Unlike arriving guests, artists were instructed to park on the top level of the parking garage and enter through a back door so I wasn't privy to the "tooting horns" welcome described in this article. I did, however, hear and see some commotion down street-side as we artists posed for our group photo (see below) on the front steps.
Hunting Art Prize gala handed their car keys off to embarrassed-looking valets sporting red and green "artist" berets. As they stepped onto the sidewalk in front of the Decorative Center, a guy in a Roman soldier-style miniskirt blew a horn, while the toga-clad guy next to him unrolled a "scroll" and read aloud:
"Friends, Patrons, Countrymen, lend me your ears...come I to welcome you to the Hunting Art Prize by order of Caesar Pontius Maximus." (from Houston Press)Other "events" I didn't see, probably because I was standing near my work....("In addition to being coached on their wardrobe, artists were asked to stand next to their work to "to sell themselves and their artwork") was the toga-clad woman who was painted white nor the artist Anthony Butkovich "painting abstracted portraits of a model reclining on a chaise lounge in an evening gown and feather boa."
All that aside and back to some points brought up the article challenging the honor's prestige regarding the methods & procedures used for selecting the finalists.
The official call states "established artists, talented newcomers, and promising amateurs" are invited to submit. It seems to me that the here-in lies the problem with some of the above criticism. My question is do all art competitions need to follow the same footprint to maintain validity and prestige? How is the purpose of this particular award different from other "large money" awards given around the world?
I agree with Rainey Knudson of Glasstire, that at this point in time the Hunting Art Prize honor isn't quite as lofty as say, the Hugo Boss Guggenheim prize Turner Prize that offer approximately the same about of money. Those prizes bring more prestige and career opportunities to the awardee. But I am not sure I agree with all her suggestions for improving the prize. Maybe "getting rid of the "absurd" single image selection process" would help. Limiting the finalists to ten or so artists," maybe, but then this prize becomes just like all the others. Yes, I agree that "[treating] the artists as you would be treated" would be a step up but don't know how that affects the "prestige" of the honor.
My complaint is that only invited guests could see the work and only during that evening. The exbhibition was up for only that night's reception. Artists whose work didn't sell could take their work home with them that night or pick it up later in the week from a designated place away from the exhibition location.
There was no opportunity for the general public and other potential patrons or collectors to see the work presented.
An extended exhibition time would allow more exposure for the artists and thus provide finalist and winner alike more beneficial career opportunities.
Even so, the evening was "gala, the food was delicious, the flowers were quite wonderful
and I have line on my resume--- Hunting Art Prize Finalist! (Hmm...I'd rather the fifty grand and a line declaring "Hunting Art Prize Winner.")
More photos of the gala evening plus the finalist images can be seen by clicking "photos" and "finalist images."