ArtPrize 2015 – GRAM and Taking it to the Streets

This weekend closed out the final “official” week of ArtPrize. If 2015 is anything like previous years, we should have no problem seeing some of these pieces for the next couple of months. After all, the art from this event draws people into your shop, and once they’re there you have the opportunity to sell things to them. Who would pass up this opportunity to raise revenue, especially as the long descent into the holidays begins?

I thought I’d do another roundup post where I talk about some of my favorite art that I saw a couple evenings ago when I stepped outside and just started walking. You can call this a best of the Grand Rapids streets and the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM).

My favorite installation of the evening, which didn’t become my favorite until I meditated on its meaning for some time, was actually a video presentation at the GRAM by Stephen Dean titled “PULSE”.

The video itself looked something like a color run where everyone gets backed up due to traffic. However, much like my favorite piece of art prize it wasn’t until the plaque that I appreciated the beauty of this piece. What Dean had captured was a celebration during the Hindu festival called Holi, in which caste (class) and gender restrictions are temporary put on hold. Just the idea of something like this warmed my blood in much the same way the Jewish year of Jubilee did when I first learned of it. It is difficult to imagine what this kind of liberation would feel like — even if only for one day — but I like to try every once in a while.


Monroe O’Bryant, “Realistic Neglects”

Later, we actually stumbled across a lecture by photographer Monroe O’Bryant who was speaking on topics of social justice and racism in Grand Rapids. His photo series “Realistic Neglects” features staged recreations of historical Grand Rapids acts of violence against African Americans. The images were really powerful, and I honestly wish I could have heard O’Bryant speak on the topic at greater length. It is hard to believe an artist with such a gift for images could also have such a talent with words.

The last piece I want to mention from my walk downtown is a sculpture called “Truncated Octahedron and Geodesic World” by Six Dimension Design. I hope the piece is still in front of the Van Andel Arena because I’d like to get another photo of it, preferably at night. The photos on the ArtPrize 2015 web site don’t seem to do the piece justice.


Six Dimension Design, “Truncated Octahedron and Geodesic World”

The complete piece looked like some Wellsian time machine surrounded by alchemical scrawlings and baubles. However, up close you notice that the writing is much more chemical. In fact, it is the periodic table, and all of these shapes are crystalline structures inspired by elements and compounds. This larger than life sculpture was right up our alleys, my wife being a chemistry and geology geek and myself being a multi-class geek-of-a-thousand-colors.

Those were the highlights of the evening. Like I said, I am going to try and get a better photo of the installation by Six Dimension Design, and I hope to put up at least one more post about ArtPrize 2015. Until then, expose yourself to some art that makes you think and some art that makes you feel and some art that makes you disgusted and some art that makes you hurt. You will be better for it.

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