Art 2.1: Creating on the Social Web

ArtPrize: An Experiment in Decentralized Curation and Competition

Maya Lin, "Ecliptic"

Maya Lin’s (Season One) “Ecliptic” in Rosa Parks Circle, Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Production still from the Art:21 episode, Identity, © Art21, Inc. 2001.)

There’s been a fair bit of talk lately about how the recession is affecting artists, the art market, and art institutions. And with good reason, pocket books are tight everywhere, and most art, no matter its intended relation to market forces, can’t exist without some kind of capital. It’s not a coincidence that this is also the era of the rise of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and the like are facilitating massive realtime networks that are free (as long as you’re connected). These networks become a conduit of exchange for new kinds of goods, and value is now being measured in new ways. Stock prices still matter, but Google rankings are starting to matter, too. Content is aggregated by algorithms that calculate value from the unconscious input of millions of users.

How does this new method of exchange and valuation affect the art world? If social networks naturally become markets, placing value on instantly exchanged bits of info, what would happen if we gave that value a monetary correlation, apart from a traditional marketplace? I’ve been working to help develop an new art event that seeks to do exactly that. ArtPrize is a radically open art competition. The annual event will run September 23 to October 10 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hundreds of artists from around the world have created online profiles, which are a cross between an artist bio and an open-ended proposal. Hundreds of property owners, institutions, and public spaces in downtown Grand Rapids have volunteered to open their space to artists. We’ve built ArtPrize.org to enable these artists and venues to connect to one another, without a central curator or jury. If that weren’t unorthodox enough, the winner of the cash prize (currently the world’s largest, at $250,000, with additional prizes for the rest of the top ten) will be decided by public vote. Anyone can come to Grand Rapids, register to vote for free, and rank each entry with either an up or a down vote, online or by text message.

ArtPrize is an experiment that seeks to utilize the connectivity that social networking allows to build an art event from the ground up. We could have made an online art contest, where everyone uploads a .jpg and users click to vote while in their pajamas. We did not want to do that. We believe that the true value of most works of art are experienced during a physical or social encounter. Incentivizing these encounters in the city of Grand Rapids has tremendous civic value. Artists are tuning in to the possibilities inherent with this level of direct engagement with the city and audience. There are exciting projects coming that push the boundaries of how art interacts with social structures, architecture, and an overall sense of place.

Jimmy Kuehnle, "Stuffed Full"

Jimmy Kuehnle, ArtPrize participant. Stuffed Full, installation in Kyoto, Japan, 2008.

For those who can’t make it to Grand Rapids this fall, there will still be plenty of ways to track the event online. During the first round of voting, which takes place in the first week, visitors to ArtPrize.org will be able to track which artists are taking the lead. On October first, the top ten from the general vote will be announced, and final the winners will be announced October 8, after the second round of voting. To keep up during the event, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and our blog. It’s important to us that the event is grounded in a physical location, but we’re also eager to see how the discussion spurred by ArtPrize spreads across the web.

The idea of an incentive is central to ArtPrize. The prize and the vote primarily do one thing: they deliver an engaged audience. To many, this is a scary prospect. Who are all these people, and what do they know about art? Who are they to say what’s good and what isn’t? The voting audience will certainly be diverse, ranging from experts to complete novices. The event will likely create a vacuum of critical art knowledge, people may not have the language, or the art-historical context, to process what they’re seeing. The great thing is that this vacuum can be perfectly filled by educators, artists, and critics. Experts work tirelessly to supply cultural capital, we’re looking to create a demand. We’re working to produce educational programming and resources, but we’re really excited to see what pops up on its own. How will artists advocate for their own works? How will critics make an argument for what should get votes and what shouldn’t? What happens when friends go to the bar after looking at art and argue about what they voted for and why?

Kurt Perschke's RedBall Project in Toronto, 2009

Kurt Perschke’s RedBall Project, shown above from the June 2009 installation in Toronto, will come to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize. (Photo by Flickr user inastral.)

