The Rapidian

Thumbs down for not art

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During the first ArtPrize I chose to not use the down vote option, maybe it was a case of Midwest politeness, I thought it was sort of rude. This year, watching ArtPrize unfold again, I have decided to use the down vote option. I have decided to vote down the things that I do not view as valid contemporary art. Looking over the top 100 on the ArtPrize website I am struck by the disparity between what is represented. On one hand you see some really good art and, as the pendulum swings, you also see represented a great deal of schlock. This leads me to believe that there exists a few camps of people that are participating in the vote: people who actually look at the work and try to decipher it; those who stumble around after a few shots with beer chasers and decide something is cool; and people who vote for things out of some cheesy sentimental notion, i.e. cute or neat.

In the top 25 we have an amazing artist like Beili Liu being rated at the same level as a poor rendition of a subway busker (seriously, he doesn't even do the job well, he may want to switch categories from living statue to kinetic sculpture). Martijn van Wagtendonk creates magic yet he sits on the list next to a scrap steel dragon and a scene from the Lion King. Okay Grand Rapids, it is time that we get out the vote and outdo the visually illiterate and the inebriated. Instructions, go look at entries, determine if it is even art, if not vote it down. If you determine that it is art then try to decipher it, is it more than a one liner? Make a judgement call, if it is bad art vote it down. While you are at it, if you find something that is good, maybe even great art, then vote it up and tell your friends about it. All art is not equal, and in ArtPrize a good deal of it is not even art. 

Disclosure: The author is an artist and is participating in Artprize.

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 well said! there are some serious artists being obscured by the typical "art festival" cookie cutter stuff. I thought it was a mean thing to have the down vote... but now I like the way you phrase things.... 

Very well put, Mark. It saddens me that these innovative artists have dedicated much of their year to this competition, inviting us to implore their work, yet many of the leading pieces... well, are disappointing.

I'm definitely giving a GIANT thumbs down to the GIANT greeting card outside of the BOB. The BOB gets a thumbs down in general.

Be sure to check out the images and comments (some of which are hilarious) on this site:


(No affiliation, just a fan)

...and all this time, I thought art was subjective.

 Ones taste in art is subjective. That's completely different than saying art is subjective.

I decided, after seeing the huge penny win one of the top 10 spots, that parents must be giving away their votes to their kids. I finally realized that people are just not voting down bad art.

I thought of publicizing the movement to use the "vote down" option next year in the form of a website and/or stickers which simply say, "Vote down bad art." That way we won't have lions made of nails representing Grand Rapids to the rest of the world.

A little further research: down votes don't count. There goes my defense against oversized, overhyped art next year.