Thursday, December 3, 2009

Juried Exhibitions: The Organizational Perspective (3 of 3)

If you are entering a juried exhibition, do you ever grumble a bit at the seemingly random requirements? Label your CD this way, title your images this way, fill out the original entry form with a black pen, mail a self-addressed stamped envelope, deliver to gallery between 5 and 6 am, etc.

Anticipating your grumblings (although I’m sure not about OVAC shows, ha), I wanted to write a bit about the practical and philosophical reasoning behind some of these rules. Usually, juried show rules have their basis in some administrative need or effort toward fairness. I can only speak to the process of OVAC exhibitions, but imagine many organizers have similar reasoning.

Assumption #3: Recruit different curators for varied perspectives & connections
Philosophical: OVAC recruits different curators to jury each exhibition; staff members do not serve as curators. For most exhibitions, OVAC selects curators from outside the state for their fresh perspectives on Oklahoma artists’ work and opportunities to create national connections for artists and OVAC. For Momentum, OVAC opts for an area curator who can add the benefit of ongoing relationships with young artists included in the exhibition. For all our exhibitions, we pick curators with broad knowledge about various visual media.

Practical: Since new curators are reviewing artwork for each show, we offer consistency of what they will see. For instance, we always ask for title, medium and dimensions. Curators need this basic information to determine what they are seeing. When looking at an image of a sculpture on a base with a background, the curator cannot guess which elements are parts of the submission.

New curators also mean the pool of submissions will be reviewed without knowledge of the past exhibitions. In the case of repeated shows like VisionMakers, only a few artists have been selected for multiple installments. Each time artists submitted to different years, the curator looked at the artwork as a new grouping of possible exhibitions. This means no artist is guaranteed entry into a future OVAC exhibition; they have to submit to be considered.

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition will offer the workshop “
Jury Duty: Entering Juried Shows & Competitions”on Thursday, December 10, 2009, 5:30-7:30pm at the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville.

Caption: Sue Clancy cartoon for OVAC's 20th Anniversary issue of Art Focus Oklahoma

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