It was a remarkable day plowing through more than 270 submissions with my colleagues
Rebecca Shepard and Peter Stake. We kept at it for about six hours without a break.
That was my preference; with so much to see and consider, I opted to focus on the
matter at hand for as long as the process took. About an hour into it, we settled
into a productive groove. I was pleased to see diverse media (painting, sculpture,
drawing, printmaking, fiber, graphic design, and digital animation) represented, and
for the most part, each medium was considered on its own merits as a coherent group.
This approach allowed me to keep track of related entries and to make informed judgments.
The vetting process remained in flux, as works were reviewed sequentially throughout the day, considered, provisionally accepted, and, when necessary, considered again. I had an immediate response to some works and these were marked for inclusion. Others stayed in the mix until I had a clear sense of how they measured up against their peers and, ultimately, the entire show. The central criterion for each selection, regardless of medium, was qualitative. Any idea, even the most conceptual, is only as good as its execution. Granted, some ideas fly in the face of meticulous technique and it’s important to recognize that possibility. The tools that enable creation in any discipline, be it the visual arts, music, theater, dance, or literature, are only a means to an end, the vehicle for one’s self-expression.
Content counts for a lot in my curatorial consciousness. So do humor and quirky images that reveal the personality of their maker. The poetry of small things colors my perception of the world. We’re encouraged to think big, and that's all right, so long as we keep our eyes on the seemingly insignificant details that can surprise and enrich us….Works that earned an award or honorable mention had the distinction of appearing fully realized, or suggesting impressive potential, regardless of their size.
Chief Curator Emeritus
Albright-Knox Art Gallery