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What is Art?

Today, I ventured to downtown Grand Rapids to see some of the entries in this year’s “Art Prize,” an art competition that encourages public interaction .. and voting … to determine who wins the top prize of $250K.  Last year’s event brought over 200K people to our city and saw 1700 artists from 21 countries participate.  For more visit (http://www.artprize.org/ )

So off I went with my boss; he loves this stuff and, lucky for me, had already scouted out many of the exhibits during my absence last week.  It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and people – young, old, able and not as much, were out taking in the sights.  I stepped aside more than once to let large school groups pass; I slowed as elderly couples lingered a bit longer.  I held back so someone could snap a photo and even talked with a few of the artists.

I observed.   I wondered.  I enjoyed.

"Mesmer Eyes .. a Requiem;" image from ArtPrize.org

Some of the artwork is traditional enough that even I could recognize it as an entry; others were so abstract that I’m pretty sure the artist’s concept blew right past me. That’s OK, I’m no critic. I like what I like and I know others do as well.  Some entries were so powerfully done that I left feeling overwhelmed.  The talent and passion displayed was … moving.

We were able to view six of the top ten and many others that deserved to be there, in my opinion.

My favorite so far was this one: Mesmer Eyes…a Requiem by Kathy Goodell.  “It manipulates optical phenomena, light, transparency, and the oscillating tension between matter and illusion.” – reads the official transcript. All I know is that Mesmer Eyes made me stop in my tracks and stop to take another look.  I’m still thinking about it now.

What is Art?

A: It’s whatever we think it is.  No wonder people are so excited.

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Categories: Beauty, Fun, Joy, News, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “What is Art?

  1. Yes! Art is in the eye of the beholder! Looks like a fun day.

    • Gonna have to go back; the entries are on display for another week but the public voting closes this week. It was fun to be part of the excitement and see young & old get caught up in it 🙂 MJ

  2. Wow – that sounds like some art show!
    When I think of art, I think of my niece. She does beautiful pastels and sketches. I’m hoping she’ll allow me to write a post in the near future about a recent sketch she did of her grandmother (my mom).

    • It is quite an interesting concept – bring all forms of art to a city and let the public decide what is art. There is some controversy b/c some critics think artists are pandering; whatever – it gets people out, talking and participating.

      I hope to see that post about your niece’s artwork, Dianna 🙂 MJ

  3. I love your last line…It couldn’t be more true!

  4. That is an amazing event to bring that many people, offer that kind of prize from so many places. Looks like you have a week’s worth of viewing ahead of you…what fun!

    • This is the 3rd year and my first time going to see it; I should have gone sooner but didn’t. Am I ever glad I ventured out yesterday … and I will go again yet this week. Cheers! MJ

  5. It’s all about how it makes you feel, isn’t it? Obviously, you were moved by Mesmer Eyes – thought provoking and interesting. I remember being at the MOMA and seeing a giant green fabric square on the wall – no decorations, no pattern, just a plain green square, as though a throw pillow had lost its stuffing.
    I didn’t think it was art, yet, what did I keep talking about – that darn green square. It’s been thirty + years since I saw this and I may have forgotten all about the famous gorgeous paintings that lined the walls, but I haven’t forgotten the green square.

    • Yes – that’s it, Renee. It’s whatever speaks to us and a nice reminder that we’re all unique with our very own tastes and perspectives. I’m sure others passed my favorite with barely a thought but, like your green square, I am stuck on this one. Cheers! MJ

  6. I agree with you — that’s a beautiful piece!

    • It’s even more amazing in person; it’s a huge piece with little orbs hanging in front. When they move you catch the illumination of the picture right behind it … mesmerizing 🙂 MJ

  7. I love it when someone thinks enough about art to write about it. (Even when my opinion is slightly different from theirs!) Actually, I used to teach art not far from you, in Big Rapids. You write (express yourself) exceptionally well, too!

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