Saturday, January 28, 2012

The challenges of juried shows... or American Tapestry Biennial 9

Life moves on in all it's vagaries...
A few years ago I wrote a post with this photo in it, and talking about this dog named many things including Big Ten, Jita, Diez, Pumpkin Martinez (her valley gangster name), Barbie Cinnamon (the little neighbor girl favored that one), and TROUBLE. Big Ten disappeared a year or two ago, but the bumper sticker she was modeling in the blog post is still on my car (which is still running at 228,000 miles--I frequently invoke the Volkswagen gods asking for intercession on my car's behalf--I could really use another year out of her).

The sticker now looks like this:

"On the Loo" is how this week has felt.
Some weeks are hard and this one was for several reasons. When you sit in an 8 am Monday morning meeting and watch all your co-workers lose their jobs, you know that the week is not going to go smoothly no matter what. 

Things bumbled along until Thursday morning when I found out bright and early that my favorite tapestry did not make the cut for ATB9. Perhaps it is best to get bad news before 8 am, but it certainly put a damper on the day. It was a huge disappointment. However, if you're going to get bad news about a show you really wanted to get into, best that it come from Thomas Cronenberg. I know many other people got his letter, and this bit was the best:

Please keep in mind that the selection for this show is that of one juror. He chose works that fit his vision. Many tapestries not selected for this exhibition could easily be selected for another show.

We encourage you to continue the effort to exhibit your tapestry, and to educate more people about this remarkable medium of artistic expression.

So I got the list of the people who did get in yesterday and was surprised by a few names on the list and was even more surprised to see the absence of other names I expected to see there (this part, of course, made me feel immensely better knowing that I am in good company over here in the rejected pile--misery loves company and outstanding artists are not necessarily appreciated by any particular juror. I know this, but it always takes a day or two to come back to it after a rejection). There were hundreds of entries, and only 41 were selected. The odds weren't good to start with considering the caliber of people who enter this show.  But hope springs eternal.

Juried shows are a mystery and a continuing question for me. Is it worth entering them? Does it get my name out there and get my work seen? Or is it a waste of time? After a margarita and some amazing chipotle chocolate ice cream at my new favorite restaurant Thursday evening (Pepperhead), I felt miles better and realized that I will continue to enter shows and the rejections will come regularly.  But occasionally I'll get in and that will be fun too.

I can't wait to see the show and I certainly hope it finds a couple more great venues (selfishly in a place I want to visit). Congratulations to the artists who did get in. I am looking forward to seeing your work in person.

I will be looking for a replacement for that Goddess on the Loo bumper sticker... any suggestions?

This is the piece I submitted to ATB9.
Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence V: The Center Place44 x 44 inches; hand-dyed wool tapestry


  1. A beautiful tapestry, Rebecca. Having worked with many jurors behind the scenes, I know that even they are always disappointed with having to leave pieces like this out, because of space or because they have a certain vision of what the overall show 'should' include. I hope to see this exhibited somewhere soon. Convergence has some exhibit deadlines coming up, too. And the colors in this really would fit their ocean-y theme.

  2. What a gorgeous piece, Rebecca. So filled with light. Juried shows like this are always full of surprises. One of the 7 times I was rejected, I found out later that a very famous tapestry artist (who has works in major museums) had also been rejected, and it sure made me feel a lot better!

  3. Rebecca,
    Tears come to my eyes when I see your piece and know it was among those not accepted. Your work continues to amaze me in its complexity and depth--complexity of concept and depth of color in the sense that one's eyes are drawn into your pieces.

    Your work is some of the best being done currently, in my opinion. The very best.

    My work was also rejected but that's OK. I submitted what I did with total belief that it would be rejected. Why did I submit when I knew it wouldn't get in? Well, because it was what I felt strongest about at the time and because it was also the most current of my conceptual process.

    Juried shows continue to be subjective no matter what anyone says, no matter how hard a juror tries to objectify his/her selections. I stopped being a juror several years ago when I realized that no matter how hard I tired to be fair there were always more pieces of worth that I missed in my selections.

    You are an amazing artist, Rebecca.


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