Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

ArtPrize

A single artist captivated both the public and art experts at this year’s ArtPrize competition. 

For the first time, a single artist has won both the juried and public grand prizes at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

Born in Pakistan, Anila Quayyum Agha teaches art at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University, in Indianapolis.   Her work “intersections” consists of a six-foot cube, illuminated from within, projecting complex designs of light and shadow around a room. The effect envelops the room and all the people in it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

We made it to ArtPrize. Did you?

Did you see anything that made you rethink the meaning of "art?"

Which artwork made you think, "Hmph. I could do that. Maybe I'll enter next year"?

In case you missed it, here's some of our coverage from the annual public art event held in Grand Rapids. 

Steve Carmody's been covering ArtPrize from beginning to end.

You may have seen a flash mob on YouTube, or even experienced the phenomenon in real life: A group of people converge on a public space, seemingly out of the blue, for a recreation of, say Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Or Verdi’s Requiem – it could be anything. Now in Detroit, a group of Catholics has created a variation on that. The Mass Mob is a crowd sourced effort to revive urban churches … which have a lot of empty pews these days.

Abir Ali

When you invite the public to carve messages into a giant table you've spent four months crafting by hand, the result is that a LOT of people take you up on it, and the end product looks something like this:

Professional and personal partners Abir Ali and Andre Sandifer are furniture makers based in Detroit. They built a 30-foot table, made from walnut trees from the Midwest. They took inspiration from the biblical story of the Last Supper, and they were especially moved by the story's themes of trust and forgiveness.

Trish P. / Flickr

All through the Detroit bankruptcy trial, the spotlight has been fixed on the Detroit Institute of Arts.

It has become one of the most contentious and confusing issues in the bankruptcy, as the appraisals of the DIA’s treasures have been wildly different. The city’s appraisal by Christie’s came in at just over $800 million, while an appraisal done by noted expert Victor Wiener pegs the value at more than $8 billion.

Beverly Jacoby is a noted art valuation expert who recently had an op-ed piece in the Detroit Free Press. She's the founder and president of BSJ Fine Art in New York.

Jacoby says there are several reasons for the wildly different values. Jacoby says an appraisal can vary depending on the party that commissions it. “A key issue with any appraisal is the appraiser is hired by a party and that party is the intended user," she says.  

Gary Syrba

It's going to be crazy in Grand Rapids this Friday night.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of people will flood downtown for the big announcement: This year’s ArtPrize winners.  

As Michigan Radio's Kate Wells reports, ArtPrize has been going on long enough now that it's having some more subtle effects, from how Grand Rapids museums think about their audiences to even inspiring an ArtPrize marriage proposal. 

Among the thousands of visitors to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize, many are children. This will be the first West Michigan generation of kids to grow up being exposed to thousands of pieces of art.

=Paul / Flickr

This week we're exploring stories from writers in the Upper Peninsula. Today we have a poem from Marquette resident Russell Thornburn, the first Upper Peninsula poet laureate.

This poem is from a series called "Burden of Place," about surviving the cold UP winters.

This poem is called, "When One Tugs at a Single Thing in Nature, He Finds It Attached to the Rest of the World." It's about a man who is stuck in the cold after his car breaks down.  

Time-Based: "Peralux" by NewD Media
ArtPrize

After 11 days of public voting, 20 finalists out of 1,536 entries have been selected for the ArtPrize grand prize of $200,000.

So far, over 37,000 people have cast votes in four categories: two dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based and installation artwork.

According to Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director, this public involvement is important to giving ArtPrize its societal relevance. 

ArtPrize

The annual ArtPrize competition is moving into its final phase in Grand Rapids. 

Organizers have announced the top 20 finalists in the public voting for the $200,000 grand prize. 

Dominic Pangborn of Grosse Pointe is one of the finalists. He says he’s enjoyed meeting with the people visiting ArtPrize this year.

If you’re anxious to hear about this year’s usage ballot of the American Heritage Dictionary, you’re in luck.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan is on the panel that gives thumbs-up – or down – to the way we use certain words.

It happens that “anxious” versus “eager” is on the ballot this year.

Curzan says “anxious” is often used to say we’re feeling worried.

“But when I’m anxious to do something, it could mean that I’m actually looking forward to it,” Curzan says.

So “anxious” is an acceptable substitute for “eager.”

Heidelberg Project

This morning's fire marks the 11th house in the Heidelberg Project to be damaged by suspected arson. The project is an outdoor art installation on Detroit's east side.

The house, called the Birthday Cake House, was a vacant home on Heidelberg Street that Tyree Guyton, Heidelberg's creator, had boarded up and beautified.