ArtPrize has been the target of some criticism, and that’s not surprising. Some assume that putting on an art contest without a jury is a referendum against traditional art world practices, or even an affront to the very idea of curation. This is not the intent. Curators, juries, galleries, and other art institutions are playing a large role the formation of the event, each presenting a collection of entries that reflect their own sensibilities and expertise.

There are two interrelated questions that drive much of the thinking behind ArtPrize. One, how do works of art create and maintain value given the current state technological and cultural progress? This is a question Walter Benjamin began to ask with his 1936 essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. We’re way beyond the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, but new versions of the same question keep coming up. And the second question, who decides what that value is? What, or who, is the art world, if such a thing can be concretely defined? And who is the public? How do social media technologies, with their ability to level all users to a single node in a network, affect these distinctions? ArtPrize doesn’t claim to know the answers to these questions, but we are doing everything we can to energize the debate.

Kevin Buist is an artist, freelance writer, and Director of Artist Relations for ArtPrize, he lives and works in Grand Rapids, MI. He received a BFA from Calvin College, and attended the New York Center for Art and Media Studies. He has written about film for SpoutBlog and co-produced FilmCouch, a Webby-nominated podcast. Before helping launch ArtPrize, he ran Calvin College’s 106 Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI. He can be found on the web at kevinbuist.com and on his blog, The Porcupine School of Poetry.


  1. Ethan says:

    I heard about ArtPrize from a friend who lives in Grand Rapids. It’s an exciting idea–especially how it involves the entire community.

    But I think the entrance fee puts the event in an unflattering category. Generally fee-based exhibitions are a form of fund-raising for marginal art galleries/organizations. Many artists will categorically not submit work to such exhibitions.

    My suggestion for next year would be to do away with the entrance fee. It is better to have smaller prizes, but attract more entries.

    Reply

    Latifah Shay Reply:

    I agree with Ethan.

    Reply

  2. The real value of the new information age is only as good as the validity of the information being collected, sold, or shared. What is most disappointing about Artprize is the disinformation, or at the very least misinformation that this new technological based idea sends forth.
    Artprize denies the claim, but it seems to me to be a clear referendum against the established art world. Betsy Devos, of the ultra conservative Devos Foundation,the money behind Artprize said,“Dick and I share our son’s vision for encouraging everyone to explore the arts in a truly democratic way.” While I not sure what that actually means, the founder ,her son Rick Devos feels “It’s time to reboot the conversation between artists and the public” The implication, from the Devos’s seems to be that galleries, museums, alternative spaces, public art projects, and individual artists have not been working diligently enough trying to engage the public in the world of Art appreciation. Or are not engaging them correctly.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge believer in technology and the new relationships built around social networking. But lets be honest, social networks do not “naturally become markets”. Many fail from inherent flaws or just plain silliness. Giving the power to the public to award $250,000 to the best of the competition does not necessarily “deliver an engaged audience”. That would be like saying if MOMA paid everyone who came to the museum $50 they would really be better engaged with the work. What it does deliver is an “American Idol” type Art competition.
    And it’s inaccurate when Kevin Buist says that the hosting venues “volunteered” their spaces to artists. The venues had to pay $100 to participate and many have charged artists fees to exhibit with them and in turn venues themselves acted as the initial jury for the competition.
    It is true that Artprize “is doing everything we can to energize the debate”. But they seem to want a debate that may not question what Art is but rather who gets to say what Art is.

    Reply

  3. kurt says:

    Ethan – I understand where your coming from, those parasitic places do exist, but I don’t think ArtPrize is remotely related to them. After all the DeVos’s are spending $500,000, not making it. With over 1000 artists the small admin fee can be seen more correctly as a restrictor than anything else.

    And personally I disagree with the idea “It is better to have smaller prizes, but attract more entries.” The issue in an open competition like this is attracting quality, not quantity. Plenty of small prizes exist if you want to bother with them, but without the record prize money you wouldn’t see the same group of experienced international working artists joining in. I am curious to see what that egalitarian environment feels like, but make no mistake – money made it happen.

