Criticizing the critics: An artist rebuttal

5:23 PM, Sep 25, 2013   |    comments
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  • Tired Pandas, a top 25 of art prize.
  • Nick Jakubiak, artist and creator of Tired Pandas

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - ArtPrize is an event where the public gets to vote for their favorite art pieces, but that doesn't mean art critics won't voice their opinion.

Tuesday after the Top 25 was announced, WZZM 13 talked to one critic who said that many of the top pieces had, "entertainment value, but not art value."

RELATEDCritic reviews ArtPrize Top 25

Nick Jakubiak, the artist behind "Tired Pandas," a current Top 25 art piece, reached out to WZZM 13 to offer his rebuttal. "I watched this happen year after year," explains Jakubiak. "You have jurors or critics coming through; they try to make it so high brow."

Jakubiak says artists make art for themselves and the public. "The mass of people that the artist wants to appreciate their work is the public, not a critic," says Jakubiak.

Many of the passersby that stopped to look at "Tired Pandas" agreed. You can hear things like, "It's cool." "Is that made of tires? Wow."

Like many of the Top 25, "Tired Panda" is big and the art critic suggested it lacked a story. "What's wrong with that?" questioned Jakubiak. "Have you ever seen Koon's work or Andy Warhol?"

Jeff Koons is a world renowned artist who makes large steel structures and some of his work has sold for more than $30 million. He has a series of large colorful steel balloon animals. "You walk around New York City and there are sculptures and stuff that you really don't need to think too hard to enjoy." But even some critics call Koons' work kitsch.

Jakubiak has his own reason why critics think the way they do. "Their self-esteem is such that they need to make themselves above the public," explains Jakubiak. He says you don't need someone to tell you if you like something or not. "If you like it, you like; if you don't, you don't."

Jakubiak described his best moment in the show so far: "I got to walk a little girl through this project who happened to be blind," explains Jakubiak. "The emotions and the happiness that she felt beat any kind of good comment I could have gotten from a critic."

For now Nick Jakubiak can be found sitting next to his art prize piece at the B.O.B. parking hoping the public likes what they see.

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