Katie Hearn is the marketing and communications director from the Heidelberg Project.

Zinn art found in Berkley, MI
David Zinn / Facebook

For over a decade, David Zinn has been creating impromptu, temporary street art across the Ann Arbor area. With nothing more than some chalk and charcoal, Zinn is able to transform ordinary objects - sidewalk cracks, street curbs, light fixtures - into whimsical, visually deceptive pieces of art.

Recently, Zinn completed a permanent mural on S. Fifth Ave., near Liberty St, which features Gene Kelly from his iconic scene in "Singin' in the Rain."

With a few tricky English words borrowed from the French, it doesn’t always help us to think about how the French would say it.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says a colleague asked her about the pronunciation of the word “forte.” Is it one syllable, read as “fort,”or two syllables, pronounced “for-tay?”

Curzan says the answer seems to be both.

Search for images of Detroit and you're likely to find pictures of abandoned buildings and crumbling walls filled with graffiti – urban blight captured by the camera's lens.

In recent years, however, communities have embraced some graffiti artists.

The increase in the amount of sanctioned graffiti art is the focus of our most recent "Michigan Radio Picture Project." The Picture Project is a forum for photographers who capture Michigan's people, places, events, and issues.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The streets of Grand Rapids are alive today as ArtPrize gets underway.

More than 1,500 works of art are in competition for more than a half-million dollars in prize money.

Christian Gaines is ArtPrize’s executive director. He says they’ve revamped the competition to let the public and art experts pick the top 20 pieces.

Erik Paul Howard

You want to build a stronger community. You have limited money. However, there's untapped potential in the people around you. How do you leverage that potential and take advantage of the unique qualities of your community to create positive change?

The Alley Project, or TAP, in Southwest Detroit found a way to do just that. I spoke with Erik Howard, one of the founders of TAP. Here's our conversation:

You can see images from The Alley Project by visiting their Facebook page.

Erik will be presenting at The Detroit Design Festival which kicks off today. You can find more information on the festival at detroitdesignfestival.com.

mconnors / morgueFile

Is there anyone who hasn't scanned the radio dial on a long road trip and endured noisy static,  angry talk shows, and music that disappoints  in a desperate search for a classic rock station?

But who knew the classic rock concept was born in Michigan almost 30 years ago?

Fred Jacobs, an Oakland County-based radio consultant, was part of that birth in 1985. He said WMMQ in Charlotte, Michigan, was the first classic rock station, and the format quickly spread across the country.

Jacobs said he was inspired by complaints from listeners who couldn't find the music they had grown up with and loved. 

Jacobs said classic rock is not the same as "golden oldies." It is about the golden age of rock – music people will still be listening to in 100 years. 

Jacobs said classic rock started with music from the 60s and 70s and musicians like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Eric Clapton. 

But he said it's all about the music of your youth that you never get tired of hearing.  And as generations move on, classic rock has added 80s and even more recent music to its roster.

Vulfpeck

We’ve heard it before. The music industry is changing.

But the band Vulfpeck is challenging the music industry with silence.

Vulfpeck is a funk band that got its start at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

They are in the middle of a cross-country tour.

They aren’t charging admission, they aren’t paying out of pocket.

Their tour is completely funded from an album they put up on the online music steaming service Spotify – an album that was completely silent.

Michigan Capitol Confidential

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore no longer will serve on the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council after Republican Gov. Rick Snyder named a suburban-Detroit businessman to replace him.

Moore joined the council as an appointee of then-Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Snyder announced Thursday that he was renominating a second film council member whose term was expiring along with Moore's.

    

Even competent spellers can trip over the word flier/flyer.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says most dictionaries give both options, so the good news is you’re always right.

“What I was struck by, in many of them, was that if you look up flyer with a “y,” it will say it’s a variety of flier, and then when you look up the spelling with an “i,” you get the definitions,” says Curzan.

“I looked on Google Books, and it turns out the spelling with a “y” is much more common over the last 40 years – yet it is still seen as a variant.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - Utility crews mistakenly dug up 100-year-old bricks near Bay City Hall.

The Bay City Times reports Saturday the work was being done on the last street in the city where historic bricks are exposed.

Streets manager Kurt Hausbeck says a Consumers Energy subcontractor was installing a high-pressure gas line when workers decided they needed to dig up more road and sidewalk than originally anticipated, and that included removing some of the bricks.

ArtPrize

Art Prize will once again take over the streets of Grand Rapids starting on Wednesday.

The annual art extravaganza known as Art Prize is in its sixth year.

