As many of you know, last year my family launched our first annual art prize. On December 1, 2008 we announced the 10 winners. Last night we announced the $25,000 Grand Prize Winner - the Dufala Brothers.
(Top country count: US - 2546 artists; Israel - 199; UK - 139; Argentina - 86; Canada - 62; Germany 45)
Number of unique visitors to the website from May to December: 14,182 (that averages out to almost 70 unique visitors per day)
Art breakdown (as categorized by artists):
2,603 mixed media
I am humbled by the response to our first year at this. The database grew through the public launch at NEXT in Chicago last year and then through word of mouth. We contacted schools and public arts programs and let our gallery and artist contacts know what we were up to. I am thankful for the support of the art community and because of them this prize will live on. I truly feel that now more than ever is an important time to be supporting contemporary artists.
There are a number of artists (23 to be exact) who didn't make the 10 but who I am stealthily following since discovering them through this year's prize. I am encouraging last year's artists to resubmit their work this year for consideration. (It will be extremely easy to resubmit on the website when the prize opens this year.) It was nearly impossible to choose 10 winners last year. Some of the artists I am still following may end up next year's winners.
We will be launching the 2009 West Prize at NEXT this year. I have been spending the last few months getting to know as much as I can about some of the art communities in the countries with the most submissions last year so that this year I will be better informed about art outside of my comfort zone.
I was able to meet all of this year's winners (except Georg Parthen) last night in Philadelphia at the Grand Prize event. Having met them all face to face now I am even more excited about their work and our relationship moving forward. They are all Grand Prize winners in my book.
Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (uber-detail)
Check out the Prado Museum's masterpieces in ultra high resolution. Now available on Google Earth, you can zoom into a number of paintings from the Prado's collection to see incredible details - cracks and blemishes you might not be able to notice even if you were standing in front of the painting. One new painting added each day.
Google Earth also has incredible detail of ocean floors. Who knew what was down there? Now we all do...
I recently returned from TED. (Those in the know, know. Those that don't, should.) TED always includes artists in their presenter line up. This year included Olafur Eliasson. I'll state right up front that I am a fan of Eliasson's work. I wasn't so sure I'd be a fan of his presentation, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did enjoy listening to him and learning from him.
One of the things I like best about Eliasson's work (as well as Turrell's and Christo's) is that "even a child" can get a lot out of it. I like experiential work that can't be brought home and is meant to be a shared experience. I am lucky to live in New York and was able to see Eliasson's Waterfalls (pictured) through the eyes of my three year old son. Listening to Eliasson speak about his work I realized that my three year old "got it". He may not have been able to tell anyone what he "got", but he was experiencing exactly what Eliasson hoped people "got" from his work.
Eliasson considers his studio a laboratory. He is part artist part scientist. (This is a win-win at TED as science is a main topic of discussion.) He talked about experience as responsibility - when you are having an experience you are taking part in the world. When you are taking part you are taking responsibility. This responsibility can be individual, as in a museum setting - one on one with a work of art, or collectively as a group, as in a public installation. He hoped his Waterfall installations in New York gave the city a sense of dimension...making the city accessible and tangible, not so big and hairy. My three year old definitely got that aspect of them. His relationship with the Brooklyn Bridge changed dynamically when the waterfall was installed. Bridges, and that bridge in particular, took form in his little brain simply because someone had added a waterfall to the structure. What was not noticed before became a beacon of curiosity and learning.
TED will have Eliasson's talk up on the website in the next few weeks. I will post a link when it is live. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite talks from this year and past years: