WHiMSeY in ArtPrize


The Mud Puppy – Dan Chudzinski

Art Prize is a becoming very popular in West Michigan. The official website proclaims: “For 19 days, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, become an open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Art from around the world pops up in every inch of downtown, and it’s all free and open to the public.”

Of the 1,536 entries for 2014 some of the more popular pieces were full of whimsey. Below you see the artist, Dan Chudzinski,  fixing a piece that was broken off of his work, The Mud Puppy, by a fascinated young fan. He was pretty cool about the broken piece.

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This year there seemed to be more works that were assembled from found objects. Below, L – R Looking for Alice by Anthony Jackson, (I give up as they really need to come up with a better system for cross referencing/finding the names of pieces and artists), and New American Gothic by Ritch Brandstrom.

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Sometimes a work can be an unintended self-portrait. I asked Donald Raul Jr. if the ‘ant’ in the foreground of his work, Assembly Line, was a self portrait he admitted it did look like him:

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Sometimes a self portrait can be very intentional.  I was surprised Alex Podestra’s Self Portrait as Bunnies didn’t make the Top 20 Favorites as voted by the public. Every time I saw it crowds were flocked by the river bank to see it.  Perhaps it needed to be Jeff Koonz sized.

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Art Prize is a ‘public’ prize. The people vote for their favorites. I’m going to close by saying I know a lot about art but I still know what I like. What I don’t know is what the general public likes. They can be fickle.


19 thoughts on “WHiMSeY in ArtPrize

    • Sooooo many entries and so many venues. I was always for ‘art for the masses’ and boy howdy the masses in GR are participating. The quality of the art is wildly varied but the quality of the fun is genuine. It was started as a way to generate money for the city and it does just that.

      • I know, isn’t it crazy? I could write a thesis about this angle on art and how well it works, or rather, WHO it works well for. It does generate a lot of money for downtown businesses, hotels, restaurants. It generates money for the founder. Most of the event is run by volunteers. And, boy, would I love to explore aspects of THAT further and when I take too close a look at how it works I tell myself to calm down, grab a beer and join the party. It is a big, fun, slightly maddening city wide party.

    • It is a trip. I’ve put in…5 days of volunteering for Art Prize, everything from education (working with a granddaughter of Ray and Charles Eames in one of her ‘chair camps’ for youth), to working for Art Prize to working for Site:Lab and I’m going in for a sixth day tomorrow. It is maddening, wonderful, exhausting all at the same time.

      • I know what you mean. I joined the Board of NZ Sculpture OnShore about 18 months ago as the Marketing Director (pro bono). I’m doing 12 hour days at the moment getting ready to open on November 5th. Totally exhausting, totally maddening and utterly exhilarating! And BTW: I am so envious of you getting to work with Ray and Charles’ Eames granddaughter. I love the Eames Lounge and ottoman, and would really like to see the house in LA sometime.

  1. This is a good PDA…. public display of art. HA! 😀 This should be done all over the place. The bunnies are very creative….. and very very very unique. I mean, how often you see one that’s on the water? and actually thought-provoking too! I would have voted it for it too.

  2. Pingback: Busting the Odometer in Souda Bay, Greece | The Sophomore Slump

    • Thanks for the link. I’m gonna rethink that high res business as I careen towards my free storage limit. Rain on snow here today. Enjoy that crazy Greek sunshine. Looking forward to posts on same.

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