Thursday, February 22, 2007Home

Calls for Entry—Buyer Beware, Part 1

Here at CameraArts, we do our best to present accurate, up-to-date information on calls for entry, juried exhibitions, and other opportunities for photographers. Usually we don't use this site for announcements of this kind, because we try to keep our blog's appeal as broad as we can. We reserve most information of this kind for a special section on, as well as on our e-newsletter, FRAMES.

Usually we hear good things about the mix of articles and announcemnets in FRAMES. Sometimes, though, the opposite occurs. In a recent installment, we posted a link to the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA) and its juried exhibition. The bi-weekly format of FRAMES allows us to alert our readers of short-term opportunities that have "missed the boat" when it comes to our print publication.

Here's the entry from the February 7, 2007 issue of FRAMES:

Los Angeles Center For Digital Art (LACDA) announces an open call for their international juried competition featuring art and photography created through digital processes. Entrants should submit three JPEG files of original 2-dimensiona work. Forty spots are available for the exhibition, which runs March 9 to April 1, 2007. Entry fee is $30. Multiple entries are permitted. Deadline is February 18, 2007.

Essentially, entries like this boil down to title, the organization and juror(s), awards, requirements for entry (including fees), and, of course, deadline. For all of its simplicity, however, the LACDA entry created an unexpected response. Readers emailed us asking why we were associating ourselves with LACDA, and we heard some negative opinions about the organization. A post from Charles Eicher's blog, Disinfotainment, drew our attention. It's accompanied by a composite of images from one of LACDA's exhibitions.

From Disinfotainment:

I counted at least 250 images in this photo, and there are obviously more that extend beyond the edges of the picture. At $31.25 for each entry, that is a minimum of $7,800. The "gallery" is a single room, the image shows only one wall and a freestanding wall on the left that might have images on the other side, so it is possible this exhibit has 500 images, maybe more. That could be over $15,000 of profit! And Rex Bruce keeps all the money.

I decided to investigate Rex Bruce a little more, and unfortunately, this isn't the worst of the scam. Rex Bruce operates two of these shows each year, one is a "juried show" where a panel selects the works suitable for exhibition. But you must still pay a $31.25 entry fee, even if your work is rejected.

Eicher lays out all of the reasons for his disappoval of LACDA's exhibitions, but is unrelenting in his judgment of Becker for some aspects of the business that don't seem that unusual. The fact that Becker has exhibited his own work at his gallery doesn't suggest any shady dealings. Also, for all of the railing on this post, a visit to LACDA's site (and the exhibition in question) reveals the same images that Eicher has used in his condemnation.

LACDA seems to have been up-front about the facts. The only problem with LACDA's open and juried exhibitions is the short lifespan for a relatively high cost for each entry. However, one should always consider these numbers on a case-by-case basis. Consideration is a major part of entering these kinds of exhibtions, especially where money is involved. Tomorrow I'll be back with part 2, in which I'll speak more on the responsibilities of both the entrant and the organization.


At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The title should read, artist beware.

It's a shame how some people make a living but if the information is clearly stated, then I see no harm.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Rex Bruce said...

We have a new competition with judges from MOCA (The Contemporary Museum of Art).They really like me. I have curated or been almost 50 shows, panels, events, etc. since I opened LACDA in early 2004. Two of the most recent second place winners of the past competition got solo shows, not part of the prize, but I did it anyway. Dozens of participants I schedule into shows, many were in the Guggenheim Gallery exhibit I curated. Its not like I live in a mansion or something from entry fees, really I live in an inexpensive one bedroom apartment I share with my partner. The money goes into the gallery and promoting artists as fairly as I can. $15,000 sounds like lots, but that is barely enough to pay the overhead for the gallery for three months. That "Disinfotainment" guy is a negative person who builds his life on inaccurately accusing people of being selfish when he is the one who is a little nazi. Most of what he states as research is completely fabricated. He needs to do his homework and find a therapist. Thank God the people who like me and help me and say positive things about me are the ones who are important. I spoke with the curator of contemporary art at LACMA last week on the phone. He likes me. Take your pick, who do you want on your side?


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