Another self-portrait. I a-muse myself!
I'm really trying to muster the energy and enthusiasm for ArtPrize this year. I think it's more of a case of fighting a cold/strep/whatever the hell this is than anything else. You'd think I was burned out from creating 1,000 pieces of art, but in a fit of "oh my God those are field trip school buses, we are gonna run out!" Cara and I created an additional 250 pieces, so that is not the case.
There are a lot less pieces this year, but I have found in visiting some of the more popular hot spots such as UICA, the BOB and Women's City Center, less is more. You don't feel like there's a million things going on at once, and have a little more time to linger instead of "ohthat'scool,next!"
Overall, lots of politically-charged entries. Lots of large-scale pieces. A handful of fountains.
That said, there are a few things that have stood out for me, other than what me and Cara put out there, of course.
Corporal Hoffman Series
Pair 5 wounded U.S. military veterans & active servicemen/women with an established artist/designer. Together the two parties collaborate to share that hero's story through the medium of art & graphic design. Moving, thoughtful and creative without heavy-handed, Hallmarky patriotism. Honest.
Sounds familiar... two friends with a passion for art collaborate on a fun project to inspire creativity and joy. But instead of
Imagine an episode of Hoarders as an exhibit. I experienced a wide range of emotions while exploring the exhibit, which was the content of a 900 sq. ft. house abandoned in Detroit. Fascination at the antiques. There was the voyeuristic thrill of snooping in some one's crap. Quaint nostalgia at the kitchen ware. Curiosity at the show ribbons from the State Fair, dating back to the 40s, 50s. Shock at the stacks of Styrofoam coffee cups. Horror at the thousands of accumulated plastic forks. Disgust at the mounds of trash. Confusion and embarrassment at the personal items (bills, letters) exposing the privacy of the hoarders.
Then sadness when witnessing, displayed slightly apart from the bills and letters, the cardboard embossed envelope for the death certificate and funeral arrangements.
That in and of itself changed the way I saw everything after. This wasn't just the trash of someone suffering from OCD, but some lonely person's desperate grasping at a life that was, an open scrapbook for someone that LIVED and wasn't ready to throw it away, no matter who tattered, dirty or insignificant.
I love the artist statement: "As women, we are all compelled to spend copious amounts of time and money decorating ourselves, relentlessly seeking approval in mirrors. NewWoman stands boldly decorated in the very medium we use to validate our carefully constructed physical images. The precise geometry of the tiles is a testament to our meticulous efforts at achieving stylistic perfection. Perfectly postured, she is unapologetic for her provocative designs." This is one gorgeous piece, and I appreciate the above boldface. Enough of our self-inflicted self-esteem issues, rock on sisters.
We met the artist at the BOB, a curious man who was rapidiographing with all his heart while handing spectators magnifying glasses to appreciate his tiny strokes. And tiny it is. Meticulous, well-crafted and fascinating, it was a magnificent juxtaposition to everything at the BOB which is about being big, bigger and biggest. And he loved what he was doing.
He was interested in our work as well, and he was also planning on giving away art throughout GR this week just for fun. Not an ArtPrize vote grab, art for art's sake. His theme? Finders keepers. I hope I find something.
Imagine the 10 commandments in modern day language, dealing with modern day moral dilemmas such as divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage and global war. Then see the challenge put up by the artist: how would Jesus address the issues? Viewers are asked to answer that challenge by putting their answers on cross-shaped notecards and nailing their answers to a foam board. What is compelling was reading the non-answers to the challenge. In the few minutes I had to view the art and ponder the question, I could not come up with a quick, thoughtful response. Even now, I'm pondering how Jesus would take in our modern world.