Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Good bad or indifferent?


Yesterday, I wrote about the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award. Today I got an email and then spoke with Barbara Janes on the phone. She called my views "cynical and disheartening." I agreed with her. She also stated quite categorically that she did not want to get involved in a long online discussion about the awards, so I'll keep this short.

Other than my post, her press release only got picked up by the Ottawa Citizen and CBC Arts Online. G, B or I?

According to Ms. Janes the Hnatyshyn Foundation is getting its office space rent free, thanks to what I assume is a very generous Rick Dearden, who is on the Board of Directors of the foundation. Most definitely - Good.

According to Ms. Janes they are also going to be sending stuff on "disk" to the curators, and then having a conference call to discuss stuff. While it is most definitely going to be cheaper, it is nice to know that there are curators who will make a $25,000 judgment about an artist's career without seeing any of the art that artist has created. G, B or I?

According to Ms. Janes they aren't going to be using the services of a PR company, and there are no plans to hold a "big gala party." Yes, cost saving for sure, but as the Governor General Awards for the Visual Arts ($15,000 x 6), the RBC Canadian Painting award ($25,000 x 1), the Prix du Quebec Paul-Émile-Borduas ($30,000 x 1), the Sobey Art Award ($50,000 x 1) show, (and there are other awards as well, here, and here, and I'm obviously missing a bunch) all of which come with a PR company and a "big gala party," is anybody going to pay attention to the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award without? G, B or I? (Although, now that I look at that list - Ms. Janes might actually be doing a very good thing, as the PR and party doesn't seem to do diddly).

Then, one thing that did not occur to me until today, does anybody know what the definition of "mid-career artistic achievement" is? As I mentioned before, it seems a little loose.

And if you're interested in other art prizes, check this out - from my perspective the only ones worth winning are the Turner Prize, Artes Mundi, the Lucelia Artist Award, and obviously the MacArthur Fellows Program. Those all will put you on the map internationally.

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