the many moments when I was adapting my plans (and making yet another trip to the hardware store), I thought about how this thing would make, like, the worst ArtPrize entry ever. As with most large, publically viewable art installation, its purpose and worth is subject to opinion. It’s either a ghastly but marginally functional architectural solution or some sort of God-awful plastic/treated lumber prophylactic or an unwittingly efficient pre-made home for wasps, hornets, and other very angry buzzy things. Or all of these things. Don’t worry. I have no way of transporting it, so you are all safe to go to ArtPrize next year.


  1. Kris said,

    October 9, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    Ah – but your installation would be easily understood and emotionally accessible. Is it a dormitory for enslaved machines and tools whose sporatic use highlights the excess of the average American homeowner? Or, is it a sanctuary to protect precious machines and tools whose importance to the community warrants them to have their own abode? Here’s an idea that would be easier to transport: a collection of ‘burned out’ wasp and hornet nests arranged like a city block. Call it Dead Endzzzzzz. You’re welcome.

  2. John said,

    October 9, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Kris — genius! After my success, the next step would be to acquire a trendy warehouse space and fill it with drug-addled sycophants as I continue to capitalize on my singular good idea. Do you have Bianca Jagger’s phone number?

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