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And The Winner Of ArtPrize 2011 Is…(or might be)

melter, flickr

It’s only the first full day of ArtPrize and predicting a winner now is a bit of a stretch, but I’m not going to let that stop me.

A few trends have developed after just two years of ArtPrize.  If we apply these trends to this year’s competition, we can make an educated guess as to who might have success.

  1. Bigger is better.  No, bigger art isn’t better art.  Bigger art will get seen by more people than smaller art.  That gives bigger art a better chance of making the top ten.  Unless ArtPrize extends the time we have to select the top ten, this may never change.
  2. Venue matters.  The changes to the top 25 by ArtPrize will help smaller venues gain attention, but having a prime spot it still a big advantage.  Artists who are in or near ArtPrize’s Center City neighborhood and are in a major venue are off to a good start.
  3. Name recognition.  Do ArtPrize voters know who an artist is?  Does that artist already have a fanbase from a prior ArtPrize competition or otherwise?  If so, that familiarity can translate into votes.

The winners over the last two years have had very large entries.  Ran Ortner’s “Open Water, no. 24″ was 6 x 19 feet.  Chris LaPorte’s “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921″ was 28 feet wide.

Both winners also both had great venues.  Ortner was at the Old Federal Building which served as ArtPrize headquarters in 2009.  LaPorte was at Grand Rapids Art Museum in 2010.  Once you are in the top ten, venue doesn’t matter quite as much, but it helps get you there.

Young Kim’s “Salt & Earth (2009)” was a fan favorite in 2009.  It won the Curatorial Award, but did not make the top ten.  Young Kim returned in 2010, with an established fanbase and a better venue, and made the top ten finishing in eighth place overall.

There are a few artists who meet all of these requirements this year.  David Huang comes to mind.

Huang entered “Radiant Efflorescence” in 2010.  He finished outside of the top ten, but in the top 25.  This year, voters know who he is.  He also moved to the Grand Rapids Art Museum which is one of the top venues.  Huang’s “Numinous Community” is on display at GRAM now.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the top ten, but it’s not my prediction to win.

Mia Tavonatti showed “Svelata” at Devos Place Convention Center in 2010.  She finished in second place and won $100,000.  “Svelata” was 13 x 7 feet.

Tavonatti’s entry this year is “Crucifixion”.  “Crucifixion” is 9 x 13 feet, slightly larger than last year’s entry.  She’s still at Devos Place Convention Center, which is a good location.  The biggest difference is this year she’s going into ArtPrize with a large fanbase.  That will help, as will the subject matter of her entry.  “Crucifixion” was created for Saint Kilian’s Catholic Church in Orange County, California.

I haven’t seen Tavonatti’s entry yet so I don’t know if I will even like it at this point.  I didn’t vote for her last year.  But keeping trends of the past couple of years in mind, Mia Tavonatti’s “Crucifixion” is my early prediction to win ArtPrize 2011.

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