    Reply

    Ethan Reply:

    Thanks for the response, Kurt… I guess I’m a little surprised that you clearly have a very negative reaction in regards to organizations that use exhibitions for fundraising (i.e., calling them parasitic), yet you do not see how ArtPrize’s structure even remotely resembles them.

    The $50 entry fee is on the high end of what a “parasitic” organization would charge (I suspect $25 is probably closer to the norm). Does the fact that ArtPrize isn’t trying to make a profit really make that big of a difference? I don’t really see why, either way the artist is having to pay in order to have access to an opportunity.

    I can understand the need to winnow the number of applicants… but I suspect that using a fee to do so is counter-productive if your goal is the increase the quality of the submission. Meaning no disrespect to those who did submit their work to ArtPrize, I suspect for many serious artists the fee makes it an non-starter. I suspect the fee seriously limited the quality of applicants you received.

    A better method would be to have the application process be involved and a bit onerous (I suspect this is what informed Ars Priz Electronica’s application process) so that it dissuades folks who are just casually throwing their hats in the ring.

    Reply

    kurt Reply:

    To clarify I’m an artist in ArtPrize, if you looked at the photos,and not part of ArtPrize – so I am speaking as an artist – not for ArtPrize.

    Artists are constantly paying for opportunity in many ways (time, effort, etc), like any other profession, and at this point in my life I would rather pay 50 bucks than 5 hours of my time. Just where I am now. That said I get your point and haven’t paid a fee in over a decade, this just isn’t the same to me as what your talking about. But honestly the fee is nothing, creating my work will cost me thousands out of pocket and weeks of my time,so my decisions are based on different issues.

    Reply

    Ethan Reply:

    Oops, sorry about confusing you with Kevin Buist (K names).

    For me it isn’t really about the money… I just do not like the idea of paying people to consider my art. I think organizations should think it a privilege to have the opportunity to review my (or any other artist’s) artwork.

    Applying to residencies, however, is different for me. I’m not 100% why… perhaps because the possible result (getting the residency) is something that is really for my benefit solely. In contrast, I think participating in a show should be seen as benefiting the venue/organization at least as much as benefiting the artist.

  4. Kurt,
    Opening the door to any artists, anywhere who “can find space” ( which in reality wasn’t what happened) is not a guarantee to attract quality. I fear the good work is going to get buried in the plethora of poor quality that is bound to exist in a competition like ArtPrize. In the end it isn’t going to do AP or the city of GR any good if people walk away with the impression that it’s all a big hodge podge.

    Reply

    kurt Reply:

    actually I agree with you about getting buried, but I decided the risk was worth the experience and opportunity. artists are generally conservative about such things, so I understand why friends of mine stayed away. I think when they call it an experiment, they mean it.

    Reply

  5. John Moore says:

    This blog is the first I’ve heard about the public being allowed to cast a negative vote.

    I’d actually like to see the winning prize amount remain as is. But I’d like to see a full million awarded to the artist who gets the most negative votes, and maybe a dishonerable mention to anyone who gets ignored entirley.

    Reply

  6. JG Mikulay says:

    If “ArtPrize is an experiment that seeks to utilize the connectivity that social networking allows to build an art event from the ground up,” it would be great to be more transparent about the content of the critical dialogue and its origins. When Buist writes that “ArtPrize has been the target of some criticism,” a hyperlink could take us to http://www.artworldsalon.com/blog/2009/04/the-prize-of-desperation/ or to the dialogue hubbed around http://www.g-rad.org or to whatever actual criticism Buist is referencing. Promotional essays such as this do little to provoke wider discussion of the questions Buist claims drive ArtPrize. I hope that Art21 will also provide a forum for considered critique, especially from participants, as the event unfolds this Fall.

    Reply

  7. Kevin Buist says:

    This is a great discussion. I’ll try to weigh in on some of the issues raised, sorry if this is long-winded.

    Ethan, I think your criticism of the entry fee is valid. Whether through simple economics or association with “parasitic” organizations, $50 to enter could be prohibitive to some artists. If we hadn’t gotten any good applicants, I would probably agree that it had a adverse affect on the quality of the work. I’ll admit that the quality of the entrants varies widely, but I feel that a strong contingent of world class artists didn’t see the fee as a problem.

