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Critic reviews ArtPrize Top 25 | News

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Critic reviews ArtPrize Top 25

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Just because an art piece is in the Top 25 doesn't mean it's good, at least according to the art critics.

The Top 25 list, or as ArtPrize calls it, the "Live 25" are the pieces that garnered more of the 200,000 votes than any others. So how does one judge art?

Evaluating art is not always easy, for example, how do you compare a small painting to a giant LED light sculpture? According to Joel Zwart, the director of exhibitions at Calvin College, it isn't easy.

"You can't become an art critic overnight and I am not saying everyone should," explains Zwart. "You need to look at a lot of different art and different artists to see what they have done."

In other words, in order to understand art, you need to study art and most people don't have the time. This is why Zwart says a lot of the Top 25 has entertainment value, but not a lot of art value.

Take the "Tired Panda" at the B.O.B., a sculpture of two pandas made from bike tires. "Well it has great curb appeal. Is it a good quality piece of art? No," says Zwart. "I don't think it tells enough story that it could be called great art."

Zwart says "Tired Panda" lacks depth-- you look at it, but you don't go further than that. "A good piece of art tells a story," explains Zwart.

A lot of the pieces in the Top 25 are from the same locations as previous Top 25 winners; many are in the B.O.B. parking lot, the GRAM, or DeVos Place. The other pattern again this year seems to be large scale artworks, which grab the most attention.

Zwart offers some suggestions to help think more like an art critic. "For the general public it is good to ask, 'Are they using color well or composition? Are they telling a good story? Are they speaking in the history of art? Are they referencing other artists or movements?'" He also suggests that seeing art as a group and discussing it can go a long way to helping evaluate art better.


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