This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Art and cycling

   Every year there is a huge, I mean really HUGE, art show and competition in Grand Rapids Michigan.  Named Art Prize, it is a competition for a grand prize of $250K and a whole lot exposure.  The contest draws thousands of artists who place their art in different shops, businesses, bars and restaurants as well as many public facilities.
Having all that spread all over the city to look at makes for a great day on the bike.  The unique feature for the contest is that the winner is chosen by the public.  More on that in a minute, but there is a web based voting program for anybody who attends, so the public can choose their favorite works and the winner.
   Even on a weekday, throngs of people fill the hallways of businesses and exhibition points spread throughout town.  I parked my car at a trailhead after driving up from Kzoo and biked around all day enjoying the magnificent early fall weather and the art exhibits.   As you would expect, there were plenty of experimental and unique pieces, like this interactive collage
which has magifying lenses for the viewer to refocus on various segments.
Going from venue to venue by bike was fun and there were lots of people with the same idea, but I actually
thought this was an exhibit.  It turns out to be a commuter with it's own unique security system.
But I did find this exhibit by a Dutch artist, who wanted to chronicle the impact of cycling on his life.
There were some interesting takes on old themes like this one entitled "Pablo plays the Blues."
  But in the end there were far more than I can show and the voting had already come to the top ten. Here is where the public opinion becomes interesting.  I am not a visual artist or a well schooled critic, but I have some education in the field and have at least taken time to see most of the great collections on this continent and Europe.   So as a layman, I feel I have a well qualified opinion if nothing else.  In the past three years the public voted top ten represented nothing I would have chosen.  I've been good about choosing the winner of the top ten, but basically the general public and I just don't agree. This is what I find interesting about the format.  I am anxious to compare the winners as time goes on and see how the public taste evolves.  So far there has been a very consistent trend to pick the largest, most monumental works.  Last year's winner was an excellent oil painting, although it was not the best I saw, it was the largest.
  The trend is continuing with this years competition
This compelling and beautifully crafted bronze entitled "Joy"
was not in the top 10 while
the giant preying mantis was.
This beautifully sensual plaster carving of a dancer went nowhere
while the wooden bears in the pond outside
made the finals.
The encouraging thing is that the winners are getting smaller.  The first year the winner was enormous, and the top ten looked like huge group of monumental lawn ornaments.  Last year was similar, but a painting won.  This year, excepting the bug, things are smaller but still the biggest is getting the most attention.  I expect this sculpture entitled "Rain" to win.
It's well done, not the greatest I saw there but it was the biggest exhibit in that venue.  
The event will prove to be an interesting microcosmic look at public taste over the next decade or two.

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