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Art of the Call Podcast: Mat Gleason Curator, Art Critic and owner of Coagula Curatorial art gallery in Los Angeles
Here's another Art of the Call video podcast where we ask directors, artists and curators to talk about the call for entry process.

This is what Mat Gleason (here and here as well!) had to say:

What value should artists get back from juried shows

The experience of actually sending work in, having the work hang, the whole process every artist goes through

A way of getting your feet wet

Feedback, people seeing your work

A juried show should guarantee a certain amount of foot traffic

Are they having an opening? Are they buying a big keg of beer, nice wine, some hors d'oeuvres? That's a big difference in drawing people.

You should be guaranteed the feeling of now being part of an artist community

What's an underdog artist?

In our culture today, every artist is an underdog artist. The odds are so stacked against people. Even the people who have the means to pay for good materials, good education and good studio space are up against Hollywood, consumer products

Art collectors are constantly bombarded by many stimuli. Go to any art collectors house, in addition to their collection you'll see architectural concerns and all kinds of stuff they've acquired in their world travels

Antique shops are a big big rival to art galleries - the people who buy art also buy antiques

Jurying vs Curating

If people are in a juried show then they should say that it was curated by the juror

Juried shows tend to be fundraisers for arts organizations and therefore require the artists to contribute financially

When curating a show outside of the juried system, I'm looking for artists whose art is going to sell to a collector

Established vs Beginning Artists

A beginning artist can make a masterpiece (sometimes by luck)

An experienced artist especially one with a decent education and a knowledge of where they stand in art history is more likely to make something that is good

There's a level of professionalism - and this is so important for a beginner - just to learn how to behave. Be a freak and a nut in your art - the freaky nutty out there art people go wow. But if you're a freak nut out here people then we don't necessarily want to be around you

How to get status in the art world

When you can deliver

For example, many artists come to gallery owners and curators and say "Daddy carry me". There's no power in that, there's no status in that.

When you can be the one that I want to carry - because we're going to the top - that's status, that's what an artist needs to create: the desire for me to want to carry you.

Curators and gallerists acquire status through consistency. Are you an art world lifer? Then you have status.

Computer images vs the real thing

It's nice to be able to see real artwork in the jury process - it's the best case scenario

Problem is, art organizations need to open the art that it's showing to its community to a wider audience - and with technology today you can come very close to images that represent the artwork well - so the value in putting a show together that has a wide scope of people from all over - to the people in the community that are going to see that show - that's invaluable instead of seeing the same 10 people that can haul their work down to the nearby gallery

Process when viewing art

I work at an organic level. Jurying and curating a show is exactly the same.

How is this going to excite people?

Is this going to matter?

Is this piece relevant to my audience?

Is this going to expand the minds and consciousness of my audience?

Is it the same old same old? If the answer is yes then I probably don't want it

If there's a tweak there or something radically new, different or interesting - it can be really old and trivial but if it's interesting and compelling then it's great art - that's what I'm always looking for

There are times that I've not selected an artwork because I don't know if I want to meet this person (haha!)

Sometimes you do play games: I wonder what this person is like

You end up interacting with the artist - the juried process is a bit more removed - if you attend the show you're going to meet most of the people vs when you curate you're like oh wow I wonder what this person is like - I want him in a show - are they going to be easy to work with, are they going to be a headache, are they going to be fun, are they going to be as crazy as their paintings?

What's a legitimate space for a show?

What can that space deliver for the artist

Do they have foot traffic? Do people visit this gallery?

Is this in an art center in the world?

If it's not in a major city is it near a museum?

Do people in the local art community visit it?

Is it vital to the local art dialog?

Is your work going to be seen, understood and respected by your peers in that town?

I'll turn down offers to jury a call if I think they're just trying to make money off of the artists

When I jury a show it has to be a space that has exhibitions, a regular exhibition schedule

Does the venue have white walls and track lighting?

Would I want the artists that I represent to show at your gallery?

Are you a craft gallery? That might not be right for somebody who's in the fine art world

I don't want my name attached to something that isn't giving the artists the best art gallery experience possible.

Opening vs show

The opening reception is going to be 75% to 90% of the foot traffic. And that's a good thing. It's a big party and it's to honor the artists on the wall.

A lot of galleries do programming besides the opening reception: chamber music, small concerts, poetry readings, panel discussions (yawn) - and they do draw people and that's just more people looking at your art, seeing your name and building your legacy

Images for jury

You really have to photograph your work well - and it's not that difficult

You don't need to take it down to a photo studio - there are just a few tips, search the Internet and find information

And it doesn't really cost that much to hire somebody to come out to your studio and take great pictures. Because if you're investing in your carrier then that's one way to invest

The worst thing in the world for a curator is when somebody sends me some art that looks like it might be good but I can't tell because it's a bad photo.

The presentation of the art is the next thing in importance to the art itself.

Black lines

I see shows and they look different than a show I would curate

There's a tendency when you're looking at a lit screen is to favor things that have a good dark relief. So a well composed black line - design oriented art - is going to be stuff that jurors tend to favor intuitively - or absent consciousness - it doesn't necessarily look good sitting in a gallery

So I have to restrict my impulses (I don't jury on impulse) - if I juried on these optic impulses it would be more design type artworks would get in
I think a lot of jurors are wise to this now - it's a topic being discussed in curatorial circles.

posted on Jan 09, 2013 • permanent link

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