    I think what might be at issue here is a matter of geography. By clicking over to your blog, I see that you’re from New York City. I grew up in Grand Rapids, but I lived in New York for a while and worked at a commercial gallery in Chelsea. Not only does an active art market sustain a vibrant art community there (even for those not actually participating in the market) there’s also more non-profit and non-traditional funding options available. Someone can challenge me on this, but my sense is that the perception of a submission fee is very different in the midwest. Our most reputable galleries are not commercial, they are funded through donations and grants, and they routinely charge submission fees as a way to help cover operational costs. I know a lot of midwest-based artists that don’t seem to mind this model.

    Richard, the debate about whether ArtPrize represents a challenge to traditional art world practices is an interesting one. On the one hand, if we were completely content with how juried art competitions, biennials, and convention hall style art fairs worked, we could have easily just replicated an existing model (Art Basel Miami: Grand Rapids Edition!). We did not want to do that. We feel that social media is just beginning to reach a crucial stage where its ability to aggregate content is a significant cultural force. We wanted to see what would happen if we combined that force with an international art event, and ArtPrize is what we came up with. One of our goals was invigorate debate about these topics, which is already working, here on this blog and elsewhere.

    I’m really not sure where you’re getting the idea that the DeVos family has it out for traditional arts institutions. They’ve given millions to museums, non-profit galleries, performance halls, etc. for decades. If funding ArtPrize implies that they’re not pleased with a traditional curation process, their recent $2.5 million gift to the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art (as well as other museums and galleries over the years) would seem to imply that they feel the curation process is working just fine. By your logic, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. But the thing is, they’re not, because ArtPrize is not meant as a referendum on those traditional practices. UICA, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and plenty of other arts institutions and commercial galleries are involved in ArtPrize, and it would be insulting to suggest that they would approach the process with anything less than their usual curatorial rigor. The bottom line is: building a new model does not mean the old model is broken. New models can help old models adapt to new circumstances. If you’re suggesting the that the fact that existing models function well for some artists is a reason that artists and institutions should not innovate, I’m simply going to have to disagree.

    JG, I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m biased in favor of ArtPrize, I’m helping create and run it, so I certainly have a vested interest in its success. That said, there has been a lot of great discussion spurred by ArtPrize, and some of it is quite critical, which is fine, that’s par for the course. The Turner Prize will always have the Stuckists. In many ways, part of what’s great about big public events like this are the way they force opposing opinions to organize and react, which is beneficial overall, even if it stresses out the organizers of the original event (like me).

    I’m glad you linked to g-rad.org. I’ve been involved with G-RAD for years, and I keep a blog there. The discussion of ArtPrize on G-RAD shortly after the announcement last spring was at times contentious, but ultimately instrumental in forming some of the core thinking behind the event itself. From a personal perspective, I feel privileged to be working on an event like this in its inaugural year, because I can have these great debates, and it actually has an effect on what the event becomes.

    I definitely second your desire to have Art:21 continue to provide a forum for debate surrounding the event, and I’m deeply grateful to them for providing the opportunity to publish this post.

    Reply

  8. Nancy Tobin says:

    Congratulations to all of the professional artists making a decent living without paying entry fees such as the fifty bucks for ArtPrize! Like many other artists I know; I’ve paid fees, donated work, donated time and paid more fees — all towards the goal of making a living doing the work I love. If you’re not ready to commit that much, you’re probably in the wrong business.

    It’s a lucky few that have great galleries selling every work they make. For the rest of us, we’re destined to jump up onto the soapbox and push our way into peoples lives.

    I’m amused at the ruckus that ArtPrize has started. Will there be a lot of crappy art? Probably. Might the winner be awful? Could be. This could all turn out to be a big, beautiful mess, and I’ll be right there, enjoying every minute of it!

    Reply

    Ethan Reply:

    Nancy, you seem to be suggesting that there are two ways to be a successful artist: either being lucky and not paying fees or being hard working and paying entry fees. You also suggest that paying fees is a form of commitment to an artistic career.

