30 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Day Nine, Top 10 Announcement

After posting my top picks last night, I waited all day with hopefulness and a little skepticism about which works would end up in the ArtPrize Top Ten. I mean, I knew who was in the Top 25, and felt a little uneasy about many of the pieces that landed there. So would the same hold true for the Top Ten?

The Grand Rapids Press ran a piece today in anticipation of the Top Ten announcement that included commentary plucked from area blogs - both written by people I know - "area blogger" (Actually, Joe Force.) posted his ArtPrize Doomsday Scenario, David Maxam authored a post today titled How not to suck at ArtPrize. Clearly people were concerned for the Top Ten and rightly so.

The good news, three of my top picks were named to the ArtPrize Top Ten tonight:

Lure/Forest, Beili Liu, showing at UICA Fulton/Division

Vision, David Spriggs, showing at GRAM

(detail) Cavalry, American Officers, 1921, Chris LaPorte, showing at GRAM

The maybe not so good news: beyond the three above, there are few pieces that I'm okay with being on the list (it could have been worse) and then there's the rehashed ideas and the kitsch. You can go here for a complete list of the Top Ten. I know blood, sweat and tears probably went into creating each piece in the Top Ten, so I congratulate everyone who made the cut. I do have something to say, however, about how we might improve upon this year's Top Ten and make it better for next year.

I truly appreciate ArtPrize, the artists who enter and the energy that fills Grand Rapids. I've been buzzing all week about art, soaking up all the creative energy that's in the air. I feel somewhat protective of ArtPrize and of Grand Rapids though. I don't want it or us to become a joke for awarding this massive prize to a piece of "art" that's basically a gimmick or a rehash of something that's been done before. The caliber of art that wins ArtPrize, heck even gets into the Top Ten, sets a tone about what's capable of winning. If we recognize the giant spectacle or an artist's rehash of an old idea, I fear we'll discourage the caliber of artists who's participation would sustain ArtPrize and make this competition truly world class.

If an artist places in the Top Ten, congratulate them, write them their check, and ask that they not return for a year or two as a way of allowing and encouraging other artists a chance at being recognized. Clearly people are creatures of habit, they voted two of last year's Top Ten artists into this year's Top Ten. Did anyone else catch that?

I would encourage the public to vote based on the piece entered, not the remembrance of recognizing that artist's brilliance a day late and a dollar short the year before. Sorry, Young Kim, last year's piece deserved to be in the Top Ten and it wasn't. It was beautiful! This year's piece just wasn't as powerful or amazing. It felt forced. Maybe it was the space? Maybe the fact that we were herded in and out like cattle to see this year's piece? Maybe because I was comparing it to last year's work. I still appreciate your work.

Because I've spent so much time voyaging around Grand Rapids, searching for these art treasures, I felt personally invested in my favorites making it to a certain level. I wish I had that much influence! HA!

At the end of Day Nine, I guess I need to take a step back, much like I did with several of my favorite pieces, so I can appreciate what is. I've had an amazing time the last nine days/nights. I've seen some fantastic works of art. I've met and chatted with some genuinely lovely individuals who have such a passion for what they do that I've been inspired. I've felt so alive and energetic the last nine days, even though I've gotten far less sleep than I normally require. All is more than well. Thank you ArtPrize.

I'm dying to hear what the "experts" have to say at Friday night's Critical Discourse - Battle for the Top Ten. See you there!

29 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Day Eight, Top Picks

Day Eight! Amazing. Downtown is packed tonight as people are scrambling to see the pieces they're hopefully voting for! I took the Italian Motor friend downtown and met up with my friend A and two of her girls. They had only seen a few pieces on the main floor of the Van Andel Public Museum, so we started there. We were packed in like sardines in the third floor main gallery, but it was worth stopping in for a second look.

No new photos tonight since they'll be announcing the Top 10 tomorrow. There are about two more hours to vote! If you haven't voted for anything yet, but are registered to do so, get to it! Click here to get down to business.

