Published: Sept. 19, 2013

MSU prof's ArtPrize entry soars

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129, Katie Wolf College of Communication Arts and Sciences office: (517) 353-5981

For the second year in a row, Michigan State University’s Henry Brimmer has an ArtPrize entry that soars high above the others.

Brimmer’s entry in the international art competition that is now underway in Grand Rapids features a 40-foot ladder suspended in midair above Ionia Avenue in the downtown area. It is titled “I Want to be Different.”

The ladder hangs from a cable connected from the rooftop of the First Community Bank building and the rooftop of the Hinman Building located across the street.

“As an artist and educator, I like to do things that challenge me, and leading by example, invite my students to do the same,” said Brimmer, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations. “The idea here was to create a work of art that triggered the viewers’ own story.

“Although I could come up with a dozen stories of my own, that is not my approach. I want to leave it up to the viewer to make up their own story – that's the way I like to look at art.”

This is the third year in a row Brimmer is participating in ArtPrize. Last year, his entry titled “Gravity Matters Little” featured a figure of a businessman hanging by one hand from a cable connecting the First Community Bank and Hinman buildings. The piece made it into the Top 25 out of 1,517 entries.

In 2011, Brimmer’s “Touch wood” entry was a low-tech interactive project that appeared at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

The ArtPrize competition takes place Sept. 18 to Oct. 6. It’s open to any artist and decided by public vote. It invites artists to try out new ideas on a large and diverse population of people and seeks to broaden the critical dialogue around contemporary art.

This year’s ArtPrize includes 1,524 entries representing 47 countries and 45 U.S. states and territories, and is expected to attract more than 400,000 active participants. Since its inception, individuals of all backgrounds have cast more than 1.7 million votes for public art.

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