Pitch Perfect

This day's foolishness... copy Harrison Center artist Kipp Normand had five minutes to present his idea for the 2016 ArtPrize Pitch Night — the 5x5 style competition to select an artist to represent Indianapolis at the popular ArtPrize festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For Pitch Night, five Indianapolis artists competed for a $5000 grant and the opportunity to install their work in a prime location at ArtPrize in September. Normand's promise to "go for Baroque" in his proposed installation convinced the panel of judges and he won the opportunity to go to ArtPrize.

ArtPrize is an annual festival and competition that has transformed Grand Rapids. Every fall artists compete for half a million dollars in prizes. Their installations fill the city, from museums and galleries to restaurants, banks, and city parks. During the 19-day exhibition, the public votes to choose the winner of a $200,000 grand prize and four $12,500 category prizes. Simultaneously, world-renowned jurors select a $200,000 juried grand prize winner, and four $12,500 juried category winners.

A self-described "junk artist," Kipp has  a vision like no other. He intends to create a massive pile of broken furniture entitled The Triumphal Entry. “The context of an installation ought to enrich your understanding of what that piece is — in this particular case, the context is Grand Rapids,” noted Normand during his Pitch Night presentation. Grand Rapids was home to hundreds of furniture manufacturers in the late 19th and early 20th century, earning it the moniker "Furniture Capital of the World." Normand plans to use his familiarity with Michigan manufacturing history as a reference point in constructing his installation. "I learned a lot from my childhood in Detroit — but most importantly, I learned how to make a spectacle out of a pile of trash."

Normand is a collector of things and he finds them everywhere from yard sales to dumpsters, always on the lookout for objects that tell a story. For ArtPrize VIII, he will assemble an elaborate collection of furniture and discarded objects along the length of a patio at 50 Monroe Street in downtown Grand Rapids. “Yes, what I am proposing is a giant pile of trash. But, it will be an exquisitely beautiful pile of trash -- culled from the yard sales and dumpsters of Indianapolis and offered as a gift to the patrons of ArtPrize,” said Normand.  We can't wait to see it.