Thursday, October 03, 2019

WARNING: "Not previously exhibited"

Many open art exhibitions and art competitions have a very simple rule which, for some reason, gets ignored by some artists.
  • Maybe they didn't read the rules of entry properly? 
  • Maybe they didn't think the organisers really meant it?
  • Maybe they thought nobody would notice?

What's the rule that gets ignored?

It's quite simple.

The common rule is that "Work must not have been exhibited previously".

Artwork being received for Stage 2 Judging of the John Moores Painting Competition | copyright Katherine Lloyd
There is absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that what I'm writing about below relates to this past competition

As I've indicated on previous occasions I am a big fan of art societies and art competitions that REFUSE to allow people to exhibit any artwork that they have previously exhibited elsewhere.

The reasons why "work must not have been exhibited previously" is such a good idea are also simple:
  • exhibitions of new artwork need to be just that - fresh to the eye
  • regular attenders of art exhibitions are not short changed by seeing artwork appearing again and again.
  • it says a lot about an artist's ability to produce NEW work on a consistent basis which is also consistently good.  We get a much better appreciation of that artist's overall ability and potential for future success.

Here's the deal. I abhor cheating.
  • I can't expect selectors for art competitions and open exhibitions to have seen numerous other exhibitions
  • I can expect artists to have integrity and to 
    • read the rules of entry - particularly the one relating to "work must not have been exhibited previously"
    • tell the truth on their entry forms
  • I go to lots of exhibitions and I notice things. I also have a very good visual memory and keep all my catalogues! (What prompted this post is I have just noticed something!)

So in future, I'm going public - I'm not going to stay silent when I notice something which breaks the rules.

(There's more than a couple of art competitions which already know I have a track record of speaking up to organisers when something is just plain wrong - some of which regular readers know about and some of which you don't)

For exhibition organisers

In future, if and when I see artwork has been selected for exhibition which I have seen elsewhere in a previous exhibition, I am going to tell the organisers.

What the organisers do then is up to them.
  • If they have got any integrity and gumption they will remove the artwork from exhibition for having broken the entry rules
  • However - if they don't then I will mention this fact in the following year's call for entries. Artists have a right to expect that the organisers as well as the artists play by the rules.

Any exhibition organisers who think rules don't matter should pay much more attention to

For artists

I'm not going to out you if you do it once.  People make mistakes - we all understand that.
The thing is you won't know that I know.....

However, do it twice and I notice and I will take appropriate action - using the appropriate evidence.

The reason being that competitions and juried exhibitions can only maintain integrity and  work properly if EVERYBODY plays by the rules.

That's not my personal view - that's the law.
I also can't think of a single good reason why a cheat should take the place of another artist whose good work did not get selected because the cheat's did.

Moral of the Story

READ THE RULES! Don't cheat yourself as well as others.