Jurors — How I really feel

More and more I think jurors are becoming the “drive by” variety. Get in, judge a show, and get back on the road before you speak to an actual artist. My opinion is that a juror should embrace the opportunity to interact with the artists, accept an invitation to speak if asked, and generally share their opinions on a show they have judged. Nothing bad will happen. People may disagree with you. That’s not a problem, but a chance for an exchange of views.
There is an instance in art history where the cultural exchange between a juror and artists changed the course of art history. Painters in the Pittsburgh area had been heading to the Laurel Highlands to paint the beautiful landscape for years. The last thing they thought of painting was dirty, smoky Pittsburgh and its factories. That is, until Fritz Thaulow arrived to jury (what became known as) the third Carnegie International in 1898. He had been used to painting industrial scenes in his native France, and painted a scene on the Monongahela River while in Pittsburgh. That sparked painters to start viewing the smog and smoke and sparks through artistic eyes, and let to the formation of the “Pittsburgh School.”
I was grateful to the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh who recently invited Juror David M. Bowers to speak at Fein Gallery. He had juried a show called Archived. I went to hear him speak, and this is a picture of me with him.