Sunday, October 9, 2016

ArtPrize 2016 Winners

ArtPrize 2016 wrapped up today. This 3-week long art competition takes place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan each fall. Tons of art was on display in a wide variety of venues, from restaurants to museums to bridges, and it was all open to the public to view for free. $500,000 in prize money was divided up between winners of both a public vote and the winners according art jurors, a panel of "art experts."

This year, as is usual, I am still scratching my head over the art juror's picks. I'm not going to bother to picture them here. (Honestly, if nude people wearing animal costumes on their heads is great art, count me out. XD) I will share the public vote winners here though.

Time-Based Winner:
Sweeper's Clock by Maarten Baas

I've listed this winner first because it is, in my opinion, the most anticlimactic. I'm not sure why this was so popular. It's a honking long video of two dudes pushing two lines of trash slowly around in a circle with brooms to resemble the hands of a clock. Yawn.

According to ArtPrize's website, "Sweeper's Clock is part of (Baas's) Real Time series of 12 hour films, a set of four works in which people's actions, rather than traditional clocks, present the passage of time as a highly physical, even labor-intensive process." 

*Blinks* Okay, then. Sorry, I still think it's lame.  

Installation Winner: 
The Butterfly Effect by Bryce Pettit and Allison Smith

1,234 handmade bronze Monarch butterflies took over an entire room in DeVos Place: on the walls, dangling from the ceiling, even perched on the emergency exit sign. It's meant to depict the annual Monarch butterfly migration (they spend summers in North America, then migrate south for the winter before returning again in spring. The artists are trying to raise awareness of the serious decline in the Monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. 

2D Winner:
Portraits of Light and Shadow by Joao Paulo Goncalves

To quote the ArtPrize website again, "Paulo harnesses light and shadows into this pixel-portrait which is created by deliberately angled wood pieces placed in relationship to a mounted light." The first portrait is of Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring, the second is of Martin Luther King Jr., and the third is of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. As you can see, when the mounted light is off, you don't see much of anything. Turn the light on, however, and the shadows do their thing dramatically. Very unique and very cool. I can see why voters liked them so much, though my favorite of the 2D top 5 was actually this painting, Ashes to Ashes.

Ashes to Ashes took third in the 2D category
Though it depicts a forest fire, which is rather negative subject matter, the texture on this was gorgeous. Mom says the the light they had shining on it made it seem to glow.

3D and Grand Prize Winner: 
Wounded Warrior Dogs by James Mellick

These life-size wooden dog sculptures symbolize dogs of the US military who have served in various wars. Six of them are wounded survivors, while the seventh dog made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Even though my first choice for the 3D prize would've been this sculpture, Imagine If, for obvious reasons, 

Imagine If took 3rd place in the 3D category
Wounded Warrior Dogs was a close second in my book. I am so pleased it took home the grand prize, as it was by far my favorite of the 4 public vote winners!

That's it for now, but this year we promise we really will post about our favorite entries. (Last year it never happened. Oops.) Watch for them later this month!

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