Tuesday, May 5, 2009

First Notes, May 09 Issue

As promised, some notes about the most recent issue, May 09:

The Art Center in Corvallis OR seems to be out of business and the domain name, http://www.theartcenter.net, is for sale.

Abstract EXPOsure is what I call a contest site. It's not really a gallery, just an online presence that collects money from artists who want to gamble $30 or more that they will win $200 against possibly hundreds of competitors. I don't know how many entries AE gets, but if it gets only seven, it's made its "nut." If everything about this site is completely legitimate, and I'm not suggesting it's not, it's still a bad deal. There are a handful of other places like this, a few of them run by a computer science instructor in Colorado. The fact is anyone with moderate Web building skills, or access to someone who has, can set up an online gallery and hold a contest.

The "Florence Biennale" is at it again. This is strictly a vanity venue. Anyone who pays the fee can get in. It is cleverly marketed, in that it fools the kind of people who are easily fooled. One thing they do -- an old trick, actually -- is give awards to prominent artists. It doesn't mean the big name artists are present at the show or even know about it. It simply means that the producers, two brothers who own a commercial art studio in Florence, can use the names in their promotion. Your local art club -- or bridge club or Cub Scout Troop -- could do the same thing. But probably won't.

This year, the "invitation" from FB to artists is at least candid enough to state: "The exhibition is entirely funded by artists, that can search for sponsors independently in their own country." (This language probably added as a result of a law suit or threatened suit.) The sad thing is that in years past I have seen small countries and local law firms dish out money to sponsor their local artists who had been invited, not knowing that the invitations were the email equivalent of the old letters stating "You may already have won!!!" on the envelope. But "Florence Biennale" sounds so much better than, say "West Podunk Biennale," doesn't it? But they would otherwise be essentially the same thing. So hopeful, naive and needy people are fooled. A few years ago, I did some calculations on how much it would cost an artist to show and be present. Something in excess of $10,000 the figure was, especially since the FB strongly recommended its own shippers. For that amount you could promote you work in a much effective way. Or set up your own Biennale.

Further elucidation of the AOM ratings system: The "Editor's choices" are marked with |+| because I think they give an especially good value or are prestigious or are different and interesting. Everything is not about money. Those marked ~ (tilde) are pretty much ones that I didn't feel justified in leaving out but which really didn't seem to be good value. Basically, that means that their entry fees didn't seem to justify their awards, which were often non-existet. Nevertheless, I included them because they might be near enough to some subscriber to be worth looking into.

In once case I remember I upgraded a listing after a representative of the show -- of miniatures -- pointed out that although they didn't give much in the way of prizes, the tiny works were very cheap for the artists to ship and judging was directly from the work, so slides, CDs and cameras didn't have to enter into the equation.

Well, that's the start. Open for questions.

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