My Impressions on Art Prize 2011 from Richard Benoit

Some quick thoughts on Art Prize 2011: This year’s event attracted about 300,000 people. I was happy to exhibit this year but I feel it may be my first and last. It’s like a huge rummage sale of art. Some is excellent but you have to look very hard to find those things. Trying to traipse all over Grand Rapids (it’s something like a 4 or 5 square mile area of different locations that you have to visit) is just exhausting. Most of the art was uninspiring.

Two truisms for the common art observer are…”If I can do it it’s not art” and” If I can’t name what it is it’s not art”. Many artists seemed to have this in mind when they submitted work. There were just way too many junk sculptures that looked like animals to suite me. Jeff Koons would be king here in Grand Rapids. I’ve seen enough kitsch art to last 2 lifetimes after this.

On the flip side I saw a family with a little girl about 8 years old. She had a note pad and she’d try and reproduce each work that she thought was cool. The whole family was there checking the art out. People that would have normally been home watching some football game were instead checking out art and discussioning why they liked one piece better than another.

The winning piece (a scene of Christ’s crucifixion) is almost an embarrassment. It’s technically well done but conceptually it’s trite and overdone. You could pick the same image up at any Christian gift shop. It reminds me of the image on some rug bought out of the back of a van. 

I experienced the show once and I think that’ll do 

To see some of my work including the piece that I showed at Art Prize visit my web-site at