I have high hopes for the Top 10, but just in case some of that kitsch gets in, I'm making my own Best of ArtPrize list to share with y'all who have been following along with me. In no particular order (except for the first two, they're my top two!), here are my favorites:

Koen, David Dodde, showing at the Van Andel Museum Center
Have you ever looked really closely at a photo in a magazine? You'll see that super tiny dots make up the image. This hand printed serigraph of the artist's son was created using the same process magazines use, only on a much larger scale and with fluorescent inks! The guy's got talent and after seeing him with his son tonight, it's evident that his heart is with his son and totally poured into this piece.

Vision, David Spriggs, showing at GRAM
Upon turning the corner to view this piece in its own private area within a larger gallery at the GRAM, I was taken in. I actually sat in front of it for a while just looking at it and watching others experience it. The execution is not like anything I've seen before, sheets of acrylic hung within a case to create a 3-D image. I wanted to touch it. Extra points for the overall quality of the piece, right down to the case the sheets were hung in.

Detroit Forsaken, Ryan Spencer Reed, showing at DeVos Place
I'll just get this out of the way, I'm partial to photography. These photos were begging me to climb inside so I could look around a little more. I loved that it's an entire series, not just one image. It tells a story. In my mind, that's what good art should do, tell a story or help you imagine one of your own.

Deep Breath, Pam Moxley, showing at GRAM
Ms. Moxley had a piece in last year's ArtPrize. It was at WMCAT and I loved that one as well. Again, photography, so yes! Black & White, yes! Creative execution/style that I've not seen before except in her work. To me, her work hints at high end fashion photography, but is clearly fine art photography. I spoke with her on opening night, she was lovely to chat with. I would love to own a piece by her.

Cavalary, Chris LaPorte, showing at GRAM
Before I even saw this piece I heard the plan for it. I couldn't have imagined how incredibly detailed and lifelike this piece turned out to be. Mr. LaPorte is a hardworking artist, who just happens to call Grand Rapids home. We're proud to have him in town and he's another delightful artist to talk to.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial, Michael Murphy, showing outside WMCAT
There a few pieces I've seen multiple times and this is one of them. I've seen it day and night and it's equally compelling any time of day. Apparently this is just the prototype to the actual memorial that will be installed in Cleveland . Imagine how much more cool the actual piece must be. The fact that it commemorates the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio is pretty sweet too!

Lure/Forest, Beili Liu, showing at UICA Fulton/Division
This is so simple, yet so complex. On the surface, it's just tons of little discs of of spun red thread and needles paired together. Deeper though, it symbolizes the Chinese legend of the red thread that is with you when you're born, connecting you to the one you're fated to be with. Come on, who doesn't love a story of fate? I'm in!

WaterPrize, Clausen, Bell & McNeil, showing at G.R. Ford Museum
This is one of the first pieces I saw, on my sneak peek the Sunday before ArtPrize opened. So much to like about it. The image itself is so memorable. The placement in the pool feeding the museum fountain is spot on. And, the cause for clean water is one that needs more attention.

Is anyone else going to the Top 10 announcement tomorrow? I'll be there!

28 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Day Seven

(detail) Detroit Forsaken, Ryan Spencer Reed

Can you believe it? It's already been seven full days of ArtPrize! I'm a bit tired, but have enjoyed every minute hitting the town to take in all the artistic creativity people have put on display. I heard someone talking about a younger kid they know - who said they didn't like art. I couldn't believe my ears! Art is something I was brought up to appreciate and create in my own ways, how could someone not "like" art? In my mind there literally is something for everyone. That's why I feel so grateful that Grand Rapids has ArtPrize. It's letting people experience so many different kinds of art in a very accessible way, I hope it's even changing a few people's minds about about art and inspiring people to express their own creativity.

