mixedfeelings asked: When will you publish the results of the ultimate art city rankings of 2012?
This question comes from George Wietor, a man who is truly one of the greatest living Michiganders, and a prominent citizen of Grand Rapids (read more about George here).
George is referring to 2012 U.S. CITIES CONTEMPORARY ART RANKINGS: A NEW HIERARCHICAL APPROACH, a project I did in October of last year. The idea was to gather a group of artists in a room with a list of the 150 largest cities in America, and over the course of a few hours, determine a criteria for establishing a tiered system (based on the presence of renowned spaces, MFA programs, contemporary art museums, curators, critics, collectors, etc., etc.), and then divvying up the cities into one of the five categories (or none of them, if the city was collectively decided to not fit the minimum criteria). About forty people showed up, and over the course of several hours, we arrived at the conclusions below. (It’s on my website, too.)
I should say that this is only the decision arrived at by the group, so it’s obviously somewhat suspect (there were some serious Boston-dislikers present). The conversation was fascinating, though. Minneapolis’ prominent placement (perhaps “embarrassingly prominent,” in retrospect) is owed to a few very stirring speeches on behalf of the city pointing out the centrality of the Walker Art Center to the national contemporary art conversation. In retrospect, it seems a little inflated. Washington’s relegation to third tier seems a little odd. So, too, does Portland’s and Detroit’s, both of which I’d put in the second tier. Hmmm. Well, that’s why we did this thing.
Again, it is obviously not definitive in any way, but reflects the prejudices and experiences of the group that was present. I’d love to lead this project in many other cities.
In fact: You want me to come to your city and lead it in your art space and figure out where the contemporary artists in your neighborhood place the cities of America on their own spectrum? I’ll do it for part of a plane ticket (not even the full amount!) and a place to sleep. Email me and let me know.
Without further ado, Minneapolis’ rankings, as of October 2011:
“SUPER-TIER”* / MAJOR INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER
New York City
* After much debate about whether NYC was a singular enough entity to deserve its own tier, and whether the city’s influence internationally constituted a level of importance well above that of any other American city, the group elected to consign it to a “super-tier.”
FIRST TIER / MAJOR NATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART CENTERS
SECOND TIER / SECONDARY NATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART CENTERS
THIRD TIER / MAJOR REGIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART CENTERS
FOURTH TIER / SECONDARY REGIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART CENTERS
FIFTH TIER / IMPORTANT LOCAL CONTEMPORARY ART CENTERS