Friday, July 09, 2010

ING Discerning Eye 2010 - Call for Entries

The Call for Entries for the 2010 ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries has been published. The exhibition is an opportunity for lesser known artists to hang alongside internationally known artists. Below you can find details of how to enter plus a comment on whether or not it's worth entering.

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition shows a number of small works selected by an indendent panel of six prominent figures at an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in November (11th November - 21st November 2010)

There are two artists, two collectors and two critics. The exhibition groups the works of each selector so that in six areas of the gallery, the works have a coherence in terms of what appeals to each selector. The work of very popular artists may pop up in two or more of these 'collections'.

What's your chances of getting accepted?

Is it worth you submitting work to this art competition? 

Let's look at the percentage of works are from open submission artists in the last two years:
  • In 2008 279 (49%) of the 572 works on display were from the open submission artists.
  • In 2009 226 (43%) of the 522 works on show were from the open submission artists 
So the OVERALL number of works being shown is reducing
Plus the percentage shown by open submission artists is reducing.  Which isn't a very positive message for those thinking of submitting via the open entry.

HOWEVER of the total of 162 works which sold last year (31% of the work exhibited):  
  • 92 (40% of the open submission) of the sales related to works by open submission artists.  
  • ONLY 25% of the art selected from non-open submission artists sold.  This is something of a negative comment on the popularity (or cost) of the art chosen from international artists known to the selectors because this means that 
So what does that say about the calibre of the selectors?

Maybe there's a bit of an incentive to select more from the open submission this year?   

I'm certainly very much in favour of there being an ABSOLUTE limit on how many works can be selected by each judge from their favoured non-open submission artists.  This is a major opportunity for NEW people to get their work seen in central London and we need to see as much new work as possible rather than seeing an exhibition of self interest and mutual back scratching as has been very evident on the part of some selectors in the past - notably gallery owners!

I'd suggest no more than 20% of the number of works selected by each selector can be from outside the open submission. The fewer works selected by an individual then the lower the number of works which can come from outside the open submission.

How to enter

There are two ways to have your work exhibited
  • either through submitting work via the open submission (see below for a summary). 
  • or by being invited by show work by one of the selectors - an opportunity which is used in very different ways by different selectors in the past. 
This is the website of the Discerning Eye Competition and Exhibition.

This art competition is administered by Parker Harris.  The ING Discerning Eye Call for Entries Leaflet - provides detailed guidance On their website you can find more details about the exhibition and download the following:
The basics are as follows:
  • all works must be handmade and within the maximum size limit (20 inches including frame or plinth/stand)
  • all works nust be handmade (new this year?)
  • drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs are admissable
  • all work must be submitted unpacked (ie no support for unpacking/packing)
  • signed entry schedule must accompany all works
  • final deadline for receipt of entries in London: 4th September 2010. The guidance provides details of receiving dates for 15 towns and cities throughout the UK besides London. The earliest receiving date is 28 August.
  • submission fees £9 per work
  • all works will be included in the online catalogue - and artists have to supply a suitable digital image if selected
  • up to 600 works could be on display. Based on last year and the overall trend, one might expect somewhere between 200 and 250 to be from the open entry
  • all works must be for sale - and 40% is charged on all sales. Last year 180 (31%) of the 572 works sold and of these 52% were from open submission artists (who did a little better than invited artists).
  • work not sold in the exhibition will remain on display in the online exhibition until 1st january 2010
  • detailed guidance on requirements for frames
  • unselected works to be collected 10-11 September
  • unsold works to be collected 26th November

This year’s selectors, who will chose from publicly submitted works and works from invited artists are as listed below.


There are a number of purchase prizes from the ING Purchase Prize which is worth £5,000 to the Humphreys Puchase Prize of £750. Further details are available in the leaflet.

There are also 8 prizes of £250 each for outstanding entries from (sic) "the national regions". I'm not quite sure how artists in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland might feel about their countries being designated 'regions'! I worked for a number of years in different contexts with colleagues across the UK and Ireland and I remember it being drummed into me that one always has to avoid the word 'region' being used for any area which lies outside England!


Admission to the exhibition is free.  Dates for the 2009 ING Discerning Eye Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in The Mall, London SW1 are as follows:
  • opens to the public on Thursday 11th November 2009 at 10 am
  • closes Sunday 21st November

The following are links to previous posts on this blog about the ING Discerning Eye:

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