It was a beautiful night to be tooling around the city checking out art! I stopped into LaFontsee Gallery, DeVos Place and walked around near the Gerald R. Ford Museum. Let me show you some of what I saw tonight:

(detail) Detroit Forsaken, Ryan Spencer Reed

Paper Migration, Richard Shipps

Untitled, Joel Berry

(detail) Svelata, Mia Tavonatti

Dreamtime Walk, Megan Hanley

Jon Bell talks about Water Prize, Clauson, Bell & McNeil

I don't know quite how I managed to get through today! I put in time at all three of my "jobs" today - my 8-5 office job, my ArtPrize "job" and my running "job"! When you're having fun, you somehow find the energy to do all the things you want to do. Tomorrow's the last day for voting before they announce the Top 10! If you're registered/activated to vote, check out the top artists and let your thumbs up or thumbs down be heard!

ArtPrize Extra!

Michael Murphy, these photos are for you. I stopped by for a visit when there was still a good amount of light left in the day.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial, Michael Murphy

(detail) Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial

27 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Day Six

Deep Breath, Pam Moxley

Six days of art with still so many to come. I did not have to run tonight, so I was able to get in almost two full hours of ArtPrizing after work! I hit WMCAT, Fountain Street Church, Kendall, First (Park) Congregational Church and went back through GRAM so I could see Young Kim's piece (not as powerful as last year's piece, in my opinion). Also saw a few pieces along the way between each venue. Man, I really covered some ground tonight!

Including a few of my favorite pics from tonight. I saw Pam Moxley's piece (above) on opening night, but was unable to get a good snap of it with the throngs of people around. Her piece remains one of my favorites - it's beautiful and it's huge, you don't get a sense of scale at all with the pic I chose, but it's probably at least eight to ten feet tall!

Lure/Forest, Beili Liu

The Portrayal of Women, Amy Tenbarge

Virgin and Three Saints, Reed Govert

I've been watching the shifting Top 100 Artists over at the ArtPrize site with great interest. I've seen a bunch of the pieces in person already, but still need to see some before voting them up or down. Some I can tell just by reading the artist's statement and seeing the few pics posted along with it that I don't really need to seek them out. The pieces that seem like they are a one-off gimmick, rather than someone's passion will not be getting my thumbs up vote. For the sake of ArtPrize and Grand Rapids, I'm hoping that the top 10 is full of artists who have created world-class work because it's their passion.

Have you been voting? Are you using the thumbs up and thumbs down equally? I will admit, I'm using the thumbs down a bit more than I did last year. Only two full days left to vote! Get out there and see some art!

26 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Day Five

(Detail) The Big Dog Show, Dale Rogers

As far as ArtPrizing goes, Day Five was a total dog day for me. I did make it to see some art, but not a lot! I realized at my first stop along Monroe that my camera battery was nearly dead. I was able to snap a just two pics, which I'm sharing with you. Not having my camera and having a limited amount of time (which actually worked in my favor yesterday) combined with being tired and having real life activities that I needed to attend to, meant shorty short ArtPrizing and shorty-short post tonight!

The Big Dog Show, Dale Rogers

If you've been ArtPrizing along with me, is there anything I need to see? Tell me!!

ArtPrize 2010 Day Four

ArtPrize Day Four was a busy one! I had to fit in a run first thing this morning. With that under my belt, I did a three hour volunteer shift as a "gallery monitor" at UICA with my friend S and her friend E. We took turns monitoring the galleries inside and an outside installation piece by Alex Schweder La called Evaporative Buildings.

One highlight of the volunteering shift included a 8th or 9th grade looking boy sitting down at the piano outside UICA, part of Street Pianos - Play Me I'm Yours, by Luke Jerram, and flawlessly playing the main theme from Amelie! We were unlocking our bikes, ready to hit the road when he started playing and the music wafted through the air. We and a large crowd gathered around him as he played on. Everyone erupted with applause when he was done. He was grinning from ear to ear. Guess those piano lessons weren't such a waste after all!

Had dinner with R and friends. Loved that Brick Road Pizza was bustling. Good times with good friends.