    I disagree. Sure, it’s certainly possible to have a busy exhibition schedule by submitting work to fee-based shows. But I truly believe that those shows do little for an artistic career other than take up space on an artist’s résumé. There may occasionally be the exceptional case in which a fee-based show leads to a genuine opportunity and advances a career. However, in general fee-based shows are a waste of time, a waste of money, and a distraction from taking steps that might actually help an artistic career.

    The choice is not limited to either being magically picked up and represented by a gallery or paying fees to have the opportunity to show work. There are plenty of real opportunities for non-represented artists (such as myself and, I assume, you): open calls for curated/juried shows that do not require a submission fee, grants, calls for public art proposals, and DIY exhibition opportunities. These kinds of opportunities can provide real momentum to a career, and not just a false sense of speed.

    Reply

    Nancy Tobin Reply:

    Hi Ethan,

    You’re absolutely right — there are myriad choices for artists to further their careers.
    I don’t think there is a “one-size-fits-all” solution to the struggles that most artists face putting food on the table. I wasn’t being (too) snide when I congratulated the few artists that are making a living, making their art — it’s a damn hard thing to do. I cheer all who are successful!

    I really am perplexed by the criticisms of ArtPrize. I’m trying hard, but much of it smells of snobbery.

    Reply

  9. Kevin, Thanks for the reply.
    Wasn’t the clear implication, if not the selling point of AP the fact that it would ( in theory) be open to anyone who could find a space? I don’t think you ever promoted the fact that there would be or even could be any professional curating in any of the venues. Now your suggesting that there is some additional credibility to AP because UICA, GRAM, and other institutions employed their “usual curatorial rigor”?
    Who were these curators? Why weren’t any of their names and credentials included in their venue information? Why did you choose not to state this information?

    I don’t have any idea how much money the Devos’s give to cultural institutions and programs. If it’s a bundle well then my hats off to them and thank you. But I’m reacting to the AP system and how and why they set it up the way they did. Can you tell me what then Betsy Devos meant when she said, “Dick and I share our son’s vision for encouraging everyone to explore the arts in a truly democratic way.” As if things have been unfair?

    Frankly, Kevin, it sounds so ever current to say things like “social media is just beginning to reach a crucial stage where its ability to aggregate content is a significant cultural force”, however, I’m not sure any of us really understand the full meaning of the future of social media. BUt it seems to me that with all the purpose and praise you give this new technology that at the end of the day it’s simply being used by AP as a means to catalog and register artists.
    What seems to be lacking, and a choice by AP to have it be lacking, is a real definition of ‘quality’ when it comes to your “aggregate content”.

    Reply

  10. Kevin,
    A couple more thoughts. I’m all for adapting to change and innovation.

    I would agree that the model of change you suggest in “decentralized curation”, where even a bar owner can curate a selection of Art work to exhibit is change, but I don’t see that as innovation. That’s simply stripping any sense of professionalism and expertise from “the largest art competition in the world” and replacing it with a populism which might be fun for the venue owners but certainly won’t gain AP any credibility for innovation. “American Idol” may be a fun program (for a while) for people to watch but it’s hardly a professional way to pick talent.

    L

    Reply

  11. Kevin Buist says:

    Richard, I find it pretty hard to believe that given the amount time you’ve spent reading and responding to posts like this over the last six months that you don’t understand the basic mechanics of how ArtPrize works. Anyway, here goes: ArtPrize artists and venues must both register on the site, then find one another, then come to a mutual agreement to work together during ArtPrize, then secure that relationship on the site. Now, whatever specifics take place in this process are entirely up to the artist and the venue. Which means this: Venues that are a bar will have work selected by people who run a bar. Venues that are an Art Museum with a world-renowned modern and contemporary collection, will have work selected by the very same people who curate that collection. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t like the fact that both exist in the same event, fine. If you don’t believe the two CAN exist in the same event, you’re wrong, it is already happening. If you’re not sure how to sort out the art that’s in a bar from the art that’s in an art museum, stop an ArtPrize volunteer on the street and ask, “Where’s the art museum?”

