DETROIT.- With the inauguration this year of Detroit's Kresge Prize, and its annual awards of half a million dollars, Southeast Michigan's regional arts scene will shift beyond recognition and the Kresge Prize will now lie at the heart of Detroit's future contemporary culture, not only regionally but, in overall awareness, nationally as well.
The relationship between art and business patronage has become a global phenomenon today, having a great impact on both the art world and corporate activity. It also transforms the role of art in contemporary society. With the explosive intervention of the Kresge Foundation, the Kresge Prize will take Detroit art beyond the conventional 'white cube' to display artists' images and art works through various public media sources, both here and abroad. It will naturally use this mass media as promotional tools, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasting.
The Kresge Prize is as much about art, as it is about getting people to talk about contemporary Detroit art. Whether the public like or dislike the artists highlighted by the Kresge Prize is irrelevant. The rationale of the prize giving is to promote comment with regard to art, establishment and people's perception.
So one cannot overstate the importance of the Kresge Prize, and its potentially unappeasable search for great art in metro-Detroit. First, because the Kresge Prize is meant to be a perpetual work in progress, tracking both an evolving Midwest culture and those individual artists in that specific region. And second, because without the bright light of publicity which demands endless renovation and attention to new faces and fresh stories the prize's legacy cannot begin to exist. That potential legacy that spotlights Detroit as a major art town, and targets the range of artistry that's been midwifed here by some of the world's best art schools and patrons.
If Detroit's place in the art arena will now somehow be more secure, the Kresge Prize is not only tracing the steps along the way; it is also playing no small part in getting us there.