Grand Rapids (WZZM) - A writer for GQ Magazine says even if some feel he is an ArtPrize critic, he is actually "fascinated" with the event, admires founder Rick DeVos and is curious to see who wins this year.
This month GQ published a long article on ArtPrize written by reporter Matthew Power. In the story, Power quotes critics who call ArtPrize "a naked bid to buy cultural cachet with sideshow kitch in a country backwater."
But he also describes the competition as exceptional, moving and extraordinary.
"It was really moving to see a city taken over like that," he says. "I was kind of amazed."
Power was in Grand Rapids to cover ArtPrize 2011, but his report wasn't published until this month, just before ArtPrize 2012. He says the most extraordinary thing about "The World's Largest Art Competition" is they use votes by the public to choose the winner.
"Having an open sort of carnival of art where anything can be entered and where anything, theoretically, could win is a new kind of idea," he says. "I think it makes a lot of people in the art establishment uncomfortable or skeptical."
This year ArtPrize is taking some of the power away from the people. $200,000 of the $560,000 in prize money will now be awarded by a jury of art experts.
"The willingness to adapt is actually really admirable about the whole contest," says Power. "It will be really fascinating to see how tweaking the chemistry plays out. I'm very curious to see what wins."
A spokesman for ArtPrize says the GQ article offers "a number of interesting perspectives which add to the conversation."
Power says he thinks a big, open debate is healthy for ArtPrize.
"I know the word 'conversation' has been beaten to death around ArtPrize," he chuckles. "But, of course, that is exactly what it is."