    As far as social networking’s ability to aggregate content, I never claimed that it would deliver the highest quality content. You may ask, why create an event that aggregates content in this way, if it’s not a proven method of delivering quality? And that’s a decent question, but the fact is that the internet is already aggregating content whether you like it or not. You have have a website, and I could probably find it if I googled “landscape painting”, but it’s not currently very well ranked, meaning that it’s pretty far down the list of search results. In this way, you are a piece of content, and you are already being aggregated by an algorithm whether you like it or not, which may or may not have anything to do with the quality of what you’re creating. The idea behind ArtPrize is to challenge artists to dive head-long into this new world where, you’re right, no one knows what it all means or where it’s all going. Good artists and institutions have always done this. When the Sony Porta-Pack video camera came out, artists where some of the first people to explore the possibilities it created. None of them could have known that Youtube, or the rise of independent film, or a television show like Art:21 were coming in the near future. Not knowing where something is going is worst excuse for not exploring it. The opposite is true. The fact that no one knows where social media is headed is exactly the reason artists and institutions should be exploring it. Which is I think why Art:21 Blog created this column, Art:2.1, in the first place.

    Reply

  12. Lee says:

    From the day it was announced Artprize has always been called an experiment. The fields of innovation have long been watered by the sweat of experimentation. Without people trying new things we would quite literally still be in the dark. The American Idol complaint I find interesting due to the fact that the winners do seem to be talented. “I may not know much about art but I know what I like” Art should not have boundaries and Artprize has removed those restraints and given all of us a great opportunity to see what’s possible. Even if the experiment doesn’t produce the results everyone expects, we’ll all have learned from the experience. That’s why it’s called an experiment. It’s like why they don’t call fishing “catching”

    Reply

  13. Richard Kooyman says:

    Kevin,
    I think I understand the stated mechanics of your ArtPrize very well and I find it very interesting.. But I find what you have chosen not to talk about regarding the mechanics of ArtPrize even more interesting. I uunderstand perfectly well that Art selected by a bar owner might be completely different than Art that is curated by your sponsor UICA. Thats an easy one. What I find hard to understand is that your competition, billed as the “largest Art competition in the world” doesn’t care to differentiate between the two. To Artprize it seems the two processes are the same, equal in importance and quality.
    I’m not suggesting that the problem with ArtPrize is that it isn’t a proven method of selecting quality. I’m suggesting you have intentionally engineered a Art competition where you in fact want to replace the issue of professionall quality in Art with a mainstream populism.

    Reply

  14. Kevin Buist says:

    Richard,

    I don’t want professionalism replaced by populism. I want people to have an earnest discussion about what art is good and why. And it’s my sincere hope that those who know (professionals) make a case for what’s worthy of attention and votes and what’s not. ArtPrize is bringing in speakers to help further this discussion, but ultimately it’s an open framework. If you see a gap where there’s a lack of informed opinions: fill that gap.

    I read what you wrote about ArtPrize and Duchamp, which I thought was pretty interesting. Clearly you’ve done a lot of thinking about ArtPrize. Which artists do you want to win and why? By all means, tell people, make the case. For many, it will be the first time they’re engaged in such a debate, and even if they don’t listen to you and they go and vote for something terrible, I would still argue that the event, and the debates it raises, will have a positive net effect for all involved.

    Once events like this become part of the fabric of a city, the character of that city adapts, and the population comes to have a more informed view overall. Partly out of experience, and partly out of a sense of place and civic pride. I would argue that Austin is a more fertile ground for independent music because of SXSW, even though it only happens once a year. What will happen in ten years when a kid who grew up in Grand Rapids enters art school after having taken field trips to meet contemporary artists every fall? I grew up in Grand Rapids, and that’s not a luxury I had. It will take time, but I believe this kind of mass civic engagement really can positively shape the culture of a city.

