Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Threadneedle Prize

Today the Mall Galleries in London opens The Threadneedle Prize 2012, worth an unbelievable £30,000 to the winner, making it the most valuable prize for a single work of art awarded in the UK. The object of this appalling waste of money appears to be to find the world's worst artist. Having viewed all 153 works online (CLICK) I spotted one excellent painting amid the dross: Raoof Haghighi's Vicky (shown). This fine portrait is so outstanding it seems to have wandered into the exhibition by mistake. It certainly didn't make the shortlist of five. The most novel of the favoured five is Ben Hendy's Self Portrait, which is a life-sized lino cut (left). BBC News favours Ben Greener's My Feet (CLICK). Admission to the exhibition is free, but I wouldn't waste my time on it. Vote with your feet and stay away.


At 26/9/12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you actually seen the works on show then, or are you just making outrageous assumptions from a few on screen images?!

At 26/9/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Try reading my blog.
"Having viewed all 153 works online". How do you think I found the one I liked?

Take a look at my post AOTY 2012 for some really good art.

At 28/9/12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

having visited the exhibition myself i disagree completely with your very strong opinions, and recommend immensely that it is very much worth anyone's time and energy, the works are very difficult to read on-line, the sculptures particularly need to be viewed in person. Its almost impossible to grasp the immense emotional content of many of these brilliant pieces without viewing them in person.

At 28/9/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Oh come on! I can't believe that anyone not connected with Threadneedle would heap such praise on this appalling exhibition. It's as bad as the Turner Prize, and more than one genuine artist agrees with me.

This is the age of the Internet, which allows me to preview forthcoming exhibitions. If it looks like rubbish online, I'm not going to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Take a look at my post on AOTY 2012and view some fine artworks:

The prizes for AOTY are far less than for Threadneedle, yet it attracts far better artists, judging by its shortlist.

I admit I do feel strongly about this. Ridiculously large sums of money paid for tripe is baffling for youngsters who may have artistic talent and might well be dissuaded from taking up art as a career, because they can't fathom the rules behind silly prizes.

At 29/9/12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again, well yes youve got me with the first line of reply, i am exhibiting and guess it made painful reading to hear your criticism, I think i was cowardly in not admitting such, but in my defence (particularly regarding my work) I do still feel it is unfair to make such sweeping statements without viewing the works in person, yes there are some extortionate prices but again in defence of my own, it is less than a thousand, of which I shall only receive under £500 if lucky enough to sell. It was immensely personal to me, it took many months of saving to achieve buying a plane ticket to be there, Ive returned to an empty fridge, an empty coal bunker, and your damming review, I think if anything was to dissuade youngsters who may have artistic talent from entering its reading such criticisms, I for one made many sacrifices not just to attend but to even find the entry funds, so again I appeal to you to visit first, you might just find its worth an edit.

At 29/9/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Sorry about that, but I try to steer my readers towards worthwhile exhibitions and away from the poor ones. Bear in mind that I didn't criticize your work, but the show as a whole. Let me know which work is yours and I'll take a look at it. (I'll keep quiet if I don't like it.)

Dozens of art shows open in London every week, most of which exhibit appalling tripe, and I don't bother to preview them. The Threadneedle Prize with its massive prize demands attention.

Are they really charging a commission of 50% on top of the entrance fee? What a ripoff, but not the worst I've come across. Some of the top London galleries charge commission of 75% and hook the artist into a five-year contract. If the artist tries to escape, the gallery threatens to sue for breach of contract.

Your mention of air travel suggests you come from abroad. I suggest you find like-minded artists nearby to put on group shows and share the cost. Facebook or Google+ can help you get in touch with other local artists. Going for big money with thousands of other competitors is bound to cause disappointment for all but the lucky one or two.

