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MLive article misses the point of the GQ article on ArtPrize

August 23, 2012

Nearly a week after the GQ story on ArtPrize has been circulating in Grand Rapids, MLive finally decided to join the conversation.

The MLive article, by entertainment writer Jeffrey Karczmarcxyk, frames the narrative around the GQ story on ArtPrize (So you think you can paint) as a glass half-full/half-empty story. Karczmarcxyk presents the argument that the Matthew Powers article in GQ pointed out the very best and the very worst of the annual art event in Grand Rapids.

While the GQ article did do what the MLive writer stated, the GQ article was much more than that. Matthew Power seemed to be asking both critical questions about ArtPrize the event, but equally important was its relationship to the political and economic power of the DeVos family.

The only real reference that the MLive writer made to the politics of the DeVos family was this line, “Power’s observations on the “ultra conservative” DeVos family and its support of “hot-button, conservative issues” is searing.” While I think that Powers made important statements about the DeVos family, in terms of their involvement in issues like anti-gay marriage, I would hardly call what he wrote as “searing.”

However, maybe to Karczmarcxyk, the GQ article was a searing indictment of the DeVos family, which might explain why he did not honestly deal with that aspect of the GQ article.

The MLive story does mention Paul Armenta and SITE: LAB, but fails to acknowledge the critical comments from Armenta or GR artist Michael Pfleghaar that were prominent in the GQ article. In fact, the only source that Karczmarcxyk uses in the MLive article, other than Power, was the PR guy for ArtPrize, Brian Burch. Burch applies his trade and puts his own spin on the GQ article with this innocuous comment, “The piece offers a number of interesting perspectives that add to the conversation and showcases how much complexity can come out of something so simple.”

The MLive story was in no way a surprise, it just demonstrated once again its unwillingness to provide a larger critique of ArtPrize, the DeVos family and their politics, which is what the GQ article was a least willing to do.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2012 7:37 pm

    The other thing the MLive writer left out was the context in which Brian Burch comments. Burch was one of the Holland City Council members who voted against amending Holland’s anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation. The amendment failed. This information about Burch is relevant because, while Burch is the mouth-piece for a wealthy and powerful ultra-conservative family who has funded the anti-gay industry, Burch is also currently working against equality and justice for the LGBT community.

  2. August 23, 2012 9:53 pm

    The DeVos exposé will be nothing new to residents, but it’s gratifying to see their tactics revealed in national media.


  1. Year Seven of the Monied Spectacle: An Indy Media Guide to ArtPrize | Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  2. 10 years of ArtPrize critique and resistance | Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

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