Artists love to be asked to participate in invitational exhibitions.
There is no submission of jpegs or slides, no nail biting wait until you hear if you are in or out of a juried show... you just get CHOSEN, and your work already has a stamp of approval by the
curator, gallery owner or gallery director who feels your work will fit with other artists they have selected. I entered Black Creativity at the Museum of Science and Industry again this year.
It is considered a prestigious show by some local artists. Others totally ignore it. The problem is that it is at a science museum that has no real interest in visual artists, but since the Art Institute and the MCA are not really a choice, either, because one does not appear to court living Chicago artists and one is for cutting edge art, the MSI juried art show still looks good year in and year out. There is the chance you will win a prize. Last year I won one of 7 prizes out of 600 entries but the Honorable Mention came with no monetary reward. This year the fees for entry went up by $15.00 to $50.00, but the prize money awarded did not increase.
I have won Best of Show and other monetary prizes in the past.
AND, it's a museum! It's juried! The jurors are knowledgeable and prestigious!
Well, maybe...even in a juried show there is no guarantee you are in good company. This one admittedly takes amateur artists and students.Yes, they can be good, too, but it does change the dynamic.
Invitational or juried, do you ALWAYS ASK who, what, why, where and when?
Do you ask who you will be with?
Why the particular artists have been selected to exhibit together is a question that you can tease out without sounding arrogant.
Where the work will be shown should be forthcoming but sometimes people want to first, put a show together and then, find a place to show it.
You need to be clear about, and understand the purpose of the show. Make sure you ask particulars about the thematic stream attached to the show. Is it something you feel you address through your work? Is it something you really want to be associated with?
Many artists, including me, are just happy to be in a show. BUT.
I have found that sometimes it's better to respectfully decline an exhibition offer and wait for the next opportunity.
OK. So say you want to be in the show; please remember to find out the following:
1. Who the other artists are. Are they comparable to your achievement?
If they are emerging, mid-career or beyond is not so important to me; I mean are they "good" in your opinion. (You may also care if they are new.) You just need to know one way or the other so you can make an informed choice.
2. Do you like the work the other artist(s) creates. You may decide to show with an artist you don't care for because you know lots of other people do, or because you know your dislike is very personal. Or because the venue is exceptional.
3. Is it an established venue? Is it in someone's studio or home? Think about the mailing list and who may come to the studio or home before dismissing this outright. This could be a nice intimate chance to bring more support for your work.
4. Is the exhibition raising funds for a project you don't support? Well, I rarely would do that, but you may feel that the company, the crowd and the venue, plus attendant publicity may make the show worth your while. Hey, I might re-think my original choice, but I would not support some issues, no matter what!
My point is to be conscious of choices. Sometimes I show because I really like the other artists and would show with them anywhere. Sometimes I am thrilled to be with artists I respect, and I am meeting them for the first time in the exhibition.
Reasons you should exhibit are many and varied.
I want artists to also THINK about why they sometimes
should not show.
"The Medieval in America" by Joyce Owens was shown at the DuSable Museum in Chicago. When the curator, Jomo Cheatham, asked me to create a painting about lynching ( a subject I had never addressed in my work) I jumped at the chance to be in The Citizen's Picnic: Lynching in America from 1865- Present.