As for youngsters, you have a point about strong criticism putting them off, but it's something anyone who puts anything into the public domain must learn to cope with. My point is that prizes which award novelty and gimmicks, rather than quality art, generate confusion. I can usually predict the winner of the Portrait Painter of the Year Award, because quality is what the judges go for. I'm clueless when it comes to the Threadneedle Prize or the Turner Prize. What rubbish will the judges select this year? And how can the budding artist learn what is good or bad?

Today we have the weird situation in which some of our finest young artists are creating graphics for computer games and ignoring mainstream art. Millions of kids who know nothing about art play these games and enjoy their realism. The rules are abvious: the better the graphics and animation, the greater the realism.

At 29/9/12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I guess I have to bite the bullet, as the more I read your writings the more I find I am in agreeance with you on many points, and I would value your opinion of my work, good or bad. That said I would appeal to you to view it in person, living in the Outer Hebrides it is difficult to get your work seen other than on line, and this particular work is lost without a face to face so to speak. My piece is entitled “Leaving the Nest” A mixed media assemblage, consisting of nest, feathers and eggs embedded in resin. I have encouraged the piece to fracture by accelerating the curing of the resin and forcing the eggs to explode, resulting in fissures present emblematic of the beauty and pain of my son recently venturing out into the world. Amanda

At 30/9/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Amanda

I took another look at the Threadneedle exhibits (online) and had to hunt for yours (I was looking for something exploding). You're right, it doesn't show up well online. It looks like a shiny plastic pot full of sliced cabbage. I've come across beautiful glass paperweights that look better online.

I googled your name plus Leaving the Nest in hope of finding a better photo. (The Threadneedle website blocks downloading of its pictures, so I couldn't use XnView to expand the photo to discern detail.) I got a page of Google results and found your Facebook page. So lots of mentions, but still no good photo.

Twin sons flying the nest. No wonder you put so much emotion into that work. But remember the emotion is yours, not the viewer's.

I looked through all your photos of the Threadneedle private viewing (camera phone, I assume) and your photos confirmed my worst suspicions about the show. I saw nothing to make me want to visit it in person.

Your own exhibit was larger, but too muddy for me to judge it. Good photos of your work are a must.

Take a look at the website of a professional sculptress whose work I like:

Good photos and user-friendly links show the wide range of her products. And yes, art is a product. She also has a blog to show how her latest works progress.

Your works may be exquisite in closeup, but unless you can post top quality photos online, I can't see them making much of an impression.

Can you join an art group affiliated to the Federation of British Artists? If not, the FBA does invite open submissions to some ot its shows at the Mall Galleries. You could remind them that you were included in the Threadneedle exhibition. And if you post your art to the show and don't fly in, it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

I hope these suggestions help.

At 26/9/13, Blogger Robert Truscott said...

I liked the fact i won the visitors choice though i wasnt shortlisted . The comments too generalised and lazy as the works needed viewing . My sculpture(defeat ),is a line of fifteen POWs and took me about a year and a half to make . they convey a feeling and that connected with the public .
regards Robert

At 27/9/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

Hi, Robert

You added your comment to last year's review. I'm still getting stick for this year's review!

I recall your line of soldiers. I'm glad you won the visitors choice after all that hard work. Did you sell it? Two years work without a commission to back it up is really chancing your arm.

Lazy? I probably give the exhibits more of my time than the selectors for the RA Summer Exhibition. That's another reason for being irritable when I find I'm wasting my time.

At 28/9/13, Blogger Robert Truscott said...

I sold two of the three figures i cast . The thiord you can see at the Malls Discerining Eye show , alongside my Anne Frank sculpture . I may get the whole set sent to Volgograd which would be a fitting end after showing at the Russian Embassy this year timing with the Stalingrad battles anniversary . Im just saying photos are not enough when it comes to exhibitions,this is especially true of any 3D works . best wishes, Rob

At 29/9/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

Hi again, Robert

Thanks for the good news.

I agree that the best way to view a sculpture is to walk round it and to view it from all angles. However, more art is now sold online than in art galleries. So an artist needs a good online presence with photos that show his work to best effect.

Plus I can't possibly visit all the exhibitions I cover on my blog.


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