My evening ArtPrize wandering plan fell through, but I ended up heading down on my own. Italian Motor Friend and I found a fantastic parking spot. I checked out the Hub, (last year we called it the Federal Building, everyone knows it as the Old Art Museum), which doesn't have any art this year. It's a gift shop and basically the communications center of ArtPrize. You can register to vote and then vote on any number of the computers set up on Herman Miller work stations in the main gallery space.

While there, I inquired about my mobile phone voting status. I registered to vote on opening night, but still have not received my confirmation text which would allow me to vote via text. Apparently Sprint never finalized some agreement with ArtPrize, and neither did a host of of other carriers, so mobile voting for a bunch of us gets the big old #fail!

On to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, where among others, I saw:

Burton's Reef, David Burton

Koen, David Dodde (Thumbs up for Mr. Dodde. I've had the pleasure of meeting him a couple times now, most recently tonight, as he was on-site talking about his piece. Super nice/talented guy. Love it when the artists are on-site!)

Invasion, Lisa Murch

Another night up way past my bedtime, but it's so worth it to experience the city so alive and to participate in this amazing celebration of art! I hope to keep my daily dose of ArtPrize going tomorrow, we shall see! Do you have any favorites yet?

24 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Day Three

Untitled, Keith Lemley

I love it when a plan comes together, usually it's when you're not even trying very hard. Things just have a way of firming up. I had vague plans to find M and her kids downtown tonight, but ended up meeting A and her girls for Day Three of ArtPrize. We met up at UICA, which is an exhibition center, meaning you can register to vote on all the art, get information, purchase ArtPrize merch and of course, see some art. We took in a modern dance piece, saw all the different works on display and I marveled at how poorly the exhibits were lit. I'm not sure if the artist's themselves are responsible for lighting their work or if the venue provides lighting, but it was poor to the point of detracting from the work.

Gyre, 2009, Chris Jordan

(detail) XLounge Series, Mark Wentzel

Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Michael Murphy

We then wandered our way outside for a bit, taking in some pieces outside WMCAT, the Children's Museum and the B.O.B. We stopped at Georgio's Pizza as we wrapped up the evening and even saw some art there! Art is everywhere, I'm so not kidding!

I loved walking down Monroe Center toward the GRAM tonight and having so many people be out and about. All the restaurants were lit up and full of people. Grand Rapids feels so big city right now and I love it!

Apologies for so few pics, I just didn't shoot that many tonight. I'll be heading out again tomorrow and possibly even doing a volunteer shift with a friend, so I'll be sure to snap more and share the highlights. We're three days in and I literally have barely seen a fraction of what there is to see. I feel like I need to come up with a strategic plan for seeing more art and stick to it like glue. This weekend should be good for that!

Have you been yet? What are your early favorites? If you haven't been, you totally want to get in on this action! Come visit!

23 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Day Two

After catching the fever that is ArtPrize last night, Day Two did not go as I had hoped. There simply was not enough time to pack in everything that usually has to happen during my day and get in a good amount of ArtPrizing at the same time. So I had to resign myself to the fact that Day Two was not going to match opening day in energy or in the amount of art seen.

Here's how my day went:
6:00 a.m. Alarm goes off after too little sleep. Eyes feeling stingy and dry, I so badly want to turn over and not have to get up.

6:15 a.m. Actually get out of bed.

7:00 a.m. Orthodontist appointment. My teeth are super close to being sans braces. We're doing minor tweaks at this point. It felt like the ortho was going to pull a tooth out of my head while trying to adjust the wire on the bottom. Ugh, it was the most pain and level of discomfort I've experienced since beginning this whole journey with orthodontia last year. Pick up Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

8:00-9:00 a.m. Spend nearly 45 minutes on the phone with someone in our Global IT department, while trying to log onto my work system from home.

9:00-11:00 a.m. Actually work at home once finally logged on.

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Volunteer at the Women's Resource Center, which just happens to be located within a building with ArtPrize exhibits, so I actually did see some art today!

