Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Judge, Jury, and Thief

I had the honor this week of being a judge for the Wallingford Art Center’s member show. It is a great art center tucked away on a side road outside of Philadelphia. I actually had my Snap Crackle Pop Show in their gallery last May. OK, enough about the great space. It’s about what’s inside that counts. There was art in every medium and every medium had a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize.  On top of that, the mediums were broken down into professional and non-professional categories. So there were a lot of awards to hand out and a lot of work to look at. The good part and bad part about it was that these weren’t monetary awards, just ribbons to make artists happy.

I thought it would be a daunting task but really it wasn’t. It was kind of obvious. I took a quick walk around and saw some stand out stellar pieces. I now knew that I was going to judge all work against these great pieces. The awards were about great pieces and quality.  Quality is always in style.

Quality is what played a role in the professional and non-professional categories.  I asked the gallery director what were the qualifications for the professional and the non-professional categories. She said it was up to the artist. Oh the pride and ego factor came into play. Fun! Now it was a personal choice and a jury’s bias. My pet peeves are bad frames, crooked pictures, and badly cut mattes. There is no need for this. Tighten the screws in your corners to secure your frames. Use a ruler or something straight to cut your mattes. Use framers corners or archival tape to hold your pictures in place…thanks for listening. This is why not every artist got an award. This wasn’t a time to celebrate mediocrity. Since I am venting, another pet peeve of mine is when my kids play a sport and come home with a trophy because everyone got one.

The awards were handed out and the word quickly spread. I could hear the members and artists talking. “Congratulations!” they would say. “I can’t believe I won!” was exclaimed. Then I eyed a really sweet piece, which I gave first place to. I looked at the price tag, $90 non-professional. It was a steal! So, I purchased it! Luckily, in a world of ethics there were no monetary prizes so I didn’t feel like I was going to change the volatility of the art market


  1. Maybe bring the piece you bought to the crit but don't identify or tell how much you paid for it. Then we can all assign our own price and see what discussion ensues. : )

  2. @ Michael good idea. But I don't have the piece yet. Maybe i'll bring something else.