Can the Public be Trusted to Choose Public Art?

This is a fascinating artist/curator panel from RSA in the UK that I first heard over this past summer. I listened to this panel again recently and it is refreshing to hear professionals and a thoughtful audience argue the nature of visual art in the public realm, both for and against with such informed gusto:

The Art Fund’s Big Art debate will ask should the public choose public art? What would happen if they did? And can we even afford public art in a recession?

Chair: Jon Snow.

Panelists:Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian, Munira Mirza, Cultural Adviser to the Mayor of London, Grayson Perry, Turner Prize winning artist, Andrew Shoben, greyworld.

If there is a thread through the dialogue its that artists are professionals and in no other realm are professionals questioned or seen as suspect in their abilities to the same degree as the visual Arts. Citizen surgery anyone?

To listen, click here for player:

The 10% solution: a way to see the best of ArtPrize

Q: Can one see 1262 artworks in 7 days and give the work its due?

A: One can try, but probably no.

As some of you may know, ArtPrize is a new visual arts competition being held in Grand Rapids, MI  from September 23 to October 9, 2009.  It’s been the talk of the town here in River City since late April of this year. Many posts, comments, chats and an aha moment later, we are now on the cusp of something. With venue and artist matching complete, everyone is building, painting, installing, cleaning up after themselves, twittering and teasing all sorts of minutia; drip, drip, drip — you get the picture.

So, what does the discerning art viewer do to make their way through it all? I started by reviewing each entry online.  With a healthy application of Sturgeon’s Law (both of them) I winnowed a list of selections down and I plan to give what work remains the time it deserves.

Read on…