Every year Grand Rapids hosts the world's largest artist competition, Art Prize. I go every year and had intended to go the Sunday following our gravel escapade, but I was the only one interested, it was a perfectly beautiful Sunday and that meant the crowds would be enormous. I knew I would have some time free during the week, so I put it off for a weekday when the crowds would be thinner.
It was a good choice, I parked outside of town at a Home Depot on 56th St to avoid the massive traffic jam. It was an effortless 12 mile ride or so to reach downtown and visit the major venues.
The artwork has gotten progressively better each year and the
pieces ranged from imaginative and whimsical family portraits
ingenious wall patterns,
to truly sublime polished abstract sculptures.
Someone always finds an interesting use for the waterfall outside the Presidential museum.
Religious themes, such as this piece entitled "Desecration of Adam"
and the depiction of the temptation could be found in any venue.
Odd and interesting sculptures of archaic piston driven machines were submitted
as well this neurotic piece depicting scary clowns.
The artist must have been in therapy and purging his coulrophobia.
There were quilts, curtains and a piece made of recycled running shoes.
Those gave the construction critics a chance to wonder at the brand of glue the artist chose.
My personal favorite was this stainless steel panel.
A wonderful abstraction which manipulates light from every angle in the room.
There was also a wonderful coastal landscape
with great depth created by the aggressive and brutal brush strokes.
"Clothes without an Emporer" was another neurotic vision,
and the event would not be complete without pop idolatry.
Somehow childhood games became an important
theme for a series of surrealistic oils
as well as a confusingly pointless collage.
There were cyclists,
and more child's bikes.
Back in the real bike world I found a new twist on the bike share epidemic.
These require no special stations, just a phone app and a debit card.
I guess you just choose the bike from a rack, ride it to another and lock it up again when you are done. Simple, inexpensive to produce and, hey, they aren't blue and won't create a bunch of controversy among wannabe actresses and media moguls.
It was another productive piece of entertainment. I avoided the crowds and was again impressed with the continued improvement in the quality of the work. I doubt that I previewed any of the winners here, but my taste has proven different than the public's. The ride home was downwind and GR has developed a passable series of bike routes which make the journey from downtown a pleasurable way to commute. Hopefully the natives will learn to use their cars less.