Thursday, February 4, 2010

Contemporary Voices: 70th Annual Juried Exhibition

January 23-March 14, 2010

Woodmere Art Museum’s mission to support the arts of Philadelphia is realized, in part, through its annual Juried Exhibition. This, our 70th juried show, highlights a wide variety of contemporary artists in Philadelphia. Our juror, Michael Schantz, the out-going CEO and Director of Woodmere, selected 125 works by 112 artists out of a pool of over 400. A juror, selected as an expert in the arts, reviews all the submissions and decides who is in the exhibit and who is not. Michael has a strong passion for the arts. He has spent decades viewing art, mounting contemporary exhibitions, and immersing himself in the Philadelphia arts community.

Artists have not always been eager to have their work seen and evaluated either by a professional jury or by the public. For several centuries, artists were primarily concerned with pleasing their patrons. Exhibitions, so common an occurrence in today’s world, are actually a fairly new phenomenon and juried exhibitions, even more so. The first juried exhibition was held at the French Academy in the 1730s. Judged by academics, only a select few works were allowed in. The public had a...
taste for such things and juried shows began to become more popular, and grew into what would be called the Salon. The rise in amateurism in the early 1800’s led to increased numbers of people entering juried shows.

Perhaps one of the greatest values of any public display of art, juried or not, is that it invites people to judge and evaluate the objects on view. We each confront our own inner boundaries and definitions of art every time we see new forms of expression. In the course of looking and questioning we challenge our own assumptions about art and occasionally emerge with a new perspective on the nature of art. “Contemporary Voices: 70th Annual Juried Exhibition” gives artists and lay persons alike the opportunity to consider their own standards of judgment as they confront the diversity of the art in the region

Analyzing a work of art is a captivating experience. It can engage our senses and our intellect. As you explore the works think about formal issues that affect your relationship to the work. What are the characteristics of the works before you? What nouns and adjectives apply? Meditative, bold, complex, nuanced, self-consciousness, playful… Is the art concerned about discovery rather than retracing the known? Is it about abstraction or about figuration? What elements jump out at you?

This year’s works use a wide variety of media and explore a great deal of subject matter. Some common threads present in the exhibition include: Philadelphia’s figurative tradition, the use of personal narrative or allegory, the landscape tradition, realism, and abstraction. Come tour for yourself.

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