As promised, I’m going to share with you my thoughts from the perspective of my role as managing curator for the exhibit I’ve been working on. Local Color: Inspired by Science will be premiering soon. First, I’m excited to let you know that my piece – Under the Microscope #2 – got juried into the show. In this post, I’ll share with you my thoughts on the jurying process.
Even as the managing curator of this exhibition, there was no guarantee that my piece would get into the show. I hoped, just like any of the other artists who entered their works into the show, that my piece would be chosen.
Although I met with the juror and presented the entries to her and with my team members, we walked her around to make her selections, I had no idea if she’d choose my piece or not. It was a blind jurying process so she didn’t know the artists whose works she was seeing or for that matter choosing.
The jurying process is often mysterious to most artists. They don’t understand how some pieces get accepted into shows and why others get rejected. I don’t think there will ever be an exact formula to answer this question. However, from my vantage point as a managing curator, I made a few observations about the jurying process. And hopefully, I can demystify the jurying process for you, just a little bit.
3 Parts in the Jurying Process
A Show Theme Matters: First, the prospectus specified a theme for the exhibition and the juror took that seriously and looked for pieces that met the criteria in the prospectus.
Aesthetics Matter: Secondly, aesthetics, composition, and design play an important role in the selection process. After, the juror had walked around to get an overall view of all the pieces in the show, she made her first selections. Later, the juror explained that the first selection was based on the pieces which “jumped out” at her when she first saw them.
What makes an art piece jump out at you? (That’s certainly a discussion for another post) However, suffice it to say, that although the answer to this question can be subjective, there are things which mitigate that. You can make certain composition and design decisions, to make it more likely for your piece to “jump out”.
First Selections Matter: Finally, the first selections determine the subsequent selections. Let me explain that a little bit more. After the juror had made her first selections, I noticed that she moved on to focus on creating a cohesive show.
So every subsequent piece she chose was done so that the piece will work with what she had previously selected. Thereby fulfilling the vision she had in her mind about what she wanted the show to look like.
I believe that this is an important point to note because this is where “great pieces” get dropped out during the jurying process. Often when you enter a “great piece” and it doesn’t make it into the show, you wonder, how could that be? And I’m convinced this is exactly why. It didn’t work with the other pieces which had already been chosen.
And I saw that happen in this jurying process. There were pieces which on their own are great pieces, but they didn’t get juried into this show. That’s why I like to say, when you enter a great piece into a show and it is not accepted, accept the rejection and don’t hesitate to enter it into other shows.
The fact is your pieces will not always get selected for shows into which you enter them. Mine don’t!!! But what is more empowering is an understanding of the jurying process. So that you can make intelligent decisions about how to select and enter shows to enjoy the benefits of showing your work.
So there you have it, a behind the scenes look at one particular jurying process.
Other posts chronicling the creation of “Under the Microscope#2”