    Reply

  15. Richard Kooyman says:

    Kevin,
    Thats almost comical. You build the building and when I point out the fact that the porch is leaning you tell me to fix it? You may say you don’t want to replace professionalism with populism but that is in fact what you have engineered isn’t it?
    Would you agree that there are in fact dangers in that model?

    Reply

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  17. Kevin Buist says:

    Richard,

    I think this debate is beginning to go in circles.

    I wrote an entire paragraph in the above article about the idea of incentive being central to ArtPrize. This means that we’re incentivizing other people to do things, it’s not a mistake. To expand on your building metaphor, we didn’t build a house with a broken porch, we set up a contest for *someone else* to build a house from scratch. If architectural criticism is needed, start talking. Something’s going to be built, you can jump in and participate or not, it’s your call.

    Would I agree that there are dangers in this model? Hell yes! We would not be doing this if we knew exactly how it would turn out. I also wrote a whole paragraph above about how we could have staged a biennial, a commercial fair, or a juried competition, but we did not want to. Those models have their roles, and they have a lot of value, but we’re intentionally creating a new model. It is not safe.

    Reply

  18. Richard Kooyman says:

    Kevin,
    “I think this debate is beginning to go in circles.”

    Well…you said you wanted dialog. Wait till your event happens if you think this is going in circles.

    Reply

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  20. Latifah Shay says:

    Okay, I said “I agree with Ethan” before I read on…
    I appreciate the debate between Ethan and Kurt and it has given me some things to chew on. Thanks to you both.

    Reply

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  22. artjunkie says:

    No, ArtPrize isn’t a new idea but its producers should be given their credit due. Funding for the arts is abysmal here in the USA so kudos for their effort. FotoFest in Houston, TX has the oldest (25 years and counting) and longest running city-wide art exhibition in the United States. CURATE THIS! (conceived as an experiment by 2 artists/gallery directors in New Orleans, LA) held in June, 2008 was the first global online voting event for a public art exhibition here in the United States drawing 400 ‘guest curators’ from 11 countries, followed shortly thereafter by The Brooklyn Art Museum’s ‘Click: A Crowd Curated Exhibition’. The CURATE THIS! creators were scheduled to create a city-wide public art exhibition (inspired by
    FotoFest) in the fall of 2008 during Prospect 1: New Orleans but their limited artist budgets had to allow for a longer brewing period. During that time, they founded The BECA Foundation – Bridge for Emerging Contemporary Art, a non-profit, proudly artist-centric arts organization and in June of 2010, they will finally add the long awaited city-wide public exhibition component to CURATE THIS! in Denver during the Denver Biennial of the Americas followed by a second incarnation in New Orleans in the fall of 2010 during Prospect 2: New Orleans. Don’t look for a $400K purse but it will be one hell of an event focused on the organization’s mission of creating public exhibition opportunities for emerging artists + designers! In addition to the public vote component, there will also be a professional curatorial component. The BECA Foundation is about creating opptys. for emerging artists + designers, the very ones who need exposure to and critique by those with expanded knowledge and expertise. The public and professional components are 2 equally important keys to the success of CURATE THIS! Leaning too far to one side or the other leaves out potentially important contributions to the event and benefits to the participants (both artists and the participating public).

    Reply

  23. Deak says:

    There’s decentralized curation all right. There’s also a total lack of professionalism within that curation.

    In addtion to that, for some reason, the visitors to the venues apparently think that they are their own personal playgrounds. You wanna touch, smear, throw things on, step on, writhe around in, or just generally defile someone’s work? Go ahead. Encourage your kids to do so as well. Who cares? It’s not yours. It’s not like the Artprize people have anyone keeping an eye on the work, despite their army of volunteers.

    But I guess I’m just being unreasonable. I expect people to have some common sense, and know enough to not touch the art. I should know that the general public has no respect for art. The utter, speechless horror I am experiencing over this is totally unwarranted. I’m the one with the problem. After all, we have Kayne West, Joe Wilson, and Serena Williams to show us the way in matters of decorum. Sadly, that prevailing attitude is thriving.

    Reply

  24. Pingback: ArtPrize: Reflecting On and Refining an Open Art Competition | Art21 Blog

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