The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) announced the 16 artists participating in ArtPrize Nine at GRAM today. The exhibition will showcase a broad range of contemporary art from local, regional, national, and international artists—competing in every ArtPrize category—2D, 3D, Time-based, and Installation. The presentation is on view at GRAM from September 13 - October 8, 2017.
"Honoring the Grand Rapids Museum’s commitment to present a diverse selection of artists year-round, the artists represented during ArtPrize Nine come from a variety of backgrounds, working in mediums ranging from painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, drawing, and performance,” commented GRAM’s Chief Curator Ron Platt. “Additionally, the Museum is proud to feature the work of four Michigan artists during ArtPrize Nine at GRAM—three of whom are based here in Grand Rapids."
Several themes can be found within the artwork on view—Durham, North Carolina artist Chris Vitiello uses poetry and performance to explore the limits of communication, Baltimore-based Amy Helminiak explores these obstacles through emoji-inspired symbols. Other artists, like Grand Rapids-based artist Hwa-Jeen Na, explore approaches to representing personal identity.
Visitors will find work that comments on humankind’s relationship to our ever-changing environment and the ability of art to convey meaning.
New this year is the Museum’s participation in Pitch Night, an ArtPrize program through which participants in select cities compete for funding and the opportunity to exhibit their art at a high-profile venue. Chris Vitiello, winner of Pitch Night Durham, will transform one of GRAM’s galleries into a surreal, interactive environment with his time-based performance The Language is Asleep. Vitiello will be on-site for the duration of ArtPrize, writing and handing out one-line poems and occasionally transforming into the Poetry Fox, a giant fox who turns out custom, on-demand poems on his vintage typewriter.
"Vitiello’s work challenges viewers to think about the limits of language," added GRAM's Curatorial Assistant Jen Wcisel. "Has language been so misused and abused that it is losing its ability to convey meaning? It’s a somber premise, which Vitiello presents in an engaging and interactive way. The Grand Rapids Art Museum has never included a live performance in an ArtPrize exhibition, and I’m looking forward to the energy and excitement he will bring to the galleries."
GRAM is proud to host 3 of the 25 artists who have been awarded Artist Seed Grants by ArtPrize to help fund their projects during the annual competition. Leroi DeRubertis of Durham, North Carolina, Emily Mayo of Grand Rapids, and Jessica Wildman of Highland Park, Michigan will each receive a $2,000 grant presented by the Frey Foundation.
The Grand Rapids Art Museum is one of the premiere ArtPrize venues in downtown Grand Rapids. Centrally located in the heart of the city, GRAM is known for hosting some of the strongest work in this international art competition; Public Vote Grand Prize winners in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and the Juried Grand Prize winner in 2014. GRAM was also shortlisted for the honor of Best Venue in 2013 and 2014.
Support for this exhibition is generously provided by: Wege Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Applause Catering + Events, James and Mary Nelson, Bank of America, Dirk Hoffius, Greg and Meg Willit, Boxed Water is Better, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Gill, Kurt and Madelon Hassberger, Merrill Lynch, Rothbury Farms, and Old National Bank. Additional in-kind support is provided by Steelcase Inc. and Schuil Coffee Co.