The weeklong event will usher in amplified conversations on the intersection of art, design, technology, social equity, and urbanism at the sixth annual event.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. August 11, 2014 – ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition, today announced its 2014 Critical Discourse programming. This newly-expanded “event within an event” will bring together experts in the fields of art, design, innovation, urbanism, social equity, and technology, turning up the volume on the conversation around art and why it matters. Free and open to the public, all Critical Discourse programming will take place at the ArtPrize HUB at 7:00 p.m. EDT from September 29 to October 7, 2014.

Distinct from the speaker programming of previous years, Critical Discourse will transform the ArtPrize HUB’s cavernous soundstage into a sleek, TV studio-style atmosphere, featuring a live audience. It launches with the Juried Awards Shortlist Announcement on September 29, broadcast live by NBC affiliate WOODTV-8, followed by seven more days of exploration, interpretation, debate, public opinion, and expert critique. This unpredictable and inspiring series of hosted talks and lively panel discussions will culminate in a spirited two-part, televised town-hall style finale also broadcast live on WOODTV, when art-world experts will face the audience while weighing in on the Public’s Final 20.   

“The strength of ArtPrize lies in the often unresolvable tension that exists between public and expert opinion,” noted Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director. “Critical Discourse will provide a welcome refuge for rigorous, intentional and transformative debate—even as a million conversations about art continue beyond its walls.”

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29: JURORS' SHORTLIST EVENT 

The Critical Discourse series will kick off with the Jurors' Shortlist Event. Artists submitted 1,536 entries into one of four categories to be judged by expert jury: 2D, 3D, Time-Based, and Installation. A fifth category award will be given to an ArtPrize venue for outstanding curation. During the Juried Awards Shortlist Event on September 29, the category award jurors will each present and discuss a list of five nominees for their respective awards, challenging perceptions and offering their unique perspectives on the landscape of entries drawn from expertise in their given category. The event will be broadcast live on WOODTV-8.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30: CREATIVE APPROACHES TO DETROIT: A CONVERSATION WITH DESIGN 99

Detroit-based art and architecture duo and winner of the ArtPrize Juried Grand Prize in 2012, Design 99 explores the role of art and design within the fabric of their community. Founders Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope also launched Power House Productions, a nonprofit organization focused on neighborhood stabilization through arts and culture. On September 30, Creative Approaches to Detroit: A Conversation with Design 99 will bring Reichert and Cope to the Critical Discourse stage, focusing on the creative strategies that artists are using to deal with urban blight and revitalize communities.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2: ART21 ART IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SEASON 7 WORLD PREVIEW SCREENING

ArtPrize recently announced its partnership with ART21, the preeminent nonprofit global leader in art education and award-winning film producer, to enhance public engagement, education, and participation with contemporary art at the sixth annual event. The 2014 ArtPrize Grand Prize Jury assembled by ART21 will offer an exclusive look at their latest broadcast season at ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 7 World Preview Screening. The October 2 event will also include a conversation between ART21 executive director Susan Sollins and Season 7 featured artists Katharina Grosse and Leonardo Drew.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3: NEW INC: INCUBATING ART AND TECH

New York-based New Museum recently launched tech incubator NEW INC, which, through cutting edge programming, seeks to unify creative communities and empower individuals working in the areas of art, technology, and design. This collision of art and technology is central to the way that ArtPrize itself was conceived and runs to this day, powering the public vote and the artist-venue connection process, and influencing the way that artists make and share their work. On October 3, NEW INC: Incubating Art and Tech, presented by CWD Real Estate, will offer a discussion of exciting new trends at the intersection of art and technology, featuring Julia Kaganskiy, executive director of NEW INC, Heather Cocoran, executive director of art and tech blog Rhizome, and artist Adam Harvey, whose work explores the uneasy relationship between technology and surveillance.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4: ART, DISABILITY, IMAGES, BODIES

Forthcoming Grand Rapids-based disability arts festival DisArt seeks to promote ability equality in Grand Rapids. A new collaboration between local organizations including Kendall College of Art and Design Calvin College, Disability Advocates of Kent County, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, and ArtPrize, DisArt aims to inform visitors about the human experience of disability as it relates to the production of art, and ultimately to affect change through dialogue. Art, Disability, Images, Bodies, a panel discussion in collaboration with DisArt on October 4, will explore the intersection of art and disability, including an analysis of works within ArtPrize, featuring widely published disabilities studies scholars.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 6: WHY THESE FINALISTS? PART 1 (2-D, INSTALLATION)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7: WHY THESE FINALISTS? PART 2 (3-D, TIME-BASED)

The Critical Discourse programming will culminate with the two-part series Why These Finalists? A reinvention of an old favorite, on both October 6 and 7 a panel of three art experts will discuss half of the public and juried finalists in a lively, humorous, and irreverent debate. By further exploring the tension between public and expert approaches to assessing art, this series will seek to answer the entitled question often uttered on each side of the debate. Both nights will be broadcast live on WOODTV-8.

“We are thrilled to partner with some of the country’s preeminent creative leaders and practitioners for the sixth annual event,” said Kevin Buist, ArtPrize exhibitions director. “This year’s Critical Discourse programming will provide a platform to engage with the ArtPrize audience and seek an expanded view of the role of art, so that everyone can find a voice in the conversation.”

A new partnership with the Community Media Center and The Rapidian will facilitate further exploration of the 2014 Critical Discourse programming. Additional editorial coverage, radio discussions, and programming rebroadcast events will allow a wider audience to reflect on the ideas and perspectives presented throughout the week.

ArtPrize 2014 will turn three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids into an open playing field where 1,536 entries at 174 venues will vie for a combination of public vote and juried awards totalling $560,000 in prizes, September 24 to October 12. To learn more, visit artprize.org/entries.

ABOUT ARTPRIZE

ArtPrize is an international art competition, open to any artist and decided by public vote. It invites artists to try out new ideas on a large and diverse population of people. It seeks to broaden the critical dialogue around contemporary art by awarding the world’s largest art prize, at $560,000. Registered artists and venues connect online at artprize.org and agree to present the artwork for public display during the 19-day event. The public votes using mobile devices and the web to distribute $260,000, while an additional $300,000 in juried awards are decided by a group of international art experts. ArtPrize 2014 will include 1,536 entries representing 51 countries and 42 U.S. states and territories. ArtPrize 2013 attracted more than 400,000 active participants. Since its inception, individuals of all backgrounds have cast more than 1.7 million votes for public art.

ArtPrize is made possible in part through the generous support of many organizations. Premier Leadership sponsors include Amway, The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Founders Brewing Company, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Meijer, PNC Bank and The Rapid. Leadership sponsors include Consumers Energy, CWD Real Estate Investment, Deloitte, The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, The Frey Foundation, The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Haworth, The Iserv Company, Steelcase Inc., Trivalent Group | HP, The VanderWeide Family Foundation and Wolverine Worldwide. The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation is the Founding Sponsor of ArtPrize.

Photo: Critical Discourse during ArtPrize 2013. Courtesy of Brian Kelly.

By Jaenell Woods on