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Spread 180- Jury Duty August 9, 2012

Posted by Orly in Uncategorized.

All day yesterday I sat there, at the court house, hoping to be dismissed of jury duty soon. And it happened in the end of the day. Honestly, in a way, I didn’t really mind if I was asked to step out of my little world into another for a few days to be in a juridical position, to listen and then decide on a verdict, on a person’s fate. I had a long time to think, while sitting there, about the meaning of all that, about the word jury, and the active action of jurying, about how one group of people decides for an individual, and how this word applies to what I do, visual expression. In my sleepy, bored state of mind, I was questioning the concept of juried art shows, competitions, about the idea of a ‘knowledgeable committee’ accepting individuals’ art work based on technical skill, creativity, medium, and other requirements. Knowledge, funny word, who decides who is knowledgeable and if what one knows can be determined as knowledge, and if that knowledge is of more value than another person’s knowledge. Don’t we all possess knowledge that is one of a kind, like finger prints? Who was the one who told the cave man that his brother over on the other side of the river is a better muralist than he was? The notion that one group of people judging my visual expression is absurd to me. Never wanted it to be showcased in a gallery because others deciding it ‘deserves’ it. Juried art shows, wildly unreasonable to me. The notion that other people’s knowledge has the power to break anyone’s spirit, is making me not able to breathe properly. Seriously.


1. Sheila - August 9, 2012

I understand what you are saying. I agree!

2. apaperbear - August 9, 2012

Jury duty a necessity in our society. Juried art shows…esh… I didn’t really appreciate crit’s in my art classes. Your spread is truly Orly and truly wonderful.

3. jacki long - August 9, 2012
4. Marie Danti - August 10, 2012

what about those magazine competitions that require a fee with a deadline that expands to accept anyone with a check….who wins those anyway?! I fell for it once!
When I did jury duty I was not thinking of art of any sort. I spent a long morning waiting to be excused & reading a novel….the chances of actually serving on a jury are very remote (& probably destiny!!)

5. Lynn Cohen - August 10, 2012

civic duty vs art critiques.
I’ve always been over joyed when my art has been accepted into a juried art show…been present when others were there judging and saw how darn arbritary and sometimes unfair it is (favortism shown for known artists) yes I witnessed that; But being new in the art world and unknown, it seemed an honor at first and now I know it’s just winning the crap shoot! Luck of the draw. But still in all glad when one, two or three judges have all liked what I did.

6. Karen - August 10, 2012

I have to say that I have served on a jury and would do it again. It was terrible what the parents of these children did and what the children were exposed to by these parents. I think it it is hard to compare the two juried art show to being on a jury…. I can’t relate to the comparison….

Orly - August 10, 2012

Don’t be mistaken, that was not a comparison, one thought lead to another. I value the need to serve on a jury, and would do it willingly in a heart beat.

7. natalea - August 10, 2012

well said! I agree!

8. John - August 10, 2012

Now it is pencil shavings! What creativity flows from your brain to the page. AMAZING piece once again, Orly! I am partial to anything Japanese. So this a winner all around.

9. Linda Dunn - August 10, 2012

Did you do the spread while you waited? A sketchbook and supplies would make all the difference to waiting. Never have sat on a jury, but once got as far as the jury box for selection – very solemn process and thought provoking, for me.

Orly - August 10, 2012

Oh no Linda, this is ‘mess-work’, once at home, fueled by the day at the court house: painting, smearing, scribbling, glueing, spreading out, using an existing journal spread from my thick super heavy old Webster dictionary, scanning it into Photoshop and continuing it till it became this.

10. Catherine Witherell - August 11, 2012

I hear you but it’s interesting in such a way that a person who has been juried “in” would feel much differently than the person who is juried “out” and people who are “in” rarely question it. It’s the person who is “out” that feels the burden and the criticism of the people who have been labeled “knowledgable”. Really, it’s all purely subjective. A different jury has different taste and so it’s not a good enough reason to not stick your neck out and submit your work. Your art IS personal to you. The jurying isn’t personal.

Orly - August 11, 2012

I agree with your last statement Catherine. Yet the jury process impersonalizes and compromises your creative process, as it suggests that others outside of you know better. I would not enter to begin with to find out whether I’d be in or out, or whether my art is valued by a number of people that were assigned such power.

11. Seth - August 11, 2012

A very thought provoking post. My mind never shifted from jury duty to juried art. But now I think I will not be able to think of one without the other!

12. Gil Avineri - August 11, 2012

oh, and btw, i love your latest backdrop. reminds me of a subway map. speaking of maps, forgive me for being too cluttered to actually find you a few map scraps to take for your class. how’d it go?

13. Becky - August 26, 2012

Amen… It is all around my family and i. most days it hurts my soul to see the judgements that are so easily placed on those around me and mine without knowing the whole story or the real intent. I understand the role of a jury in our judicial systems, but what an immense responsibility. I feel placing judgement is one that is done way too regularly by way to many people without proper perspective, knowledge and responsibility. Thank you for your great food for thought… Ps you have a wonderful gift with words.

14. Phyllis Fell - September 1, 2012

I was thinking about this whole issue of juried art and how it can harm. I had a friend once who hated anything that was abstract in art. They would say that abstract art has no merit because it only means something to the person painting it. I would explain that if it means something to the person is that not enough. I also commentedif that all art speaks to someone. Constant judging and belittling other ways of being and doing to justify your own position may be rooted in lack of self belief. For the individual, listening too much to negative view-points may stunt your creativity and growth. Listen to your heart, enjoy your passions and your art will flow, whatever style it takes.

15. Tina - September 5, 2012

I love your thought process. I’ve not submitted to a juried show yet but I know from other similar processes, I would feel concerned for those excluded. It’s interesting to think of the process. It reminds me a great deal of being 12 years old and wanting to be one of the cool kids. And what it felt like to always be the new kid. Interesting line of thought.

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