Saturday, January 28, 2017

BBCFour Art of France - with Andrew Graham-Dixon

Andrew Graham-Dixon - one of the better presenters of art programmes on the television - has a new series on BBC4 called Art of France.

The idea is to provide a visual journey through French Art history; from  via Versailles, to French Revolution and national collapse in 1870 and 1871, and finally, in episode three, to the rise of impressionism and existentialism.

Here's the trailer in case you missed it.

There are going to be three episodes lasting one hour each.  The first episode will be broadcast on Monday 30th January.

  • EPISODE 1 (30th January): Plus Ca Change - French gothic and Enlightenment via Versailles

Art historian and critic Andrew Graham-Dixon opens his latest series with the dramatic story of French art, a story of the most powerful kings ever to rule in Europe with their glittering palaces and astounding art to go in them. He also reveals how art emerged from a struggle between tradition and revolution, between rulers and a people who didn't always want to be ruled.
Starting with the first great revolution in art, the invention of Gothic architecture, he traces its development up until the arrival of Classicism and the Age of Enlightenment - and the very eve of the Revolution. Along the way some of the greatest art the world has ever seen was born including the paintings of Poussin, Watteau and Chardin, the decadent Rococo delights of Boucher and the great history paintings of Charles le Brun.
Martin Hoyle at the Financial Times looks as if he's been given a preview - read his preview/review of The Art of France BBC4 

Sainte Chapelle - Upper Chapel, Paris, France
- which will be seen in the first episode 

  • EPISODE 2 (6th February): There will be blood - Versailles, to French Revolution and national collapse in 1870 and 1871

Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how art in France took a dramatic turn following the French Revolution that ushered in a bold new world. From the execution of King Louis XVI and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte - a figure who simultaneously repelled and inspired artists of his time - through to the rise of Romanticism and an art of seduction, sex and high drama, Andrew explores artists including Jacques-Louis David - whose art appeared on the barricades and in the streets - as well as the work of Delacroix, Ingres and the tragic but brilliant Theodore Gericault.

  • EPISODE 3 (13th February): Rise of impressionism and existentialism

They haven't said anything about this one as yet.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Would you like to be an Art Detective?

I'm beginning to feel a bit like an art detective!  

Regular readers of this blog will realise I've not been doing a lot of posting of late. Well the reason - which I still can't talk about in any detail - is that I've been engaged in a hunt for evidence that a painting is what it is thought to be.

As in the owners are very confident it is what they say it is - but the painting lacked documentation of the sort generated via a gallery sale because it's never been anywhere near a gallery.

Anyway I've been engaged in a fascinating chase of every last titbit of facts that could be unearthed about it. The great thing to date is that for every bit of information I could find I've also now got independent verification and it all stacks up and makes a consistent trail.

and so we move on to the next stage via a rather lengthy statement of provenance....

Of which more later - as in another post....

Art UK and the Art Detective

This morning I got a request to go and advise on a painting on the Art Detective website - which is really what this post is about.

I knew that:
Also that it is a greatwebsite for seeing art held in public collections in the UK
Discover 213,721 artworks. Explore 3,256 venues. Meet 38,402 artists.
What I didn't know is that it has
The Art Detective website
Or that it had won an award
Art Detective received the Museums and the Web 'Best of the Web' award in 2015 (past overall winners include the Brooklyn Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum). So far, this is the only time a British institution has won the award.
Anyway this morning I ended up reading:
Types of Art Detective contributors
  • Members of the public
  • Art UK
  • Collection – the collections featured on the Art UK website
  • Group Leader – someone who leads a discussion linked to a particular group. Groups cover subject matter such as portraits, maritime history, Scottish art, etc. Each Group Leader has an established reputation in the subject area
  • The Panel – a small group comprising respected academics and practitioners who will only be contacted if Art UK, Collection and Group Leader cannot come to a conclusion
as a preliminary to getting involved this morning in a discussion about a flower painting owned by Worcester College, Oxford on a discussion titled Does anyone recognise the monogram on this flower painting?

I was intrigued as to why the discussion to date had gone backwards and forwards in terms of looking at the monogram - but nobody was looking at the painting, the media and the skill employed in the painting - which is where I started. You can see my comments in the thread.

