Attorney has eye on the ArtPrize


Steve Rich's focus is laser-like at international art competition

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

If you're looking for something to do during a break at the State Bar of Michigan's annual meeting going on through Friday in Grand Rapids, walk out of the DeVos Center and head for the Marriott.

Now look up.

Way up.

Twenty-four stories up.

Meet Stratus 10, an interactive kinetic laser sculpture laser art exhibit by Ann Arbor laser artist Mike Gould.

Gould is one of about 1,500 artists from around the world displaying paintings, sculptures, videos and other art while competing at the annual ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

Stratus 10 is an exhibit of six lasers that illuminate the atrium of the hotel. The display is under the control of a Kinect system, which lets visitors control the brightness and speed of the patterns with their movements.

Attorney Steve Rich of Ann Arbor is the legal counsel of Team Stratus 10. Beyond that, he sums up his role as "head schlepper, PR and marketing functionary, co-visionary, roadie, tech assistant and consigliere."

"But it's not really about me," he said. "It's about art meeting technology in Grand Rapids and a lawyer who gets to be on the bus ... What excites me is the expansion of our playing with lasers into a giant beautiful venue, i.e., the JW Marriott atrium, in the revolutionary context of the ArtPrize."

Originally intended as a game controller, Kinect has been adapted by many artists as a means to control various works of art, Rich said, noting that the projector is equipped with six "laser cannons," each housing a very powerful laser in one of three colors: red, green, and blue.

Artists are showing their work in 162 venues within three-square miles of downtown Grand Rapids as they compete for a combination of public votes and juried prizes and secure part of the world's largest art prize totaling $560,000.

The fourth annual ArtPrize is expected to draw more than 300,000 visitors and runs through Oct. 7.

Published: Thu, Sep 20, 2012