Have you ever wondered how they judge the Archibald Prize?

Last Friday I delivered my large mixed media panorama piece to the Art Gallery of NSW for a competition. For some reason it is quite a nervous time for I’m sure all artists entering. It’s hard to be truly objective about your own work and at the end of the day the rational end’s up being “You’ve got to be in it, to even have the chance of being hung”. And wouldn’t that be an incredible thing.

20150625_154304sml At The Art Scene Framers

20150626_115057sml 20150626_115143sml 20150626_115350                                                Art Gallery NSW

The competition falls into three categories, the most well known being the Archibald Prize started in 1921. The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’. The other two prizes are the Wynne for landscape pictures and sculpture and the Sulman for subject or genre pictures.

Judging for the Archibald and Wynne Prizes is carried out by 11 trustees of the Art Gallery NSW. ”One by one the works are carried or wheeled in by the gallery’s installation crew to be viewed by the trustees, who decide by consensus if the work is ‘in’, ‘out’ or ‘maybe in’. It is estimated that each works has about 11 seconds to impress the panel, just because of the sheer volume of thousands of works entered. How difficult would that be? A single judge is invited to judge the Sulman Prize each year. There is also a prize called the Packing Room Prize awarded by the hardworking men and women in the basement of the gallery who receive the works from the artists over the week before deadline and also People’s Choice.                                                   Artists also have the chance of being chosen to hang in “The Salon des Refuses” which is held at the S.H. Erving Gallery on Observatory Hill in Sydney. From the S.H. Irving “The ‘alternative’ selection from hundreds of entries to the Archibald and Wynne Prizes. Each year our guest selectors go behind the scenes of the Art Gallery of New South Wales to select the exhibtion. The Salon has an excellent reputation and the criteria for works selected are quality, diversity, humour and experimentation and cover themes such as contemporary art practices, different approaches to portraiture and artist’s responses to the landscape.”  This exhibition goes on to travel to other Regional Art Galleries.                                                                                                                      Then – of course, there are many artists who travel back to the art gallery packing room to pick up their art babies to take them back home to the studio, trying not to feel too dejected. Better luck next time.                                                                                               I’ve been in that boat twice. So full of dreaming – dashed. Back to the shed or studio.

Because my subject of the moment is the trees around where I live, I entered the Wynne Prize. I’ll let you know what happens this time. 

******* It was the long drive back to the NSW Gallery and then back to the shed.

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