I guess if you ask a specific question about a monogram or signature that's what people tend to focus on whereas I've always maintained the signature is always in the painting and its subject matters and how it is designed and painting.

Feel free to add your own perspective to the discussion - but you'll have to sign up and become an art detective first!

The Art Detective website is split into sections.

It has Groups which focus on different genres and centuries

People work via Discussions - and here's the current list with my one at the top of the page.

Schedule of current discussions
Plus it also has a resource for those engaged in research to identify a painting called  How to research a painting: a beginner’s guide

and finally it has Discoveries!

Some of you will remember a weekly series of posts I used to do on this blog called Who Painted this?  For those missing that series, I think I may have found you another challenge for the brain cells - except in this one the person asking the question doesn't have the answer!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - Call for Entries

Sky Arts  starts screening the programmes for Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 tonight.
PLUS entries are now open for Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018Below is a summary of:
  • the new series of Portrait Artist of the Year 2017
  • what you have to do enter Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - before the deadline of 3rd March - for filming in April
  • how the competition works

Portrait Artist of the Year 2017

There are nine episodes in total in the 2017 series.  The first episode is being transmitted at 8pm tonight (Tuesday, January 24th 2017) on Sky Arts and on demand.

Sky Arts got hundreds of entries which were reduced down to just 54 artists (9 per heat).

Sitters for the third series of this show include
  • first episode: Stanley Tucci, Indira Varma and Freddie Highmore.  
  • subsequent weeks:  Richard E Grant, Sue Perkins, Rick Wakeman, Nina Sosanya, Phil Davis, Trevor Eve, Lesley Manville, Sian Phillips, Adrian Chiles, Katie Kissoon, Dave Myers, Raleigh Ritchie, Parminder Nagra, Ben Okri and James Norton.
  • Semi-Final (week 7): Imelda Staunton 
  • Final (week): Tom Courtenay.  The winner is awarded a £10,000 commission to paint a portrait of a very well known celebrity, which will be displayed in the National Gallery of Ireland.
  • The Commmission (week 9): The prize portrait commission for the winning artist was revealed on New Year’s Eve as television presenter and comedian Graham Norton.

The programmes are presented by Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell - with the latter being a leading figure in the arts for nearly six decades.

Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell return as the presenters of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017

The portrait paintings are judged as previously by


The Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 Winners Exhibition can be viewed at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square in London between Tuesday 7th March, 2017 - Friday 31st March, 2017.

Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 

The winner of Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 will be awarded a £10,000 commission and £500 to spend on art materials at Cass Art.

The deadline for Applications for Portrait Artist of the Year closes on 3rd March 2017.

There is a page of terms and conditions and entry is online

Who can enter

The Competition is open to all artists – amateur, professional or hobbyists - but there are some restrictions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

BBC's NEW Big Painting Challenge

The Big Painting Challenge on the BBC - last seen in 2015 - is back on our screens - starting in mid-February 2017.

Below I look at what remains the same and what's different in Series 2 - in the context of what's IN and what's OUT!

What's the same?

  • It's still an art competition on television!
  • It's going to be broadcast on BBC1 (and iPlayer)
  • It still has 10 participants. I'm guessing that those selected will 'tick box' the varying dimensions of 'being representative' of a diverse UK community in terms of gender, geography, age and other aspects of diversity.

So what's different?

New presenters Mariella Fristrup and Rev. Richard Coles


  • OUT - Six themed episodes with artists with different levels of experience and varying use of media tackling different subject matter each week
  • IN - A six-week artistic 'boot camp' - where artists learn new skills each week


  • OUT - Judging solely by Judges Daphne Todd OBE and Lachlan Goudie
  • IN - This time around 
    • the public get to have some sort of input 
    • plus there will be three judges. Daphne and Lachlan are also joined by Dr. David Dibosa
    • BUT the Judges still have the final say on who gets eliminated.
At the end of each episode, the contestants' work will be exhibited to members of the public before three judges - Dr David Dibosa, Lachlan Goudie and Daphne Todd - decide which contestant will be eliminated.

