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10/09/2009

Winner Chosen in the American Idol of Art Contests

Artprize, Grand Rapids, Open Water No. 24 by Ran Ortner

What is it like to be a starving artist/surfing-enthusiast one day, and $250,000 richer the next? For the newly-crowned winner of ArtPrize, the art contest hailed as the "American Idol" of the art world, that is exactly the scenario. But this competition didn't have Simon, Paula or Randy as judges. Votes were cast by the general public - and some say the unqualified art critics may have gotten it wrong.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN /NYTimes.com/ — Ran Ortner, a painter from Brooklyn, was named the grand-prize winner Thursday night in the ArtPrize, a public competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. Ortner’s work, Open Water No. 24, received the highest number of votes among 10 finalists on display across Grand Rapids, a city of 200,000 in western Michigan. He will receive $250,000. In all, the finalists shared $449,000 in awards.

The 16-day competition, created by the web entrepreneur Rick DeVos, ended Wednesday night. It took place at 159 venues, with more than 1,200 artists participating. More than 334,000 votes were cast in the competition, open to anyone who registered in person at sites around the city. An initial round of voting ended last week, in which the top 10 were selected.

Open Water No. 24, a three-panel depiction of deep blue waves, was the only two-dimensional work to rank in the top 10. Second prize, worth $100,000, went to Tracy Van Duinen of Chicago, for Imagine That, a colorful mosaic installed on the front wall of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. The third prize of $50,000 went to Eric Daigh, of Traverse City, Michigan, for Portraits, a series of three pictures created from pushpins.

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[Read More - Michigan Art Prize Goes to Brooklyn Painter | NYTimes.com]

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