September 28, 2011

ArtPrize at the Meijer Gardens

Grand Rapids is right in the middle of ArtPrize, a crazy, enormous, city-swallowing, circus of an art contest that takes over this town. There's so much to see that you have to admit defeat before you even start. It is pretty close to impossible to see it all – especially if you are employed and parenting children who happen need to sleep on a regular basis!

Last Tuesday (the day before the official beginning of ArtPrize) we popped over to the Meijer Gardens to check out their ArtPrize sculpture. I have to say I liked, or at least appreciated, all but a few pieces. Kudos to curators. I always figure if they've made a career out of studying and understanding and discovering art then the pieces they pick are worth considering.

Photos weren't allowed inside (boo!) but I will link to a few favorite pieces of mine. The Gardens put images on their site, which is quit helpful considering the ArtPrize site is down while I am trying to write this post!

Sleepwalking Around the Peach Garden by Jae Won Lee
This is the one they featured on the cover of the program. The paper shapes were constructed a lot like these ornamental balls I made last fall. It was the masses of them, the presence of so many, gathered together and suspended from the ceiling by colored thread that made it especially magical.

Space In Between – Saguaro by Margarita Cabrera
This cactus was made of border patrol officer's uniforms. The artist does pieces that react to the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. I liked it partly because I am interested in creating my own dimensional, stuffed objects. But I especially liked that the medium, the material used to make it, made sense. It was part of the meaning of the piece. I have been ranting and raving about this lately in light of ArtPrize because sometimes people get impressed by things made of other things (like last year's giant penny made out of pennies) because it clearly took so long to make. But sometimes, it makes the piece more of a gimmick than anything else.

Untitled (Persian Rug) by Mary Brogger
This "rug" is made out of pieces of cut metal. So intricate! I am really curious about the process behind making it. Also, there were special light bulbs lighting it from different angles to create different colored shadows beneath. I love the attention to detail.

Buttress by DeWitt Godfrey
This piece was outside. It's giant and industrial and yet ever so playful as it tumbles down the hill. I really liked it.

Castled Void by Stephen Knapp
This piece would take some careful choreographing. Different colored lights bounce off mirrors and mix with each other to "paint" the wall. Really cool to see.

Little Black Dress by Suzanne Cohan-Lange, Sherry Antonini, Nikki Nolin
I wish I had been able to spend more time studying this piece. I think there is more to it than I had time to absorb since the kiddos were heading toward bedtime. When my 3-year-old saw the miniature black dressforms in the middle of the room she said "Oh look! Silhouettes." Now, considering they were three dimensional, she wasn't exactly right but she still had the right idea. Where would she have learned the word "silhouette?!"

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