Michigan paper remembers that time Matthew Power insulted Grand Rapids

MLive/The Grand Rapids Press

"ArtPrize critic who labeled Grand Rapids 'flyover country' dies in Uganda" is the headline on MLive's story about the death of journalist Matthew Power.

Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk's article isn't as grudging as the headline would suggest. He says he remembers Power "as an inquisitive and thoughtful man with a faraway look in his eye."

He was recognizable immediately as an out-of-town visitor to Grand Rapids. But as newcomers sometimes do, he noticed things that familiar eyes sometimes miss.

Power was in town to write about Grand Rapids' annual ArtPrize competition, which awards a large sum of money via popular vote (the contest later changed its rules to incorporate a big prize by a jury as well).

"Critics have derided ArtPrize as a naked bid to buy cultural cachet in a flyover-country backwater, and fans have hailed it as radically open, a populist wresting of aesthetic judgment from the snobbery of elites in New York and Los Angeles," Power wrote in GQ. His article was "the talk of the town after it appeared on the eve of ArtPrize 2012," Kaczmarczyk writes.

Related: Matthew Power, Celebrated Journalist, Dies at 39 (The New York Times) | Matthew Power, storyteller (New York Daily News)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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