Blog: Should Art Be Democratic?
Posted on February 24 2018
Featured image: Merri Go Round
Recently when I received a rejection notion for one of the national exhibitions I applied to one of the judge’s comments caused me to pause and really think. He said, “art is not democratic, I chose works that I liked.” Whoa – I said to myself and many things rang through my head. The judge was a photo realist watercolorist – he was not going to choose anything that wasn’t photo realistic. That meant; note I never submit for the judge I just submit works I think are good personally, that perhaps my acceptance into all these national exhibitions has not been based on merit but on democracy!
I know that some of the criteria for national exhibitions is to have a well-balanced exhibition. Should that be the case? Is that how we value art? Or do we value art because we honor its uniqueness and originality? I know that for the most part most watercolorists that enter these things are realists. I know that for the most part the two major watercolor societies, The National Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society, are made up of mostly realists. And die-hard watercolorists; defined as no raised surfaces on the sheet of paper, for a lot of these watercolor societies, in order to survive I think; and not in order to be democratic they started including the category of acrylics as a water-based paint. Raised surfaces changed many of these societies and then add on top of that conceptual or abstract work (no content) wow it seems that is a difficult one even for the above judge.
So, two of the questions to myself were:
- Was my work accepted based on merit or based on democracy? For me I wanted it to be based on merit – I worked for it. How do all of you feel, democracy or merit?
- Is how we value art and place art in art centers and museums throughout the country based on honoring the uniqueness, the authenticity, the originality of a work of art? Or do we value art because we because it is well balanced?