Evolution of Juried Art Exhibitions in a Digital Age
By Dennis Speer
The Juried Art process that we know today was morphed over thousands of years, with its roots deep in the great civilizations of Ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome. The medium du jour was focused on sculpture, architecture and, to a lesser degree, painting. A tincture of time would provide for the development of a sophisticated process that would eventually create an atmosphere for inclusion and exclusion of art works and even the artists that created them. The system would create an aura of reputation that artists would come to depend on to generate sales and justify prices they would garner from sales resulting from the exhibitions.
Art exhibitions have purpose. They provide a display of the style and technique of contributing artists and the trends the arts are taking. Over years they helped define the general periods in art form that have been measured in history. The types of exhibition are: • Open Exhibitions • Invitational Exhibitions • Juried Exhibitions
The come one come all format of an Open Exhibit was filled with many art forms and varying degrees of artistic talent. An Invitational Exhibit found fewer works and attendees but frequently a more critical consumer. A Juried Exhibit allowed only those artists or works that were approved for the exhibit by an expert individual or group of expert "jurors". All exhibition formats play a distinct part in the world of art and have proved beneficial to artists and to the viewing and buying public.
It was during the 18th and 19th Centuries that art exhibitions came to full bloom. Primarily in France and England art exhibitions were found to be thriving in Salons, Academies and Museums. This fashionable and aristocratic environment continued into the U.S. in the early 20th Century. The exhibitions of the arts were to become embedded in modern society and now were a significant source of revenue for artists, collectors and art traders.
The logistical challenges of getting to the art were, at the time, enormous. Soon to become the salvation of this dilemma was the advancing technology in modern photography. What became of the art of photography was now the photography of the art. Photos of art work were a relatively fast and efficient way to view art around the world. The quality in the photographic process was such that exhibits could be seen without the need of traveling to them. By the late 20th Century digital photography and personal computing had taken the art exhibition even a step further. Digitization of photographs of art works allows presentation to be manually manipulated to achieve perfection in appearance.
Online art exhibitions come in many different formats and venues, from the viewing of the classics to online marketplaces abounding with the arts and crafts of entrepreneurial artists and artisans. It is here that the quality and presentation are critical. In a world teeming with art, art products and visual arts it is apparent that we have drawn a crowd. A very large crowd.
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