The STM revealed the top four most voted for artworks this past Friday
What does a zebra, an eye, a black hole, and the Old Port of Montreal have in common?
Ten thousand dollars.
Last month, The Concordian reported that Quebecor Media, in collaboration with the Societé de Transport de Montréal (STM), launched the Expo+ contest. Over the course of the last four months, over 1,100 artists submitted their works for public voting, hoping to be featured on the new STM bus shelters.
The pieces up for voting were divided between art submitted by the general public and those offered by the advertising industry.
The final four winners were announced on April 4, with an unknown amount of votes gathered to have the images emerge victorious.
Compared with other submissions, the winners are not the most aesthetically bold images in the contest. The first features a black and white zebra flying above the ground with the help of a balloon. The second, a black hole-like image in the middle of a swirling vortex of black and red. The third, a watercolour of rue St. Paul in the old port of Montreal. Finally, a Warhol-esque eye looking at the sky.
These four finalists have risen above the rest to claim the $10,000 prize which is to be split among the two categories. Even though there was but one finalist from the advertising industry they will take home half of the prize, while the other $5,000 will be split among the three winners from the general public.
Arguably the prize money is not the real prize. Aside from the finalists, the top 20 artists are being featured on Montreal bus shelters from March 24 to April 20.
For the advertising agencies this could have easily become free advertising space. Thankfully none of the images were pushing merchandise. No doubt the accolade of displaying one’s work on the new STM shelters will come in handy for these companies landing contracts in the future.
Predictably, there is little thematic homogeneity among the 20 finalists currently on display. They range from a fox sporting a bow tie to an abstract gear design.
Except for one image, they are all agreeable. The exception, however, demonstrates what the STM should do in the future should they hold another Expo+ contest.
The image in question is of a police officer, in full riot gear, holding a rose above the Montreal cityscape. Although there is artistic merit in the work, it can be seen as a politically charged piece. In a climate where such an image may be viewed as provocative, perhaps it is not one that should be exhibited on the sides of bus shelters. There is a time and place for such offerings, but Montreal rush hour may not be one of them.
Should the STM launch another art contest, perhaps they should give it a theme — “Art chez nous”, for example, would give the city a much needed cultural boost. It would also be wise to ask that political messages be excluded from competition as bus service is not the appropriate place for such images.
Contrary to what had been reported previously by Quebecor Media, the winning artworks will be removed from bus shelters on April 20, 2014.
For a full list of Expo+ contest winners visit: abribus.ca/en/contest/expo-plus