Last year I declared the ArtPrize had jumped the shark after a giant mosaic of a crucified Jesus was the a finalist (and then went on to win) the top prize, which is decided by popular vote. There was some controversy after this--plus a real fear that actual artists would stop coming to ArtPrize when only the biggest, most pandering-to-a-west-Michigan-crowd pieces had a chance of winning. Happily, this year a juried prize has been added. And anyway, nothing was going to keep me from seeing the latest from SiTE: LAB, the arts group that consistently brings thought-provoking and edgy art to Grand Rapids, always using interesting (and often abandoned) spaces, to do so. This year, they were providing space for several artists at Grand Rapids' former natural history museum, the old Public Museum (which they had previously transformed in 2010--see my posts about it here and here.)
Large sod islands by Blane De St. Croix hover over the museum's atrium, where once a full scale model of a whale was hung.
Specimen, a glass sculpture by Wes McGee and Catie Newell.
Artists not only used the Public Museum's old exhibit spaces, but often used the actual items from the exhibits and other items from museum storage.
I loved how Scott Hocking incorporated old books into this piece.
This had the best title card ever.
I love the "*shown here without the box" part.
This piece by Design 99 called Displacement was basically an estate sale taken apart and put back together behind glass in a museum.
View of Blane De St. Croix's UnNatural History from above.
Bubbles emerge from the floor in Lisa Walcott's Breathing Room.
Part of the Complex Movements/Tiff Massey multimedia piece.
That's just a taste of what you can see at SiTE: LAB. If you're in Grand Rapids, or thinking of coming to see ArtPrize, you must visit the SiTE: LAB exhibits. You are really missing out if you don't! Tomorrow I'll be checking out the artists at the UICA, and I'm sure--if last year was any indication--that there will be more great stuff to see there!
This is what I wore. I decided to be all artsy and mix prints: a new-to-my-closet 1960s leopard print dress and a been-in-my-closet-ages 1950s poppy print cardigan. And yes, it's boots weather! Sort of. It's that time of year when I wear boots when I'm not quite ready for the tights.