Under a mountain of obfuscated paperwork, I've discovered a kernel of enlightenment:
The reason so many bad artists make it in this world, is because unlike the inherently creative types, these would-bes are able to jump the many hurdles required to get one's work seen by the public.
Furthermore, since exhibitions will occur regardless, the spaces are often filled with the output of only the most diligent paper pushers, and the temperament that allows one to push through the requisite red tape is antithetical to the spontaneous creative spirit.
Additionally, I posit that today's lack of patronage is largely responsible for this phenomena, in that in days when this type of support was commonplace, the artist was left to create the art, while the patrons took care of the promotion. The drawback was that often the artist, his patron and their associates were the only beneficiaries; that is, until the patron died or donated the works to the public (whichever came first).
As is evidenced amidst my current pile of forms, the instructions to join shows (juried or otherwise) are convoluted beyond belief. In one particular case of a juried show, no deadline is set, nor any instructions for submission given (that I can find) other than that the artist is supposed to fill out the paperwork and physically bring the ready to hang piece to the showplace on opening day; at which time, one assumes, they will decide if it's good enough for the show and auction. What then, are they planning to do with the pieces that are deemed unworthy?
The form shows a fee to set a minimum bid, and states that if the artist expects the piece to sell, they should consider submitting works under $500, as that is the anticipated range of the buyers expected to attend.
This puts the artist in a sticky situation. If there's no minimum bid, a piece could end up going for much less than the artist's intended sale price. Add to that the 30% commission, and participants could easily end up giving the piece up for less than they paid to produce it. It's a crap shoot I don't think many serious artisans will be willing to take, and very poorly conceived on the part of the organizers.
I wonder if these problems are because the organizers are are themselves artists - frustrated no less, who have taken the matters of promotion into their own hands by creating these open venues, while unwittingly perpetuating the same type of incomprehensible process that segregates many fine works while foisting less desirables to the forefront and so on and so forth.
A phone call for clarity met an answering machine. Two emails have gone unanswered. What's to be done?
The artist at her best – wild, passionate, rebellious, and human – is often too large and truthful a creature for society's taste. The artist at her most outlandish – profane, eccentric, even a little mad – is at least as disquieting a figure. ~Eric Maisel