Studio / Atelier

  • IN - a nod in the direction of the atelier system. Participants will get guidance around different media and techniques. 
  • IN - Added in to the mix are two mentors - Pascal Anson and Diana Ali
    • located in separate studios 
    • providing contenders with guidance  through various painting challenges (sounds like the voice tutors for those in singing competitions to me)

Bottom line, it seems to me there has been a concerted effort to introduce different perspectives on art from both practice and diversity perspectives.

The idea is that the Mentors will guide the 10 contestants through different disciplines such as portraiture, landscape and still life - but will also push participants out of their comfort zones.

I think it's very likely that these mentor sessions will also be independently available on iPlayer.

I think it's more likely that progress through the rounds may rely LESS on whether or not you happen to be skilled in the medium in use or subject matter that particular week. (Certainly some of the decisions as to who went last time seemed much more down to skill with a medium than overall art talent).


  • OUT are Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon
  • IN are Mariella Frostrup and the Reverend Richard Coles - neither are particularly known for connection to painting - however Mel and Sue and baking wasn't an obvious connection either! 

Blog Analysis

The BBC didn't know this - but they do now! 

As last time (see below) I'll be watching every programme and offering my comments on what happened.

For those who want to revisit the 2015 Big Painting Challenge you can find all my past blog posts still available - and listed below!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Calendar of Major Art Society Open Exhibitions in 2017 - and the need for change!

I have a page on this blog dedicated to UK Art Societies: Open Exhibitions 2017-18. This has just been updated for 2017

It now includes:
  • a calendar of deadlines for entries by month in 2017
  • summary details of ALL the open exhibitions in 2017 of ALL the major national and regional art art societies in the UK - organised by:
    • FBA Societies at the Mall Galleries
    • Societies based at the Bankside Gallery
    • Other UK Art Societies - subject specific
    • Other UK Art Societies - media specific
    • Other UK Art Societies - artist specific
    • Other major UK Art Societies not based in London
  • Tips for entering open exhibitions
Below I take a look at "how open is open" and explain why I'll be counting and changing my reviews of open art exhibitions in 2017.

View of an open art exhibition at the Mall Galleries

Reviewing "how open is open?" - an innovation for 2017

The purpose of an open entry

The open entry to an annual exhibition organised by an art society provides:
  • the art society with its life blood of future members.  
  • a stimulus to some 'resting' members to raise their game
  • a venue for emerging artists to raise the profile of their art and interest both galleries and art collectors

What an open entry art exhibition is not

The open entry is NOT a cash cow - used primarily to subsidise an exhibition of members' work.

If it is treated as such - or appears to artists to be used as such - then it
  • diminishes the credibility of the society and verges on deceit
  • attracts adverse and critical comment; and 
  • credible future members will be more inclined to market their artwork elsewhere - online and/or with other open exhibitions/competitions which are much more transparent as to the chances of being selected.

How serious is an art society about its open exhibition?

Speaking personally, an open exhibition for me should be:
  • broadly speaking 50:50 (members:open).  
  • 60:40 is OK but could be improved
  • whereas 75:25 (and worse) is NOT and needs action.
Others may have other views.

My notion of the right sort of ratio is based on 
  • the notion that an annual exhibition need not be the only exhibition an art society holds - and other exhibitions can be member only. 
  • if you describe something as an open exhibition then that needs to be a dominant characteristic of the exhibition - otherwise the Advertising Standards Authority might have something to say. 
From a consumer perspective there are some key indicators of how serious an art society is about making its annual exhibition genuinely open. These are very easy to observe online - before, during and after an exhibition. 

I look to see whether or not the society:
  • has a website page dedicated to the exhibition
  • makes sure its exhibition page is current and up to date
  • gives artists plenty of notice  of deadlines and requirements of entries
  • sells the benefits of exhibiting with the society OR just focuses on the terms and conditions of entry.
  • uses social media to remind people about the exhibition - and shows people the work done by its artist members
Bottom line, a number of art societies have some considerable work they need to do to convey they are serious about their open exhibitions.