1:00-1:30 p.m. Travel to office from volunteering

1:30-5:30 p.m. Work in office, wonder at several points why I haven't yet received my vote registration text from ArtPrize, it's almost been 24 hours since I registered.

5:30-5:50 p.m. Travel home

5:50-7:30 p.m. Decompress from work stress, eat snack, chat with R who came by for a visit, waffle about how the rest of my evening should go down. End up changing into running gear.

7:30-8:17 p.m. Running. Actually had a good run, despite the fact that during the second half of my run it was dark!

8:17-9:15 p.m. Clean up, check the internetz for the latest ArtPrize news.

9:15-10:00 p.m. Take my Italian motor friend out for a spin around downtown. While out I passed a Harley, who then ended up being next to me at a stop light. The driver made my day when he said, "hey, you weren't supposed to pass me like that!" We discussed our two wheelers and then the light changed and I whizzed off.

10:00-11:00 p.m. Eat a half peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some fake bacon. Blog writing.

11:11 p.m. Bed time!

Hoping to actually see more art tomorrow!!

22 September 2010

ArtPrize 2010 Opening Night

WOAH! Opening night of ArtPrize tonight was insane! So many people, so much art to see! It's blown the eff up since last year's opening night. If you live in Grand Rapids and you were out tonight or last year, you know what the heck I'm talking about. If you happen to be reading this out of town, think about coming to visit. Seriously. The next two weeks or so is going to be a full on art party! There's so much art all over town, I don't even know if you physically could see all of it - 1713 artists, 192 venues, but I'm going to try like mad!

From what I saw tonight, I've got a few favorites. I'll hold off on commentary, just want to share some pics and then I need to get to sleep!

Inner City Bike, Joey Ruiter

(detail) Cavalry, American Officers, 1921, Chris LaPorte

Aside from the art itself I'm buzzing just from the experience itself! The vibe in the city is electric! Good stuff: walking about with two of my best girls, running into a friend whom I haven't seen since high school (the third high school friend run in, this week!), snapping tons of pics, riding my Italian motor friend downtown for easy in and out and free parking, people watching, the harvest moon and staying up way past my bed time! ArtPrize is on, baby!

20 September 2010

Moments of Happy!

I'm all about recognizing the happy moments in my life. My ongoing quest is to just be in the moment - happy, sad or otherwise. Each moment has something to teach me. Of course the moments of happy are so much easier to dig into and enjoy, so here's recognizing some recent moments of happy:

*Baking chocolate chip cookie bars to share with my co-workers and having another co-worker bring in Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes the same morning!

*Running 10 miles this weekend and finally feeling like I'm back on my running game.

*Deciding that life is too short to go into work again on a Sunday afternoon and enjoying my day doing exactly what I wanted instead of "going into the office to get a jump on the week."

*Feeling inspired by someone else's creativity.

*Going to bed early two nights in a row and getting some glorious extra sleep.

*Getting a phone call from my mom mere minutes after I had been thinking about her.

*Seeing recent pics of my baby niece who is at the stage of pulling herself up wherever she can and looking ever so proud of herself!

*Eating more salads and actually enjoying them. Yay for spinach!

*Smiling, being complimentary and expressing sincere gratitude to people who are working hard in the service industries. Most recent example, the grocery store cashier tonight seemed a little surprised that I complimented her bagging style and thanked her for it. She took extra care to load the bags just right, putting like things in bags together rather than just throwing items in the bags as they arrived on the belt. It's pretty cool - the more present/genuine you are with people, the more present/genuine they are with you.

What moments of happy have you had recently?

19 September 2010

Art is in the Air

I took the Vespa downtown Grand Rapids this afternoon to snap some early ArtPrize art photos. The official opening isn't until Wednesday, but art has been popping up around town for the last week or so. There were already a bunch of people wandering around getting a sneak peek at the art that's already installed or being installed outside. If you're in town and didn't make it to last year's ArtPrize (the first ever), make a point of setting aside some time to check it out. I was out for the first five or six nights/days last year exploring and taking everything in I could lay my eyes on!

