Last year I didn’t pay much attention besides noting that they limited themselves to the Houston pool. This year they spread out to all of Texas, but again I dismissed them for being limited: only 2D work, excluding photography. Got a weird feeling about it.
Reading Ms. van Ryzin’s post, I figured out what that feeling was. This isn’t about helping artists or the arts, its about number one – MONEY. Why limit it to Houston? Its the largest, strongest Texas art market. Why limit it to 2D? Its easier to sell than a sculptural installation and takes up less space. Why exclude photography? Actually, I understand this one and would do the same … just kidding. To identify craft or technical proficiency easier and use it as a selling point to prospectus buyers.
The way I sees it, if this were about helping artists then someone working outside of the Houston market would need a little more support. Maybe someone convinced them of that and so they opened up to the whole state. I know paint is expensive, but I imagine sculptors require more materials, space and other associated resources, thus more support.
The prize is attractive, no doubt about that. About 175% of my income last year. You realize how many Happy Meals and cans of Chef Boyardee that is? But after glossing over their website (current and former) it feels like a corporate-sized, county fair art prize.
Money is great, but I just want them to, if Cuba Gooding will excuse me, “Show me the looovvve!”
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.