For the past several years Grand Rapids, Mi has hosted the largest art competition in the world.
I have particularly liked to watch the winners and compare them year to year.
I think over a period of time it will be interesting to watch as the public becomes more educated to artistic technique. The first year, the entire top ten was devoted to monumental works. Some were good, but most were just big and interesting. The winners chosen have been getting a bit smaller and a bit better each year.`
I make it a point to visit every year because I like to see the huge display as well as the spectacle of the crowds. For an entire month the streets are thronged with people from all over examining the new entrants and voting for their favorites.
There is no shortage of street entertainment to find as you stroll, or in my case, bike between venues.
A real one man band kept the crowd amused,
and this family of folk fiddlers were getting their feet wet in the business.
The art itself is a mixture mediums, from this welded nail sculpture,
polished chrome abstraction,
a very complicated and wonderful piece made from found cedar,
to more traditional pieces like this cast bronze.
There were entertaining pieces,
curious ways to recycle wine bottles,
this claimed to be symbolic of our collective soul,
but looked like a torn page of the Last Whole Earth Catalog to me.
There was the perennial cute dragon,
and the whimsy of childhood.
Inside the venues there was a plethora of works,
many quite beautiful,
and cute for the quilters in the crowd. "How long did that take her?"
(Of course, they assumed it was a she.)
There were plenty of ill conceived statements,
and just plain dumb stuff,
but this took the prize for stupid of the year.
I did not read the artist's explanation. I was afraid of losing brain cells.
Glittering lights always catch the crowds,
but this gets the bicycle art of the year award.
There was the sublime to the ridiculous but overall the event has improved each year, I get around 30 miles of very relaxing cycling. Every year I have been impressed that the winners have proven to be better executed than before.
It restores a little faith in human judgement.