Friday, October 1, 2010


The world’s largest Art Prize is now going on in Grand Rapids, Michigan until the 10th of October. There are 1,700 pieces of art scattered through out the city. Pieces can be found in parks, in front of buildings, in museums, business and restaurants.  http://www.artprize.org/

First prize is 250,00 dollars. The other prizes awarded equal another 200,200 dollars. What is unusual for an art contest are the judges. Much to the chagrin of the “fine” arts community, in Grand Rapids the viewing public pick the winners not trained art professionals.

On Monday night at a wonderful family dinner at our Daughter’s, who served her luscious stuffed cabbage rolls, our Son-in-law told us of an artist at a downtown Schuler's book store who is ripping up cookbooks to make paper machie figures of well-cushioned women’s torsos titled "The Venus of Willendorf Project." He said he told the artist that his mother-in-law would have a heart attack if she knew that the artist was destroying cookbooks. Be still my heart. He also teased me saying, “You’re going to wake up in the night thinking about those books!”
Sure enough in the middle of the night I woke up thinking about the horror of cookbooks being ripped to shreds. I could see stacks and stacks of old church and community cookbooks, vaults of historical knowledge, being destroyed.
Tuesday we made a run to Grand Rapids. I drive as Tom is not feeling 100%. After our visit to our new home away from home, the hospital, he wanted to go see the Steam Pig which is part of Art Prize. That wasn’t the direction I was headed, but what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. I wove my way into the center of downtown through one-way streets and crowds of people to arrive outside the downtown book store. I was going to beg for leniency for those old books.

After many attempts at parallel parking, (I use to be able to put my 1958 Ford convertible into the smallest parking places, but I guess that is one skill that has gone by the wayside) I found a place to park that I could drive into and I headed into the store.  The sight that met my eyes filled me with elation!!!  The artist, Brenda Oelbaum, was surrounded with stacks and stacks of, what she calls useless, diet books.  She was not ripping apart cookbooks.  She told me that she would never rip up cookbooks. 

Brenda said diet books got her into the shape she is in and so now she takes her revenge by ripping them up and making art.  Go to the link at the bottom of this post if you would like to donate your diet books and diet cookbooks to STARVING ARTIST SEEKS DIET BOOKS.  Brenda is part of http://feministartproject.rutgers.edu/home/

To donate books go to:


  1. Through that whole post, my anxiety level was climbing and climbing and I laughed out loud when I found out it was diet books!!!! I definitely have some books to support her effort! I will have to make my way down there to see her work. Where is the steam pig??

  2. You will love Brenda. She is a neat artist. The Steam Pig is at the B.O.B. You can't miss it as it is huge!!