However I'd like to highlight two art societies which do well with respect to their website information for non-members:
RSMA Open Exhibition 2016 - in the Threadneedle Space at the Mall Galleries

Why open exhibitions need to change

There have been a number of changes in the last 11 years that I've been writing this blog

  • Emerging artists now have many more opportunities to market their art direct to the art buyer/ collector than they did some 10-15 years ago
  • the entry process for open exhibitions has changed and become much more accessible. Digital entry is now the norm.
  • the number of open entry artworks selected and hung seem to reduced quite significantly in some of the open exhibitions I review. I'm not entirely sure why this is. It's maybe related to the fact that some societies have downsized the exhibition to make it more economical to run - but without maintaining the artworks hung ratio of members to open entries.  Their focus seems to have been on keeping members happy in the short term rather than on the long term well-being of the Society (see below).
It seems to me that some of the basic concepts and processes underpinning "the Open Exhibition" need to be revisited, reviewed and updated to keep them very relevant to those who aspire to become professional artists - and future members of the art societies.

The need to have a "business rethink" is particularly relevant to those societies with an ageing profile of members (and both they and I know who they are!) These are the societies that have a critical need to create a strategy to:
  • sustain the art society over time
  • maintain a better balance of members across the age ranges
  • grow volunteers within its member base to enable more active exhibiting by the society - in galleries and online
That in essence means working towards enlarging the open entry not diminishing it!  Younger and more digitally active/aware artists need to become members!

The need to be more transparent

So I've decided to create a bit of a stimulus by starting to count and analyse the open entries in a systematic and transparent way i.e. I'll publish the numbers.

Many of the art competitions are now completely explicit now as to the:
  • number of entries received
  • number of entries pre-selected
  • number of entries selected for the exhibition.
It's no longer good enough to take money off people for entering their artwork in an open without providing some context as to how likely it is that their artwork will be selected i.e. what percentage of entries get hung in the exhibition.

NEW FOR 2017: I shall be:
  • trying to find out the number of entries submitted to an open exhibition
  • counting the number of artworks selected for hanging from the open entry
  • calculating what percentage of the exhibition is selected from the open entry. 
  • noting the ratio of members' artworks to open entries.
For example, the Pastel Society has selected 100 artworks from the open entry for their annual exhibition which is held next month.  I'll be calculating the rest of the numbers once I've seen the exhibition and the catalogue.

Can you help?

I'll be more than happy if artists round the country want to join in with this review of "How open is an open?" and do the same count for exhibitions I can't get to. 

Or just send me the catalogues if its clear who are members and non-members!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Making A Mark is a Top 10 Art Blog in the UK 2017

Making A Mark has been identified (yet again) as a TOP 10 ART BLOG IN THE UK.

This time the company giving my blog this award are called Vuelio and they are marketing/PR/communications company who realise the importance of blogs to connecting with specific target audiences.

This company's Social Media Index has Making A Mark ranked at 6 in the UK.
6. Making a MarkAuthored by artist and writer Katherine Tyrrell, Making a Mark is one of the top art blogs with 10 million page views. Described as a go-to for punters and artists alike, this blog includes annual itineraries of major UK art exhibitions as welll as in-depth news, analysis and spotlights on new talent.

How Vuelio ranks blogs 

This page explains How does Vuelio decide its Top 10 Blog Ranking - for very many different categories of topics.


  • they've been doing this since 2008
  • it's calculated according to an ever-evolving algorithm
  • The methodology takes into consideration a number of factors including social sharing, topic-related content, post frequency, social media influence, traffic, design and interactivity.
  • "Our database is constantly updating, as it draws on real-time information about media properties and the influencers responsible for them"

I'd love to know what they're using as factors. The two other indices which rate Making A Mark both publish their factors - and one of them identified relative rankings (even if it gets it wrong for MAM because it uses the Alexa ranking for the site as opposed to the site - because it assumes all sites are American!  VERY annoying!). Some time I may consider switching the domain URL to a .com - it would make a huge difference to rankings!

However to be honest while the awards are nice to have, it's always nicer to get the personal words of appreciation - and to see the traffic numbers and know how many people think my blog is worth visiting.

