Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A couple of days ago I had the honor to jury the annual monthly juried show for the 1600 plus artists who are members of the Art League.

About 600 works in all genres and medias were submitted for my review and I selected 120 of them for exhibition in the Art League Gallery on the first floor of the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria.

Jurying an art show is a very time consuming, and arduous task. There were some absolutely brilliant works, a lot of OK work and a few head scratchers. But the sublime pleasure of being surrounded by artwork from artists of all ranges, ages and skills, is unequaled. This is what the love of visual arts is all about!

As I've noted, seldom is the task of jurying an art show an easy task, and even though I have juried many shows over the last twenty years, I always approach the task with the realization that a lot of effort and work must be delivered in order to do a proper job.

First Prize WinnerAnd jurying a show for The Art League must be one of the most challenging tasks that a juror in our area faces. With such a rich pool of artists, by far one of the largest in the nation, abounding with talent, creativity and intelligence, a juror must come prepared to work hard and smartly.

And I’ve prepared for this task for many years and through many ways. As I've noted, I was a member of The Art League when I first moved to the Washington area many years ago, and believe me: I know first-hand the elation of being accepted and the sighs that accompany being rejected.

Then, as an art critic, I have been visiting and writing about Art League shows for many years. I know first-hand the amazing variety of art and artists, of styles and genres, of creativity and intelligence, as well as their weaknesses. And finally, as an art critic and curator, I have curated and organized over 100 shows in our area, and have been thus exposed to the work of many Art League members that way. I was ready for this task.

If you were accepted: Congratulations! It was a challenging task.

By far, you’ll see that most of the work that I selected falls within the representational genre, which I allow to dominate my personal dialogue with art. I admire technical ability, but usually when properly coupled with smart composition, good visual ideas, intelligence and creativity. The award winners all in one sense or another pushed some of these buttons, from the spectacular simplicity and elegance of Jim Steele’s photographs, to the bubbling burst of prowess of the very young Jenny Davis’ watercolors, to Jackie Saunders’ mastery of the figure.

The Art League’s monthly competitions are excellent ways to sharpen your artistic muscles, to learn to accept rejection, and to hone your instinct and experience in the art world. The best thing for art is more art – keep creating!

Oh yeah... the photo on the left won the First Prize!

How to Achieve Instant World Fame

Warning: If porn offends you, even "fine art porn," do not visit any of the links below.

Terry Richardson is one lucky stiff (pun intended) who becomes famous in the rarified upper crust of the art world while getting his fine art porn exhibitied in New York, London and Paris.

I'd love to see what would happen if one of our museums or galleries had a Terry Richardson exhibition around here.

In fact, it would make Richardson world famous on a level achieved by the Mapplethorpes and Serranos and Ofilis of the past. I am sure that the exhibition would be most likely shut down by the DC cops, which would bring the ACLU into action and thus Congress would have a collective heart attack, and start trying to pass all kind of laws, etc. You can't buy publicity like that.

Hey, at least we'd get some bi-partisan work!

A Terry Richardson exhibition in Washington, DC would make the Mapplethorpe controversy pale in comparison, of that I am sure.

In fact, this is such a good idea for a local up-and-coming struggling art space: instant fame through fine art porn!

In fact redux, I've got a couple of tentative places (cough, cough) in mind that could use the bright angry light of the public's ire and salacious mentions in the Congressional record.

Washington, DC making an artist world famous!

Terry baby... call me; I'll tell you how to get a show in DC.