Oh, to be precise, when I say lack of integrity all I mean is...curators, and judges COULD say, I picked these artists because I like them best for various reasons. That's it, end of story. Then there would be no mystery or debate, and the curator and/ judge could take full subjective responsibility. That would be the honorable thing to do (and make that public announcement each time). I did love the show, however, now we need more of them!
I have to say I don't think it's an issue of fragile ego, it's an issue of lack of integrity on the part of curators, judges, and critics. As usual most of what drives decision making is fashion, and fashions change like the season and by locale. It's this big game of who showed where already and who was invited to show somewhere once. It's good for the viewer to remember that just b/c it went through NYC at some point doesn't mean the work would stand out there NOW.
We see such little support like the support this show gave to local artists in such a well publicized manner in Memphis! I think we were all looking to see fresh work. I honestly went through the show quickly b/c it was a picking from pieces I've already seen in local shows or by clicking through the websites of local artists or the galleries websites who represent them. The pieces in person were not that different.
Some artists in the show were just visitors to Memphis when they made the work, but who do not reside here and I felt zero connection to them. I was looking for a roots Memphis show of the artists who work hard and toil in this environment. I'd like to see underrepresented work, not the same pieces again and again.
Lastly, this selection seemed geared to the public who has been under a rock and unawares of the art scene in Memphis over the time selected. For the rest of us artists and art lovers who are hungry for these big celebrated group shows... we'd love more of this and more frequently and with a wider representation of artists and pieces from artists we already know about. I think that would really get people talking about art, and the art scene in Memphis.
I think the Brooks and the Dixon, both need to step up to the plate on this, being the two art museums here. Allow our artists to put a museum showing on their resumes, so they'll "look better" to other venues in other cities. Right now, it's almost as if you must be acknowledged somewhere else, before you'll be acknowledged in Memphis, but that's backwards. Are we afraid of our ability to discern good art in Memphis? Are the gallery owners the only critics in Memphis? The world is churning out tons of artists a second these days millions all vying for the same position. The current laws of representation and acknowledgement are subject to change.
By Frank Murtaugh
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