The Top 10 Art Blogs in the UK

Do take a look at the other art blogs which also made it to the top ten.  The ones I rate as art blogs are:

  • Jackson's Art Blog - they really make an effort and are an excellent example of how a retailer can do so much more than punt their wares
  • Art History News - this is the blog by Bendor Grosvenor who's the chap who turns up on the BBC and does techie things with paintings which they are trying to identify and verify. he also knows a lot about art history and what's new in that area of interest.
  • We make money not art - This blog has been around slightly longer than Making A Mark! It's had a very snazzy makeover since I last looked. It's an occasional read for me but it's more interesting than most although I have to pick and choose the things I want to read. It's written by RĂ©gine Debatty who is a writer, curator and critic and an an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London.
My criticism of the Vuelio listing generally (which I've already told them) is that:
  • it is far too London-centric and urban/street art oriented 
  • there are lots of other blogs around which reflect a more diverse perspective on art in the UK. 
It may be that the street/urban art blogs get massive followings from young oiks with a spray can - but art fundamentally is defined by more than the number of Facebook or Twitter followers you have!

Indie vs Corporates: What's interesting is how many blogs are written by individuals and how many are written by corporate bodies and/or teams.  My personal thought on that topic is that blogs written by individuals should ALWAYS be judged separately from those written by teams.

Let's hear it for the indie effort!

So which blogs do you read which are based in the UK?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trump inauguration - artists to strike or not to strike?

An interesting development in the run-up to 20 January and the new President Elect's inauguration is the notion of artists going on strike!

I was amazed at the number of articles this idea has generated and I'm guessing most of you won't have read them. Some are worth reading if you want to get an idea of the pros and cons for this idea which seems to revolve around when is a strike just a posture rather than an act with real impact.

I decided to line them up in terms of whether they are
  • broadly supportive
  • think the action is futile and/or there are better ways of making a stand
  • just want to report the news and/or haven't made their minds up yet
The article most quoted by other articles!

But first the facts...

A document entitled ‘J20 Art Strike Letter’ has been published for circulation. The letter is addressed to museums, galleries, studios, art schools, and other cultural institutions and is signed by various figures in the art world. These include:
  • artists - including Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman and a lot of people I've never heard of
  • art critics and educationalists - again the names mean nothing to me so I've no idea of their weight or otherwise.
The Art Strike Image
The letter states
We, the undersigned artists and critics, lend our support to the call for an Art Strike on Friday, January 20, 2017, the day that Donald Trump will assume the presidency of the United States.
The call reads:
#J20 Art Strike
  • An Act of Noncompliance on Inauguration Day.
  • No Work, No School, No Business.
  • Museums. Galleries. Theaters. Concert Halls. Studios. Nonprofits. Art Schools.
  • Close For The Day.
  • Hit The Streets. Bring Your Friends. Fight Back.
This is the Facebook Page for the event. I have to say that it doesn't look very promising in terms of numbers who have said they will be involved so far (if you remember these people will be spread across the USA). Thew comments are worth a read!

These are the media articles about the letter and the proposed strike - divided into the different camps.

PRO - it will make a difference

AGAINST - People are posturing and/or there are better ways of making a stand

  • ArtNet News Artists Criticize Proposed Strike for Inauguration Day - The divisive event has art world players debating how to effectively protest Trump. (This is the counterbalance to the first article listed above) 
  • The Guardian (Jonathan Jones) | has responded from across the pond with this article The 'art strike' against Trump is futile – cultural elites cannot effect change - Calling on cultural institutions to close on inauguration day only serves to make the likes of Cindy Sherman and Richard Serra feel good about themselves Very widely quoted by other articles. Maybe significant he's the only art critic who is not American who works for a liberal newspaper? I'm very much behind a lot of what he says - see below for an extract.
Yet an art strike is just about the least effective idea for resisting Trump that I have heard. The American left is in for a long, wretched period of irrelevance if this is its idea of striking back. I admire some of these artists greatly, but the notion that museums will help anything by closing their doors, or students will scare middle America into its senses by cutting art classes, tastes not of real hard-fought politics but shallow radical posturing by some very well-heeled and comfortable members of a cultural elite.
I like this response by Weinberg (must be the "child of the 60s" connection!). So much so I'm going to quote his words - with my emphasis in bold
Everyone knows there’s the J20 Art Strike and we’ve been asked what we are going to do. Are we going to be closed?…We are opening our doors as wide open as possible. We are not closing down. We’re actually going to do the opposite: We’re going make the museum free—pay what you wish—all day Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Being a child of the ‘60s, all I could think of was the teach-ins [the response on college campuses, including mine, to the controversial Vietnam War]. So we are going to have a series of discussion groups that will be going on all day long. It will be open for people to bring their own contributions to this, whether their readings, artworks, songs or performances.

