I have only been in London for a year now, and I say only because I feel in this time I have only just scratched this town’s surface, culturally. When you arrive in a new town you receive a lot of information through a plethora of ways, but often what sticks with you are other people’s perceptions.
Comments such as:
‘ah, have you not been? You must go!’
‘I actually do not like it because of ... and ... reason’
‘I love that space’
‘I find them all rude there and stuck-up’
‘that’s miles away’
‘a little hidden gem’
‘they used to be extremely innovative in the work shown but seem to have lost that now’
And this is how I came to apply to the Salon Art Prize 2011 (http://www.salonartprize.com/) which is held at Matt Roberts Arts (http://www.mattroberts.org.uk/) on Vyner Street.
Whoever I mentioned this open submission event to (and believe me, everyone in the art world knew of it) responded like this:
‘I am applying, are you? You should!’
‘I have applied in the past but have not got in’
‘Its on Vyner Street!’
and so on and so forth...
So I did apply and was rejected long with another 1581 artists. 69 were chosen to exhibit.
1650 (applications) x £5 (per artwork entry fee) = £8250, Not bad, not bad at all! and that is without extra entries and funding and sponsorship and sales etc.
I had heard all about Vyner Street; a lane with a series of small galleries, but had yet to visit. What a great opportunity I thought to myself, to go and finally see the space and view the selected works.
I went with a fellow artist and upon our arrival we did not know whether to laugh or cry. To tell you the truth I got quite annoyed and angry as such exhibitions I believe are disrespectful to the artists, their works and the audience.
Yes, there were various works I did not like but this is often the case with group exhibitions of over 50 works (which is also a good thing I guess). But I might have liked more artworks had they not been crammed into these three small rooms; this of course did no favours to the actual exhibition space which interfered with my viewing! I would have appreciated it more, had they shown half the amount of works!
Alternatively it would have been great if there were a story to be told; ideas, thoughts and concerns bouncing off one another artworks, showing some real curatorial thought process behind the exhibition, but unfortunately this was neither the case (unless I did not get it). I felt empty and stunned when I walked out of those doors.
What’s the deal here?
How much responsibility is placed on the artist? and how much on the gallery?