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Question: If I produce a very huge and dramatic 40x50 black-and-white, partially torn portrait photograph of an astoundingly but unfortunately God-awful ugly old man of about 98 years old, and if I turn his eyes all red, and if there's a bit of drool spilling from his cracked lips, and if some rusty old barbed wire is wrapped around his neck and a bloody chicken bone is sticking from one ear, and if his stringy unkept hair has not been cut in 25 years and includes some visible live insects, and if he is missing one eyebrow, and if his face reflects pain, misery, hopelessness and psychological blackness not to mention a bunch of scars, and if he appears about to be ready to slur something shocking and mean, and if I smear key parts of this image with a bunch of suspicious mud, would, then, an art show judge automatically proclaim this to be the finest and boldest visual statement ever about the human condition and man's station in the universe and lavish me with a huge award?


Just askin'.  


(Wanna steal this idea to cop a best-of-show, award? Have at it, brothers and sisters!)

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If anyone has ever read the book...The $12 million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art, you would think crappy art is the only kind of art that could possibly win.  I made it through Chapter 12 and I think my husband made it to Chapter 10 before he stood up, tossed the book and said that's crap!  I was speechless, I just couldn't believe how much people would pay for a decaying stuffed shark because someone said this is ART!


So to answer your question..YES, sounds like you have a winner there!

This is my take on art (all kinds) and winning awards.

On this forum...we are ARTIST and being Artist, we can usually look at all works of art and know when someone just threw something together whether its realistic, contemporary, unique or just totally out side the box. 

Gallery owners, some gallery owners who become our judges, retail stores owners, etc...those guys are marketing people. They are not artist in most cases, but they have the ability to know what will sell. That's their job.

I am a realistic artist/sculptor but when I paint, I paint abstracts. Like most artist, I can look at an abstract painting, clay vase or bronze piece, etc... and most of the time I see ART in the piece. An artist can see past certain unappealing things such as cow dung (it's in the book) and still see the art in a piece.  So when an artist sees something winning "best -of-show", and a Artist thought it shouldn't have won, it's upsetting to us as artist because there are artist at that show who you know that should have won "best-of-show" in that category...

....anyway, to me, it's not about winning, it's about the art that won. would like the $12 Million Stuffed opened my eyes. The writer puts everything in perspective whether we like it or not.

I would never snub my nose at any at anyone's creation. "Art" is world of delightful variety, and for every piece that is made, there is someone out there that admires and loves it (thanks Mom!).

I'm more taken aback about some of the things that are said about artwork. I've spent so much time concentrating on composition, value relationships and colour relationships that I plumb forgot what kind of profound commentary I was trying to make about truth and the human condition.


To paraphrase Freud (Ziggy), "Sometimes a pretty picture is just a pretty picture."  I have so often heard the cliche' statement: "I don't know much about art - but I know what I like." and I almost always reply "Well then, you already know all there is to know about."


Accolades and prizes are always nice, but one shouldn't hang too much relevance to them. Whenever I've won an award, I've always felt that it was an act of encouragement and compliment, and always tried to return the honour by investing the money in more art supplies, and the ribbons make wonderful bookmarks for my art library. If I don't win, it just means that my work has reached a point that I need less encouragement, and that other guy/gal needs art supplies more than I do.


Ego and pride aways benefit with a little grace and dignity.


The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge amid controversy.

- Martin Luther King Jr.


Please don't paint such a negative picture of those of us who take our role as judges quite seriously and often give up our weekends to travel for honorariums that often don't cover our meals or travels. I realize that some artists are dependent on prize money as part of their income and perhaps this influences their opinions when they do not win an award. Wherever I am honored to participate as a juror I take the role seriously and do my best to make awards based on the criteria given by the organizers of the event.  Also, please remember that most juries are a panel and compromises need to be reached.  My favorite thing in my retirement is to travel around the country as an opportunity to see many artists all in the same location often as research for exhibitions I will curate. It takes sometimes 8 hours of walking a festival to choose prize winners. I am offended by the comments sometimes heard..if I threw sand, painted bigger, did something shocking I would win.. Sorry, but you wouldn't get my vote. Not even in Gasparilla.

I personally have been a judge at several Art and Orchid Art Shows based on my knowledge of different mediums. And Trudy...have the worst job on earth in my opinion...and if you were the judge at Gasparella...YOU WERE ONE OF THE BEST JUDGES THERE!  I could tell immediately that this judge (if you or not ) understood  what they were looking at and took the time to look...and I'm not saying this because I won, you even blew my husband away when you took the cuff off my arm, looked at it and then turned it over to looked at the back.  Even the neighbors around us felt the judge took the job very seriously! My neighbors weren't bitter because they didn't win...they went around the show and saw their competitors and commented, "I see why they won"  Every artist should judge a show just once!

thanks Dawn, yes I was that judge this year.
Welcome Trudi and I hope you realize that the art show world can get frustrating at times and we can get a little rowdy occasionally. I do stand by my opinion though, after years of doing art shows, that black and white film work, especially if it is one of the older processes, will win out over a stronger image in color almost every time.

But the award winner at Gasparilla was from the previous year and I don't think you were the judge that year.
Those ever-predictable art show judges are genetically programed to choose black and white over color, no matter what the content. This is a law of the universe that not even wars, galactic realignment or consumption of seven Margaritas can change. This is just the way it is and the way it's gonna be, at least until a fresh generation of art show judges come along, assuming by then we're still in business.   
comes along
It is  a shame that too many people....judges, too...think that anyone can get a good color photo with a digital camera. Of course it isn't true at all. I do appreciate, and often award color photography. It really is much more about the body of work in my opinion as a judge. Even I might get a "one shot wonder" once in a while. It is much easier to judge shows that are set up that way and not the type where a single piece has to be weighed against other single pieces. and, often in totally different media. I do wish artists would talk to show managers and get them to have different media categories. The shows that just have all media judged against each other for the awards is really a nightmare. Yes, it will always be subjective to some extent but let's make it less so whenever possible. I bet photographers are further frustrated by digital  processes and digital photos  versus photoshopped versus film. My other big aggravation as a juror is the artist who adds a touch of something to a painting and enters it as multi media because there are generally less entries in that category;  its been fun talking to you.
We love you Trudy!
Make that Trudi with an i..................


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