This our territory. This is America. And we really need to express what we believe….I feel strongly about the Whitney’s role in that. It is our role not to let them own what we think of as America but to express what we believe is America….

INDEPENDENT - we just report the news

What's also very interesting is the number of institutions and media outlets which have not taken a stand on this or written about it. I think it's presenting a number of them with a bit of a conundrum in terms of which way to lean!

....and what do I think?

My own take on it, for what it's worth, is that a strike only works when it represents a groundswell of opinion which has been grown over time.  

A strike has to be big and it has to be solid to count for anything.

The danger of a strike organised by those who like taking stands on things they feel strongly about - without any existing connection to a wider community - is that it can become a damp squib. In which case it only serves to undermine the perspective of those taking part and emboldens those they may be protesting against.

That's why for my part I think
  • there are more effective ways of making a stand
  • the action taken by the Whitney Museum is far more effective in the long run. 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Mall Galleries Call for Entries Checklist 2017 - Federation of British Artists' Exhibitions

The dates for deadlines for submissions, receiving days and exhibition dates for all the 2017 open exhibitions at the Mall Galleries by national art societies - that are Federation of British Artists (FBA) members - are listed below.

Entrance to the the Headquarters of the Federation of British Artists
17 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5BD

All dates have been announced on the Mall Galleries website. The link in the exhibition date below is to the page with all the details of dates and process re. submissions.

If you want a page of relevant dates for all the FBA Societies that you can print out try the 2017 Call for Entries Checklist of Dates pdf file produced by the Mall Galleries.

Note that some exhibitions are shorter or longer and that the dates of some submissions or exhibitions have moved by one week or more.

FBA Exhibitions in 2017

ALL work must be submitted online.

Art Society
Submit Online - DEADLINE
Receiving Day
in 2017
Exhibition Dates
in 2017
(November 2016)
7 January
9 December 2016
21 January
(6 days shorter than 2016)
6 January 2017
11 February
(1week longer than 2016)
20 January 2017
25 February
24 February 2017 earlier than 2016
8 April
30 June 2017
(1 week later than 2016)
5 August
(1 week later than 2016)
(1 day shorter)
21 July 2017
(2 weeks earlier than 2016)
26 August
(2 weeks earlier than 2016)
(1 week earlier / 1 day shorter)
dates not announced
25 August 2017
7 October
30 November - 10 December

The proper Checklist also includes dates for the following:
  • Online Submissions open
  • Login for Results of Online Assessment
  • Check for Results of Panel Assessment
  • Unaccepted Collection of artwork
  • Unsold Collection of artwork

FBA Exhibitions in 2018

The following dates are predictions based on the last two years.

Art Society
Submit Online - DEADLINE
Receiving Day
in 2018
Exhibition Dates
in 2018
November 2017
early January
February - March
December 2017
late January
March - April
January 2018

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

RA Summer Exhibition 2017 - Call For Entries

Today's the day that entry forms go on sale for the world's largest open art competition - the 2017 Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts!

This post is for:
  • for those who have NOT submitted before;
  • for those who have need a reminder of what they need to do; and
  • all those who need to be reminded why entry effectively closes BEFORE the deadline!
NEW This year five of the eight selectors (62%) are women! I'm racking my brains and I can't remember the last time, if any, since the proportion of women selectors was this high.

Outside Burlington House during last year's RA Summer Exhibition

This is a LONG POST providing an overview of:
  • The Call for Entries Process
    • who can enter
    • what you can enter
    • the website and key documents you need to know about 
    • how to enter: the timeline and process
    • how the RA helps prospective entrants make a good job of their entry
    • why it's important not to delay making a start on your application
  • The Selection Process
    • how it works
    • Who's doing the selection and hang this year 
    • who's chairing the Panel (and I met her and had a chat at the back end of last year)
  • The Summer Exhibition - including
    • links at the end to my previous reviews of Summer Exhibitions at the RA - which include images so you can see what you're up against.
  • TIPS: how not to get caught out - things to beware of and things to think about
  • Anything NEW or changes I've spotted - compared to previous years - are also highlighted below in the relevant section. 

