Monday, February 7, 2011

The Jury Process: Part II

“Now that you. . .have provided the jurors with a proper Charge. . . what is your role? Briefly put, it’s to bite your tongue. . . .In actual fact, you probably should speak up if a juror is spouting nonsense like, “This is clearly faux marble” when, in fact, it’s real marble. Or, “This is obviously plagiarized from Mrs. Bertha Hetheringworth” when, in fact, it’s an original by that redoutable lady.” Susan Eckenwalder, The Trials of Jurying: A Guide for Exhibition Organizers and Jurors, Ontario Crafts Council, 1989

In the last blog post, I discussed fine art/fine craft jurying in general and a little about how our fine craft gallery handles its jury process. Today, we continue with how jurying proceeds in our gallery.

The first thing we do on jury day is empty the gallery. It’s a pretty hectic process. Every item that has not sold from the previous show must go home with the artist.

packing-up-unsold-items Chaos Time: gallery members pack up all items from previous show that have not sold

The wall quilts and other wall art are taken down from the walls. The scarves (flowing silk scarves, beautiful handwoven scarves, exotic hand knitted scarves) are removed from their racks. The jewelry in the jewelry cases is carefully packed away. Approximately six gallery members work on jury day, and everyone helps pack up the previous show. The goal is to have a completely empty gallery by 10:00 a.m., when jurying begins.

empty-back-side-wall1These empty walls and jewelry cases will soon be filled with lovely items for the new show

While some of us are inside the gallery packing up unsold items from the previous show, others are in the corridor immediately outside with all the bags of new items destined to be juried for the next show. It may look like big mish-mash, but it’s not. Each individual item in every bag and on the clothing rack in the photo below is separately entered on the artist’s inventory sheet with a unique inventory number.

bags-of-items2 Items brought for jurying into the new galley show

Before jurying begins (and, in fact, as it continues during the day) two gallery members carefully check each inventory sheet against the items that have actually been brought to the gallery. We have to be very careful to account for every item. If an item is missing, we have to ask whether the artist forgot to bring it to the gallery, whether it was brought to the gallery but was left in the storage closet, whether it might have been dropped on the street as the artist carried it into the gallery, or any of many other mishaps that could have taken place.

item-checkin1Each item is individually checked in; note the inventory sheets held by the item-checker at the right

For another look at how jurying is done, here’s an article by Barb Macy on jurying for a craft fair. Fairs, of course, are different from galleries, but many of Barb’s observations apply to our jury process as well.

Next blog post: the display managers put up the new show.

If you happen to be at the Torpedo Factory on a Monday morning, and you see a lot of activity in the corridor outside of Studio 18, that’s probably one of our gallery juries taking place. Please stop by; we’ll be happy to explain what’s going on.

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