Sunday, January 17, 2010

Vanity Gallery ICO Holds Another "Contest"

Ico Gallery, a business in NYC, runs various, "contests." Their latest, Emerging Artist Competition (Star Search), is run as part of one of their sites, ArtiFacTorYNYC. Entry is free. Winners "will be given the opportunity to be included in a collective exhibition at Ico Gallery's ground floor Chelsea gallery." One winner will be "given the opportunity to exhibit at Ico Galley during our 2010-2011 calendar." Implies a solo show, but could be anything. In any case, it is the opportunity to pay for it that you win, not the thing itself.

And what does "opportunity to be included" mean? Why, it means, that for a substantial fee -- $200-400, according to one artist who contacted us -- you will have your work shown along wlth others who either have plenty of money to burn or have no idea how the real art world works. So entry is free but acceptance is very expensive.

Ico Gallery twice tried to have AOM list their contest for free by falsely claiming on our submission form that they are a non-profit organization -- instead of paying $6/line for a classified ad. When I wrote to ask if accepted artists were charged to show their work, I got only the curt reply, "All of the information can be found on the contest rules page."

Indeed it can. Almost. But it is written in a way intended to mislead the inexperienced and recognition-needy. "Given the opportunity to be included" is not the same as included. I wonder if they are also offering the "opportunity to include the Brooklyn Bridge as one of your most prized possessions."

One good way to recognize a vanity gallery is to look at the work shown. Almost without exception, the work is not professional quality. Also, there are usually fairly prominent pictures of the individual artists. They tend to be of a certain type, although I cannot articulate it. I'm waiting for someone to do a series of portraits of people who routinely show their work in vanity galleries. To complete the concept, should the results be shown in a vanity gallery?

No comments:

Post a Comment