I probably haven't spotted all of them so if you can see any more please leave a comment and I will update this post.

Call for Entries Process - who/what/how and FAQs

The Basics

First the basics:
  • The How to Enter website is
  • Buy your entry form NOW!  This is the first day they are available for sale 
    • You cannot enter if you've not bought one
    • Once the first 12,000 forms have been sold, that's it. No more will be issued...
    • don't leave thinking about your entry to the last minute!
Last year, entries sold out before the deadline so we encourage artists to purchase theirs as soon as possible.
  • Submission is digital - follow this process
    • EITHER You need to register first - and should do this now! This is the application form to register as an individual artist. You must ALSO activate the account (click the link in the email you will receive) 
    • AND/OR Login to your account (if you've submitted work in 2016 you can use the same account again)
    • Buy your Entry Form / pay the fee - one for each work (The link for purchasing a form will be available from Wednesday 4 January) You cannot get a refund and you cannot transfer the form to someone else.
There are two types of Entry Form: one for submitting one Work and another for submitting two Works. 
    • Fill in your artwork details using the online form. You can do this at a later date prior to the deadline once you've bought a form
    • Upload image(s) of your artwork
  • Deadline for Entries23:59 on Wednesday 15 February 2017. To complete your submission by that date you MUST have:
    • Stage 1: paid the non-refundable fee and got access to the digital online entry form (one for each work). 
    • Stage 2a: completed entry details and submitted the digital entry form (previously purchased).
    • Stage 2b: uploaded digital images of the artwork.
    • Late submissions and/or excuses are not accepted.
  • Who can enter: Anyone.  So long as you bought your entry form in time... (see below)
    • There are no constraints on age or where you live. 
    • You can enter as a member of a collaboration (but your membership of that collaboration counts towards the limit on your entries)
    • You can even be anonymous and use a pseudonym. 
    • (However if live outside the EU you will need to read this notice about VAT Information - International Artists (PDF) or your work won't get assessed.)
  • No. of works you can enter:  Two - that's 
    • two on your own 
    • or one on your own and one as a member of a collaboration 
    • or two which resulted from a collaboration. 
    • It costs you £25 to enter one work (£50 for two)
  • What you can enter
    • The exhibition showcases painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.
    • Artwork must be original and capable of being exhibited. You either own the copyright or have all required permissions in writing.
By submitting a Work(s) when You are the Artist of such Work(s), You confirm that You hold all intellectual property rights in the Work(s) and that You have obtained any third party consents required for the use of third party owned material contained in the Work(s).
  • Ineligible works - what you cannot enter
    The following types of work are inadmissible:
    • works that are over the specified size limit of 244 x 350cm (excluding sculpture and architectural models, where any one part of a large sculpture or architecture model should not exceed 200cm on the longest side and the total weight may be no more than 3,000kg when packed);
    • works that have already been exhibited in a major institution in London (excluding prints);
    • printed reproductions of original artworks;
    • works that contain noxious or toxic substances, have flammability below 50°c or incorporate dangerous electrical appliances;
    • editions of sculptures cast in materials that are different to the materials of the exhibited work

The Important Documents

Monday, January 02, 2017

John Berger (1926 - 2017) Videos and Obituaries

John Berger has died aged 90.  His essay on art criticism "Ways of Seeing" was hugely influential within the art world.

Below you can
  • SEE videos of some of his programmes and 
  • READ his obituaries. I've very rarely seen so many overseas obituaries so fast after an announcement of a death in the art world.
This is a video of a BBC documentary to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2016. It's filmed at his house in France where he has lived for the last 50 years. Screenshots are from this BBC documentary John Berger: The Art of Looking - I'm sure the iPlayer link will be revived very soon. In the meantime here it is on YouTube.

Below are four videos of his seminal programme - Ways of Seeing - first broadcast by the BBC in 1972. His book associated with the programme became a set text for many art degrees in the UK.

Plus some tweets from those marking his death.