Nearly two thousand artists have created more than 1500 works of art for the competition. There’s more than a half million dollars in prize money on the line during the 19 day art festival.

By the time Art Prize comes to a close in mid-October about 400,000 people are expected to visit the 174 art venues around town.

Music artists Calvin Harris (left), Lana del Rey (right).
Carlos Delgado - wikimedia commons / Beatriz Alvani - Flickr

How do we know this?

Well, we don’t, but Spotify does.

The Swedish streaming music service released data on “How Students Listen” naming  the “Top 40 Musical Universities in America."

The report is an obvious way to attract attention to itself (and get more subscribers), but the data released is interesting in that it shows what these online services know about certain populations.

Both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are named in their “Top 40” List.

U-M prof receives MacArthur "genius award"

Sep 17, 2014
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today the selection of a University of Michigan professor as one of this year's 21 recipients of its prestigious "genius grants."

The foundation recognized Khaled Mattawa for his creative translations of the work of highly respected Arab poets – as well as for his own poetry. 

He is the author of four books of poetry, has translated nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry and co-edited two anthologies of Arab-Amercian literature. 

Main stage of Hart Plaza, Detroit
User: The #technoMeccaMixtape / screengrab detroitsoundproject.com

The power of music to build bridges.

In this case, electronic and techno music is building bridges between Detroit and South Africa.

That's the focus of a documentary film called Electric Roots: The Detroit Sound Project. The short film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Filmmaker Kristian Hill is based in Los Angeles, but he is from Detroit. Hill says in exploring the underground electronic and techno music scenes in Detroit and places like Tokyo, Russia, and South Africa, he got to meet people from all over the world.

Hill says he found music lovers who have a real interest in Detroit music -- beyond just Motown.

“We’ve met people who tell us that you know, Muslims go to Mecca, but techno lovers go to Detroit,” says Hill.

* Listen to our conversation with Kristian Hill above.

Watch a trailer of the documentary:

There will be a screening of the film on September 27, 2014 at Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit. You can get more information on the screening and the progress of Hill's film on his website.

    

If some one gives you fulsome praise, is that good or bad?

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says that question came up during a family game of "Cranium" recently. 

These were the choices:

  1. Excessive or fake praise
  2. Disgusting or offensive
  3. Abundant or copious

That game was stacked, because Curzan happens to be on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary, which tackled "fulsome" in 2012.

It turns out there's a lot of confusion about what "fulsome" means.

Michigan State University College of Arts and Sciences

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Figures that appear to be holding guns and binoculars stand sentry on a downtown Grand Rapids rooftop.

They are a statement of art, not a call to arms.

The Grand Rapids Press reports  Saturday that crews have been installing "...there's something happening here..." on the roof and terrace of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts. The work is Henry Brimmer's fourth entry in Michigan's annual ArtPrize competition, which opens Sept. 24.

The flag flying at Fort McHenry today. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" on September 14, 1814. He was inspired by a battle he witnessed there.
user Bohemian Baltimore / Wikimedia Commons

A tune that reverberates through ballparks, auditoriums and community gatherings is getting an amped-up workout during its 200th anniversary.

One of the biggest and flashiest salutes to "The Star-Spangled Banner" comes Saturday at the University of Michigan. The Ann Arbor school's marching band, a 500-voice choir and dance team combine during a football halftime show.

The university also plans a sing-along Friday, the same day it opens an exhibit on the national anthem's cultural history.

More from AP:

Major festivities also are happening in Baltimore, including a flag-raising ceremony Sunday at Fort McHenry National Monument. That's where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics on Sept. 14, 1814, during a pivotal War of 1812 battle.

Many events nationwide are encouraged by the Star Spangled Music Foundation. It's founded by Michigan musicology professor Mark Clague.

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 2000.
Joshua Schwimmer / Flickr

The state of Michigan owns public parks, roads, buildings, and even some historic artifacts. Among those artifacts are the original architectural drawings of the World Trade Center.

This is a story of how the state of Michigan – its taxpayers – came to own the works.

Thousands of people visit the 9-11 Memorial in New York every day.

Children play by the fountain that surrounds the footprint of what once were the world’s tallest buildings. Some people take the time to read at least some of the names of the people who died here on 9-11.

Iggy and The Stooges performing in a concert in London, England
User: Aurelien Guichard / Flickr

It's no secret that Michigan has turned out some powerful figures in the world of pop music. Musicians and artists whose influence rocketed out of Michigan and spread around the world.

A great example of this is in the United Kingdom. Many artists there were influenced by the R&B and Motown music: The Beatles, the Stones, the Who, and so many more.

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