Thursday, March 23, 2006

The gallerist as juror

One curious (and welcomed) fact that I've noted about our current exhibition is the relationship to the overall success of a juried exhibition to the background of the juror.

Let me explain.

Since we opened the Fraser Gallery in 1996, as part of our gallery's program, we've had dozens of invited guest curators and jurors over the years tasked with curating and jurying one or two shows a year for us. The idea was and is, to bring some fresh eyes, thoughts and ideas, besides that of the gallery-owners.

These jurors have included multiple curators from the Hirshhorn, from the Corcoran, and other museums, as well as established artists and photographers, and art critics.

They have without a doubt delivered strong, sometimes surprising, shows, and nearly always accomplished the task of offering our public something new and different from what the focus of our gallery has been.

And yet, when one brings the seasoned eye of an experienced gallerist to the juror's task, as it was the case in this exhibition and the many others that my partner has curated for other organizations and art venues, something slightly different happens.

The exhibition has all the strong, aesthetic points that most well-curated shows exhibit in general, but in addition to that, it also sells well!

Fact: the current show has been well received by the critics, but it has also already sold more photographs than all of the previous three photography competitions combined!

This, of course, is a gallerist's dream: to have a show that is well received by the critics and the public, and that also actually sells some work.

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