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  • December 19, 2012

    Analyzing Rejections

    There have been many recent comments from artists about being rejected from shows they’ve applied to.

    The jury
    I feel that the difficulty of getting into art shows starts with the jury. Are the jurors knowledgeable or do they understand the mediums they are judging. Do they have enough time to evaluate our images for us to be scored fairly. Are they overburdened by the amount of image they have to evaluate within a given period of time. Projection jurying has different issues than monitor jurying. Also part of jurying process should be providing some kind of feedback.

    If a show has 260 spaces and 1,300 artists apply, though we hear about the over 1,000 rejections, there are still 260 artists that get into the show. What do you need to change to become one of the 20% chosen. No matter how knowledgeable the jurors are or how much time they get to spend evaluating your images, something needs to change for you to move from the 80% column to the 20% column.

    The 20 second rule
    Within the first 20 seconds your work has to be blow away the jurors. Do you have cutting edge work that is different enough from your competition so that jurors remember it. Does it show growth within your medium. If it’s something that they may have seen before, are you presenting it in a way that they may not have seen. And I’m probably being conservative about the 20 seconds because it may be closer to 10 seconds. I’m talking about the artwork and the images of the artwork used for jurying.

    This has to start with the shows actually wanting to give us feedback. A few shows do but far more don’t for any number of reasons, like they perceive it to be a hassle or time consuming or don’t even think it can be done with today’s application systems. Or maybe they’re afraid that if they tell artists the truth, applications (and jury fees) will drop off. Using the latest technology there must be ways that we can be provided with feedback. Some shows already give us feedback but not with enough detail that we can grow from the experience. If a written critique is too time consuming, how about a short audio clip. There are programs for the iPhone or iPad that can do short audio clips and e-mail them. I think that we’re past the time where saying it can’t be done is only an excuse for not wanting to.

    © Larry Berman