Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) The Fed Galleries @ KCAD are giving visitors the chance to explore ArtPrize Eight three weeks before the massive open-ended art event returns to Grand Rapids on Sept. 21.
Beginning August 30, the RE· exhibition unites a group of 11 acclaimed local, national, and international artists who consider the timely issues of environmental and social responsibility within their work. Many, like New York City-based artist Lina Puerta, have reclaimed discarded materials to create pieces that confront the ways in which humanity produces and consumes. Puerta’s piece “Traces” transforms found materials into a layered depiction of the collision between the human-made and natural worlds.
Others, such as Colombian artist Juan Obando, grapple conceptually with themes of connection, rebirth, preservation, cultural equity, or social justice. Obando’s video piece “Museum Mixtape (Dirty South Edition)” features up-and-coming rappers giving improvised performances, disguised as guided tours, that critique museums and other art institutions in the southeast United States and reflect on the current disconnect between cultural institutions and contemporary audiences.
“We spent a lot of time looking for artists who promote positive social change, display action and accountability, and create immersive viewing experiences, because we wanted this exhibition to really engage people on multiple levels,” said KCAD Curator of Exhibitions Michele Bosak. “We want audiences to be thinking about the ideas they encounter here long after ArtPrize Eight is over.”
Two of the artists featured in RE· received $2,000 Artist Seed Grants from ArtPrize, given to support artists with particularly ambitious and engaging entries. Collaborative duo Jeff Schumki and Wendy DesChene received a $2,000 grant for “PlantBot,” a multi-faceted critique of the world of genetically engineered plants and food products. Artist Matthew Steinke also received a $2,000 grant for “The Magnetosphere,” an unusual piece that utilizes electromagnetism and robotics to create music.
The Fed Galleries @ KCAD’s ArtPrize Eight lineup:
Daniel Bare Cumulus
Dana Freeman Swing
Juan Obando Museum Mixtape (Dirty South Edition)
Michael Peoples Binomial Nomenclature
Lina Puerta Traces
Heather Joy Puskarich #cleanseinstall
Mark Rumsey Yardage
Matthew Steinke The Magnetosphere
Necole Zayatz Artifacts From the Future
Jeff Schumki and Wendy DesChene PlantBot
The thematic framework for RE· was inspired in part by KCAD’s partnership with Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids for ArtPrize Eight. Goodwill has provided the artists access to materials free of charge. Instead of potentially entering the waste stream, these materials will now take on a new life as components of original works of art. All of the works on display will be lit by new energy-efficient LED lighting that was recently installed in The Fed Galleries @ KCAD.
Beyond the exhibition, the partnership aims to spark conversations about the opportunities for more sustainable living that exist all around us through programming that will supplement the exhibition. ArtPrize viewers can shop a special pop-up marketplace on campus featuring one-off custom pieces created by KCAD student groups using items donated to Goodwill stores, as well as other repurposed Goodwill items and a special ArtPrize-branded t-shirt commemorating the KCAD/Goodwill partnership. The marketplace will feature exclusive merchandise that will only be available during the first week of ArtPrize.
RE· opens August 30, 2016 and will run through October 15, 2016. For more information on the exhibition and gallery operating hours, visit kcad.edu/artprize.