Herron artists and ArtPrize boxes: ‘Intersections’ back with ‘Minimalist Division’

By Diane Brown, IU Communications Specialist:



It’s ArtPrize time, and once again IUPUI’s Herron School of Art and Design is represented among the artists whose works fuel the annual international show that offers the world’s largest purse for an art competition.

ArtPrize Seven, running through Oct. 11, is expected to draw 400,000 to 500,000 people to Grand Rapids, Mich., to view more than 1,500 pieces of art displayed at 160 venues across three square miles of the city.

Last year, Herron professor Anila Quayyum Agha made history, earning a record $300,000 by winning the 2014 ArtPrize Public Vote Grand Prize and earning a tie vote for the Juried Grand Prize.

Agha’s “Intersections” entry — a large, laser-cut wooden cube that hangs from a ceiling and is lit from inside with one lightbulb, casting intricate shadows on walls and the floor — wowed both the jury and the thousands of art lovers who submitted ballots for the $200,000 public prize. It was the first time both the public and the jury agreed on their grand prize choices.

This year, “Intersections” is back at ArtPrize 2015, albeit in a new-and-improved form: an exact replica made of steel.

'Minimalist Division'

‘Minimalist Division’ by Copy Culture. Onsite at ArtPrize Seven. Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/copyculturestudio?_rdr=p

And a new cube, created by Herron 2013 graduates Taryn Cassella and Anna Martinez (the artistic dynamic duo known as “Copy Culture”), is in the mix of paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, location-tied installations and other creations vying for this year’s prizes.

Copy Culture’s installation at Grand Rapids’ Sixth Street Bridge Park is titled “Minimalist Division.”  Viewers wait in a line that weaves through rows of stanchions before stepping inside a mirrored cube.

“The experience inside the cube is a reflection of real life and the recent past,” Cassella and Martinez said in their artist’s statement. “As artists, we (Copy Culture) want to gauge the reaction participants will have to anticlimactic art.”

Copy Culture

Copy Culture. Photo source, http://www.artprize.org/copy-culture.

Cassella and Martinez secured their place in ArtPrize Seven back in June during a five-minute pitch before a team of five judges at ArtPrize Pitch Night Indianapolis, held in conjunction with the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The ArtPrize Pitch Night program, started in 2013, helps an artist from the host area place a project in the Grand Rapids show. Pitch Nights were held in Indianapolis, Durham and Minneapolis this year.

A crowdfunding project on Kickstarter pulled in 35 backers who pledged $1,564 to help Copy Culture bring the “Minimalist Division” project to life.

Copy Culture’s Facebook page follows the creation of the artwork.

“Copy Culture’s submission to ArtPrize is a perfect illustration of the wealth of talent that continues to come out of Herron School of Art and Design. Anna and Taryn have all the skills necessary to apply their creative thinking to a multitude of endeavors, including this highly competitive exhibition,” said Herron dean Valarie Eickmeier.

“Anila’s win last year not only gave the world an inspiring and iconic work, it also gave Herron students a great role model,” the dean said.

Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha

For Agha, life has been a whirlwind since “Intersections” won the prestigious competition a year ago.

Her original box has been out on tour, with bookings at museums in Dallas and Houston. The steel replica now at ArtPrize Seven is one of five scheduled to be produced and authorized by Agha, according to an Mlive.com article.

This year’s steel version of Agha’s cube was installed at the ArtPrize headquarters building in a space constructed to re-create the museum venue the wooden version occupied in 2014.

And the steel version is proving to be as popular as its predecessor.

“We love it,” said one Grand Rapids woman who viewed the work during the show’s preview and opening days. Her husband recalled spending more than 30 minutes observing the piece at last year’s event, according to Mlive.com.

The top 20 ArtPrize Seven entries will be announced Sunday, Oct. 4, and the grand prize winners will be announced Oct. 9.

Good luck, Copy Culture!

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