The League of Extraordinary Ladies
Glitter Milk Gallery, Grand Rapids, Michigan
For the next two days, my art partner Angelina Le-Drew Bonvarlez and I are at ARTprize in Grand Rapids for our exhibition, The League of Extraordinary Ladies.
From the ARTprize website: "ArtPrize® is a radically open, independently organized international art competition and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For 19 days, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, become an open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Art from around the world pops up in every inch of downtown, and it’s all free and open to the public.
It’s unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike."
Perfect. I have been wanting to participate in ARTprize for about four years and, this year, everything came together. I am having a wonderful time discussing my work and checking out the artwork of other ARTprize artists.
Grand Rapids is an interesting place. There is a vibrant arts community, the architecture is amazing (Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1880's 'skyscrapers', modern gems), and the people are very proud of their city and love to talk to visitors. Grand Rapids is also the Beer Capital of The U.S.. I have never seen so many craft breweries! I have sampled some of the offerings and have not been disappointed. Last night, we had dinner at a great Indian restaurant that plays non-stop Bollywood videos. For lunch two days ago, I ate something called 'Bird Food' at a brew pub and it was very good. (I think it had quinoa in it.) The thrift stores are many and well-stocked.
And the artwork! There is a language spoken here that I understand. I have seen sculptures made of painted and sliced pop bottles. Chalk drawings on concrete. Neon. Massive metal women. Hand-blown glass mugs. Pink strips of plastic hung from a covered promenade that creates the feeling that you could be walking through a womb. Everything goes. It is good art soul food.
Today, we visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the 'home' of ARTprize. There is a magnificent Alexander Calder sculpture outside the GRAM, the shape of which has become the logo of ARTprize.
I want to see everything. And for all the cool things I will not have time for, like the Herman Miller outlet, I know I will be back. Grand Rapids has gotten under my skin.