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can abstracts judge an art show?

updated thu 8 nov 01


Llewellyn Kouba on wed 7 nov 01

Readers. I recently submitted my work to two local art shows and although
the quality in general was really quite good I was at the same time quite
disappointed. In the first show upon arriving to help hang the show, I
found a fellow participant and the gallery assistant mind you, each done a
pair of surgical gloves. Being I wasn't scheduled for surgery it was
totally unexpected huh! The very large almost floor to ceiling work was
THAT wet. What about gallery bylaws or enforcing them? What about
endangering everyone else's work to say the least about having your own
work disturbed as well? In the second show the chair had knocked out a
couple categories and lumped many of those (ex, pastel and Ceramics) into
one category called mixed media. If that wasn't enough it of course caused
problems. Who would want to judge a show like this? Some afterward felt
like they weren't competing at all. To make a long story longer. I had
three entries. Nothing received a ribbon. I was praised highly for my 24
inch stoneware footed vessel and then the judge went on to critique my 3x5
foot traditional Rug Hooking - ' Blue India' ,which hung just above the
ceramic piece. He said it would have merited a ribbon and an (cash) award
but, 'we' wondered if it was original. His assessment just blew me
away. Of course one of the judges had already took his pay check and had
gone home so he wasn't even there to (defend?) himself. Of course after I
explained that the work was hand dyed etc he was all apologetic and about
15 minutes latter came by and 'awarded' me with an award of merit, all to
smoothen things over of course. I don't know of any art show who doesn't
have by-laws and also have you sign papers that it is original work.
Those shouldn't even be assumptions in a professional show...if indeed it
is one? To top that off our chair of the show (18 years) said she wasn't
sure either. No one was thinking. Is it a wonder people leave art
shows. That isn't what an art show is all about. As we know there is more
to it all than competing and winning ribbons but one would expect to be at
least in the 'running' if he or she submitted in the professional category
or would not expect to have to defend his or her integrity as well unless
we have a history of doing copies and kits. Also on the note of
categories. Can someone honestly tell me if they really think Abstraction
shouldn't be in a category all to its own. Perhaps in a system that works
abstraction can be judged fairly. BUT more likely it is used as a divisive
tool, and a cop out for the judges who at least to me at time seem not to
even have a clue what an art show is all about. In the end the people who
have got the most talent and have accomplished the most with their
technical side of art are those who get (pardon the pun) screwed. In shows
which are NOT professionally run and I suspect that is the majority of
shows.(and I could be wrong here but many I've been involved in)
....Abstraction should be listed as a separate category for obvious
reasons. The show would evolve a lot smoother and there would be far fewer
people hurt or misunderstood. Abstraction is a wonderful expression of art
and as true an art as any but far too often people (maybe even some judges)
are incapable of both understanding it and properly placing it in a show.
Are not these some of the very reasons that so many of our professionals
leave the shows? I still have my integrity as an artist but probably won't
go back next year. I know this is not a new subject or view and you have
all heard it before far too often unfortunately. One does wonder what it
would take to make a difference or what it would take to finally make some
changes? If you would like to see one of my show entries....check on my
web page below and proceed to (rug hooking ' Blue India'). It is
signed: Abbey Pottery

LKouba/a Professional who is tired of all the non professionalism