The open Open

July 18th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | exhibition

We’ve talked a lot here on the site and in the real world with artists and arts professionals about competitions, pay-to-play “opportunities” and so on. Now myself and our David have agreed to be selectors for the Zeitgeist Open 2012 in the hope of showing there’s a way to run these things fairly, ethically, without ripping anybody off or profiteering, and keeping artists where they should be in the arts– at the centre. In brief (from the ZAP site):

  1. There will be no pre-selection, all works will be seen by all the judges
  2. The work received will remain anonymous throughout the judging process
  3. Our judges are artists, not art oligarchs or celebrities
  4. ZAP values all the artists we work with and continues to build relationships with them during and after shows
  5. At least 10 artists from The Zeitgeist Open will be selected for our next ZAP group exhibition: Discernible in Spring 2013
  6. The ZAP philiosophy is about: Creating opportunities for ambitious artists, creating new networks and bringing new audiences – curators, gallerists, collectors, the general public – to artists
  7. Submission fees have been kept to an absolute minimum – £15 or £12 for ZAP / DIY Educate Members – to make it accessible as possible.

But what’s really worth checking out, I think– even if you don’t intend to enter– is the statements and application materials you can download from the same page I just linked to (or below). David and I have consulted on and contributed to these documents, and I think they do a great job of doing what every fair, symmetrical transaction between commissioner/gallery/selector and artist should be: laying out what everyone on both sides has the right to expect, to get or not get. The selectors will be getting a small fee and travel expenses for a day of work on selecting the submissions. Instead of making ourselves scarce like your traditional gatekeepers, we’ll also be attending the opening of the exhibition in the autumn so you can talk to us directly about what we selected, what we didn’t, and why.

Art competitions and open submission calls can be genuine opportunities that help artists. They don’t have to be dodgy.


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