Oh would some power the gift give us, To see ourselves as others see us

Robert Burns, Scottish poet

Recently I’ve participated in two professional portfolio reviews—both were opportunities to share work, via Zoom, with gallerists and curators in order to receive ideas and opinions about what may be working, what not, and where to go with what I’m doing in terms of exhibition and/or art sales. The reviews lasted from 15-20 minutes each, back to back, making them feel like a slightly scary form of art speed dating.

The first review was a selective event through a museum. Artists had to apply in order to participate, by sending a website for initial review. The offering institution was careful to specify that the we artists should feel prepared for a review, meaning that work shown would reflect a certain amount of experience and development. This was a museum project with no charge to the artist. The review was conducted by gallerists and curators from around the U.S.—each subject to the same rigorous selection as the artists. I spoke with a gallerist and a curator, both of whom offered reviews that primarily addressed the work itself and where it could best be shown. Each was thoughtful and insightful. 

The second review was offered by an area gallerist, first come, first served, for a fee of $120. The reviews through this venue were conducted by local gallerists, who came from a variety of galleries, and one curator. Reviewers worked from artists’ websites offering a range of ideas, including some general comments and questions on artwork, effective website design and in one case, specific contacts that I might want to pursue. These sessions were fifteen minutes each and overall, much more casual than the museum sessions, with gallerists’ barking dogs occasionally interrupting the process, a little less preparation on the reviewers’ part and a few technical glitches that required some creative work arounds.

Both reviews offered preliminary sessions for artists to go over Zoom protocols, and in the case of the museum review, to create a limited portfolio that would address the artist’s primary questions. Both review entities emphasized that the reviews were just that, and not opportunities for exhibit and/or representation offers. 

Preparation for both reviews was a crucial element since review time was so short. Participating artists were encouraged to find out something about the reviewers assigned to them—art background, where they worked, role in their various art worlds. For me, preparing for the reviews took more time than the reviews themselves, but proved to be an invaluable part of the process.

In the end, everything was useful—what drew attention, what was passed over, answers to questions and questions to me. There were some surprises—the curator who found aspects of my work surreal (thinking about that); realizing that I don't want to do commissions for art consultants (when did that happen?). Reviewers offered confirmation of things I had thought about before as well as new ideas to help me move forward. A few comments struck me as irrelevant. Two reviewers (one from each) seemed to have an especially strong grasp of my work and both invited me to follow up by keeping in touch. The process—in all aspects—helped me place my artwork in a larger context, moving it out of the confines of the studio into a wider world of art viewing and art conversation. 

Would I do it again? Without a doubt. In a little while.

Goat Rodeo

04/09/2021

Zoom portfolio reviews--worth it?
Painter and painting--who's really in charge?
Art with a message--experiments with a word challenge.
Revise, renew, reinvent...
Walking to the studio, looking around...

12/28/2020

Concerning art and angels
Learning from artist's block
How do paintings come together? Do you end up with what you had in mind when you started?
John Cage informs the process
Making art. Hard enough to do it. Should I write about it? Yes? No? But what about...

Re-View You

4/9/2021

Oh would some power the gift give us, To see ourselves as others see us

Robert Burns, Scottish poet

Recently I’ve participated in two professional portfolio reviews—both were opportunities to share work, via Zoom, with gallerists and curators in order to receive ideas and opinions about what may be working, what not, and where to go with what I’m doing in terms of exhibition and/or art sales. The reviews lasted from 15-20 minutes each, back to back, making them feel like a slightly scary form of art speed dating.

The first review was a selective event through a museum. Artists had to apply in order to participate, by sending a website for initial review. The offering institution was careful to specify that the we artists should feel prepared for a review, meaning that work shown would reflect a certain amount of experience and development. This was a museum project with no charge to the artist. The review was conducted by gallerists and curators from around the U.S.—each subject to the same rigorous selection as the artists. I spoke with a gallerist and a curator, both of whom offered reviews that primarily addressed the work itself and where it could best be shown. Each was thoughtful and insightful. 

The second review was offered by an area gallerist, first come, first served, for a fee of $120. The reviews through this venue were conducted by local gallerists, who came from a variety of galleries, and one curator. Reviewers worked from artists’ websites offering a range of ideas, including some general comments and questions on artwork, effective website design and in one case, specific contacts that I might want to pursue. These sessions were fifteen minutes each and overall, much more casual than the museum sessions, with gallerists’ barking dogs occasionally interrupting the process, a little less preparation on the reviewers’ part and a few technical glitches that required some creative work arounds.

Both reviews offered preliminary sessions for artists to go over Zoom protocols, and in the case of the museum review, to create a limited portfolio that would address the artist’s primary questions. Both review entities emphasized that the reviews were just that, and not opportunities for exhibit and/or representation offers. 

Preparation for both reviews was a crucial element since review time was so short. Participating artists were encouraged to find out something about the reviewers assigned to them—art background, where they worked, role in their various art worlds. For me, preparing for the reviews took more time than the reviews themselves, but proved to be an invaluable part of the process.

In the end, everything was useful—what drew attention, what was passed over, answers to questions and questions to me. There were some surprises—the curator who found aspects of my work surreal (thinking about that); realizing that I don't want to do commissions for art consultants (when did that happen?). Reviewers offered confirmation of things I had thought about before as well as new ideas to help me move forward. A few comments struck me as irrelevant. Two reviewers (one from each) seemed to have an especially strong grasp of my work and both invited me to follow up by keeping in touch. The process—in all aspects—helped me place my artwork in a larger context, moving it out of the confines of the studio into a wider world of art viewing and art conversation. 

Would I do it again? Without a doubt. In a little while.