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More Art Upstairs

A revolution is taking place in the art world and it isn’t happening in Paris, Berlin or Hong Kong—but in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ArtPrize is the most highly attended art show in the world, and it awards cash prizes larger than all other competitions combined. International critics and general crowds pack bars, galleries and abandoned buildings all over town, taking in over 1,500 works from cerebral conceptualists and weekend hobbyists. An acclaimed jury awards a winner $200,000 and the ballot-carrying public does the same. Nimble cameras follow four artists, each vying not only for critical recognition but for every public vote they can drum up. Part classy game show, part engaging art exploration, More Art Upstairs captures the debates ArtPrize has intentionally (or inadvertently?) triggered: Can culture be democratized? Do artists need or want to connect with audiences? And is the canonical art establishment on its way out? (Myrocia Watamaniuk)