Mar 20, 2023
The Online Art Show
The Online Art Show – It’s the rare case where the reality ended up way better than the concept sounded to me. Force yourself to take your time and you won’t be sorry.
Richard Clark is the Founding Editor of Christ and Pop Culture. He is also the managing editor of Gamechurch and a freelance writer for Unwinnable, Paste, and other outlets. He lives with his wife in Louisville, KY and has a MA in Theology and the Arts from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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Apart from a few pieces (which, while good, were pretty de rigueur examples of good—not great—graphic design), most of that was lackluster. Looked like the stuff they pin-up outside a high school art room. As far as curation, there was no sense that the exhibits were put in place by anything beyond base whimsy. One piece did not prepare you for the next. I might as well have just done a Google Image search for art.
I blame the “curator.” Giving himself four days to gather art (by open request), jury to submissions, and organize the exhibition is not nearly enough time to put something together that has any sort of direction or cohesiveness. Given his constraints, I’m surprised it wasn’t worse.
Still, I’m not surprised that it wasn’t better.
Thank you for the suggestions. As the curator, allow me to explain the point of the project a little more.
The art that you viewed was only a piece of the “curation.” My biggest hope in asking for submissions was that I could facilitate and curate culture and community. The art that was posted was simply a means to that end. If you took the time to read the comments and the back and forth that happened as a result of the show, you’ll see that the art was again, only a piece of a much larger project.
As someone who has curated shows in other spaces, I agree with you that this project could not have been more different. While I appreciate the feedback, to compare it to a classic show in a museum really isn’t fair.
Again, I’m sorry you were not impressed by the project and will consider your suggestions next time.
Hey Blaine, thanks for not taking my criticism too hard. I liked the idea of what you put together more than I liked the final product partly because of the (negative) reasons I mentioned and partly because of the (positive) reasons you gave. The idea of community, discussion, and positive critique are all worthwhile, I hope you’ll continue experimenting with the idea.
I do think the time constraints you forced upon yourself hindered the product in the final outcome. I think more time and more care in jurying submissions might have produced a more evocative show and endered a more engaging community discussion.
You’re right though that such an online exhibition shouldn’t be compared too rigourously to realspace exhibition. The online environment has some very specific limitations (such as display size; some of the pieces I would have liked to get a better look at since many of their details were lost in being sized to fit the gallery) as well as some of its own boons (such as a readymade community and egalitarian conversation).
I think my expectations were shifted too by presentation. I think that both the show’s title and the crisp presentation of your website drew me to a preconceive notions both regarding the quality and kinds of work that would be on display. Not that any of the work was bad (but much of it seemed of a level that college or high school art students might put together just as their cutting their teeth in the creative process), it’s just that I expected, well, better. Of course, inspection of personal expectations may have even been in your mind while conceiving this exhibition.
All that is to say, I like the idea and the I wasn’t enthused by the low-fi quality of much of the work, I can see how curating future shows could present an upward learning curve as you find the things that best represent what you want to accomplish, best forge community, and best prompt the kind and level of discussion you’re looking for.
And don’t mind the curmudgeons. Even though we’ll always be critical, we love it when we see you succeed.
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