Rapid Smiles, Lauren Ruth

The WaterPrize, Clausen, Bell & McNeil

Dancing With Lions, Bill Secunda
Elephant Walk, Fredrick Prescott

14 September 2010


Happy Tuesday to you! The weeks are flying by, quite literally! Weather's turning a bit more cool. I've been layering up a little, wearing fewer skirts (boo!) and wearing fewer sandals (even bigger boo!). I know summer hasn't left us completely yet here in Michigan, it's far too soon for that. In the meantime, lemme show you my shoes real quick:

Everyone needs a go-to pair of flats (at least one!) This pair is Isaac Mizrahi for Target from a few years ago. I remember wondering when I bought them if I'd wear them often enough. Let me tell you, there are shoes I've paid a lot more for that I've worn a heck of a lot less! It's funny to me now that I even wondered that I might not wear them, because I wear them so frequently. They're great in the summer when one may not have had time for a pedicure. Hello, bare toe coverage! Or when a sandal seems too casual for whatever outfit I've chosen. Outfitted the Isaacs this time with a pair of black Gap wide leg pants, a Ralph Lauren striped silk shirt (similar look, but in cotton). My layer for the office a white J.Crew safari pocket jacket (similar, but in black).

Time to start thinking about what else to wear this week, I've got a day of important meetings. Need to look sharp!

13 September 2010

Toast AW10- THERE

A few weeks ago, Sarah over at Yes and Yes posted this beautiful (in both sight and sound) video clip. I posted it to my Facebook and listened to it over and over again the day she posted it and for a few days afterward. I was just reminded of it tonight so I thought I'd look it up and share it with y'all.

When I posted it to Facebook I said: (here's a) Beautiful little wanderlust-y video. I keep playing it so I can hear the music again, so happy/sad if that's possible. It feels like it's searching for a significant moment to belong to.

A few weeks have gone by since I wrote that and when I read it tonight I thought, "you know, every moment is significant and perhaps that's why I love this so much." It's simply beautiful and a good reminder to take in each and every moment as a significant thing of beauty.

08 September 2010

Small Victory!

I mentioned in a recent post that I'm trying to train the cats to stay off the couch. Uh, yeah...we had a small break through this evening. Behold:

Completely on their own, they both retired to a basket bed for a little respite tonight. Seriously, treats were only introduced after they had both gotten cozy and started to look a little sleepy. Then as soon as I snapped two pics and gave them treats, Junior (big orange guy in wicker basket bed) hopped out and had to "help" me upload the pics.

I made the wicker basket bed special for them at Christmas. The basket is from Ikea, but I sewed the furry pillow cover and used an older pillow I already had. The laundry basket bed is something I improvised last night as a way of giving them another non-couch alternative for sleeping. I had some feather throw pillows I wasn't using and found a smallish laundry basket to put them in. Combine the two, add a little cat nip as enticement and wait! Rosie is still curled up in there as I type.

If you have cats, you know about small victories. I sometimes feel like they're conspiring against me and then sometimes we have a beautiful moment like what I've captured and shared with you. Cats!

07 September 2010

Tuesday Shoesday

I joked with a friend recently that if you saw my shoes, you'd think I lived a very glamourous life! Since I started running a couple years ago, I tend to baby my feet more, which means fewer fancy heels. Blisters caused by pinchy shoes don't mix too well with regular running! I'm hoping to make Shoesday a regular catch here though at Fresh Starr Fish. It will encourage me to wear more of a variety of my shoes so I have something new to show you guys!

Today's featured shoes: a nudie suede, metal heel by DKNY. I've had this pair for over five years. They were one of the first non-black pairs of shoes I ever bought and one of the first pairs that got me started collecting shoes. I just love the architecture of this pair and I've never seen anyone else wearing them out and about.

I wore them with a pair of skinny tailored dark khaki-colored pants (similar) and a silk cream & beige-y printed cap sleeve mini dress (similar in color and shape only! Marchesa! Ha!).