Question: What do you get when a museum flips its “artists of the region” show on its head?
Answer: An exhibition where artists pick the winners and exhibit their work alongside their favorite artist.
Insider Information: A museum curator transforms multiple works by eighteen diverse artists into one masterpiece of a show.
Good To Know: This actually happened at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton. The exhibition, “Mixed Greens: Artists Choose Artists on the East End,” opened on April 19 and continues through June 21.
The story goes like this. Nine prominent artists with ties to the East End were invited to cull through applications received through an open call for artists and pick their favorite. But there was a catch. The artists had to visit every studio of the artwork they found interesting and get to know the artists. No glancing at a slide and pointing to pick a winner.
The caveat is an important one. It sets the show apart from most juried shows where a panel (or single expert) examines photos of artwork or a piece or two to select the winners. The required face time was designed to encourage engagement and mentorship among artists, said Alicia Longwell, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman chief curator of arts and education for The Parrish Art Museum.
Examining art that went beyond the few pieces submitted with the application helped insure the artist-judge was picking an artist whose work they truly admired. While there, the artist-judge could gain a fuller understanding of the artist’s intent. They could provide feedback and insight to the applying artist, if appropriate. At minimum, a dialog between two artists was bound to occur, Ms. Longwell said.
Having artists reach across generation gaps and fame differences fits in with the storied history of an area famous for their artists and, sometimes, their antics. This is also why the artwork of both judge and winning artist are being shown together.
Viewers of “Mixed Green” should be able to see the connection (or lack of one) between the artist-judge and the artist-applicant, Ms. Longwell said. This makes for an interesting and unique show as jurors are not typically included in exhibition.
As a fine art museum situated in the thick of an artist colony, changing their juried exhibitions to reflect artist connections was a no-brainer. The next juried show, “Mixed Greens II,” is scheduled for spring 2013.
All of the artists—whether selectors or selectees—have ties to the South or North Fork of Long Island. The selector team is made up of John Alexander, Michael Combs, April Gornik, Mary Heilmann and Richard Kalina. Also, Michelle Stuart, Donald Sultan, John Torreano and Joe Zucker.
Over 260 submissions were received. Applications were available online only. The winners are Jessica Benjamin, Randall Rosenthal, Lucy Winton and Frazer P. Dougherty. Also, Peter Dayton, Jody Pinto, Stephen Laub, Kevin Teare and Ellen Wiener.
The artwork runs the gambit from sculpture to mixed media to painting. There’s abstract, landscape, conceptual and other types of art. Coinciding with the exhibit are four artist talks and a film series.
The artist talk on May 9 features Jessica Benjamin, Peter Dayton and Frazer P. Dougherty. On May 16, Stephen Laub, Jody Pinto and Randell Rosenthal take the stage. May 30 features Kevin Teare, Ellen Wiener and Lucy Winton. All talks are held at 2pm. Films to be screened are Capote on May 8, Pollock on May 15, The Door in the Floor on May 22 and Before Night Falls on May 29.
“Mixed Greens: Artists Choose Artists on the East End” will remain on view through June 21 at The Parrish Museum, 25 Job’s Lane, Southampton. Docent Tours will be held on May 23, June 6 and June 13 at 2pm. For information, call (631) 283-2118 or visit http://parrishart.org.