Amazing is a word built for things that inspire awe, wonder, possibly even astonishment, though it has, like so many fortifying adjectives such as “so” and “very” been misused by attention-starved reporters of the unremarkable. “Dude, I saw the most amazing Springer episode yesterday…” Just more evidence of the global dumbing that grips our youth and middle aged alike in recent years. but such adjectival overzealousness is harmless in the given context. However when a person assigned the job of writing about a major art competition starts brandishing words like astounding, amazing, incredible (presumably in lieu of more specific terms) One would hope he’d do so only where appropriate lest he run out of superlatives emphatic enough should something come along to put everything previous to shame.

Apparently Artists Wanted has juried another competition, “Art Takes London,” and according to themselves the results could only be described using all the top superlatives.

Not only that “[Their] jury panel was thoroughly impresseed with the level of talent, vision and voice in the work received. Unfortunately, we can only select one artist to present at SCOPE London 2011. It’s been an excruciating process, but after much deliberation our judges Alexis Hubshman, Founder of SCOPE Art Show; Jason Goodman, Founder of 3rd Ward; and Daria Brit Shapiro, Head Curator at Artists Wanted have reached a decision.”

Now those are some pretty big adjectives and once again I was primed to have my Napolean blown apart. So without further ad…do?

the grand prize winner


I have seen amazing, incredible, astounding art. I can name five artists off the top of my head whose work can be described this way.  This artists work is interesting, cute, it has fun use of color, I like it. But amazing? No. There’s nothing amazing about this and there were plenty of other artists in the top 100 of this competition that were fairly amazing.

I want to ask these judges to explain themselves in real words why they chose this artist over thousands of others. I think one of the prerequisites to being a judge in an art competition should be the ability to divulge the secret formula you use to make these all important decisions. No, no, no, it’s not some magical power that only a certain select few people who have been born with. You need to tell us why this artist is most deserving of this honor because thousands may base their careers on your decisions and that will in turn effect the future of art as we know it. So please disclose what it is about these crudely rendered faces with their awkward childlike brushstrokes and gawdy straight-out-of-the-tube neon colors that makes you decide they are more intrinsically valuable or genuinely original than all the other artists work placed before you. Because it looks suspiciously to me like you were so deluged with art that it all began to look the same to you. Your eyes, as will happen with anyone’s eyes when bombarded with an overload of visual stimuli, ceased to relay accurate information to your visual cortex, and you had the embarrassing realization that you were unable to make even an educated guess as to which to choose. so instead you had to resort to eeny-meeny-miney-moe and after several hundred rounds of that insipid rhyme your finger landed on one body of work and you were relieved, comforted in knowing that your choice would never be questioned and that like so many sheep every single person to see this artists work would assume without a doubt that despite what they feel about it, their opinion being inconsequential compared to yours, this was the best, And pretty near as good as art gets. The proof? You said so.

Do you ever stop to question how you reached this station in life where your opinion is so greatly valued and relied upon? Did you ever worry that maybe you didn’t have that omnipotent power of discernment?

About aleatoricart

Rolling the Dice “The Movement of Aleatoric Modern Artists is a hand-picked assemblage of 44 extraordinary painters, sculptors, photographers and craftspeople representing an emerging "period" in art history which has spontaneously occurred all over the world with uncanny simultaneity. In response to society's apathy toward the undermining of our planet's ecological balance by the ever-advancing technology of industry, every member of our movement has discovered a unique approach to art that is philosophically, spiritually, and/or functionally aligned with the laws of nature. Each of us has selflessly devoted our talents to developing a relationship with our mother Earth and discovering new ways of collaborating with her design to produce a body of work greater than our abilities alone would allow. From thousands of submissions each of MAMA's members were chosen for their willingness to "roll the dice" (the literal meaning of the root word "alea" in aleatoric) and to explore uncharted artistic territory by leaving a part of the creative process to chance. In the tradition of Dadaism, Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism and other periods representing freedom from figurative form, the Aleatoricians of MAMA view their work as a cooperative collaboration with the forces of nature, capturing the amazing synchronicities that occur spontaneously by virtue of the law of averages, and reaping the rewards of patient observation of natural circumstances. Aleatoric art is to art what quantum physics is to physics in that we've thrown out the old preconceptions and conceptual limitations that have led us to the brink of cultural stagnation. In so doing we have already begun to change the face of art. MAMA's mission is to instill our culture with newfound appreciation of art by presenting to the world an entirely new paragon, to advocate a more sustainable, all-inclusive, and limitless expression of the human experience through art than was previously attainable, and to reconnect our spirits to the world in which we evolved.” Ray Cabarga, writer and art critic at Aleatoric Art Gallery
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5 Responses to Amazing!

  1. Colonel says:

    What liberating knowledge. Give me liberty or give me death.

    • Ray Cabarga says:

      No just a rant. I’ve seen this happen so many times with these major art competitions that there’s no point, for me, in putting any effort into them (i.e. entry fees) when it’s just a random drawing, a craps shoot, disguised as a juried competition. And I feel that it is not completely subjective. Yes when you are in the creative process you must eliminate all comparisons, judgments, and doubts but when judging a contest where the work is defined and finished and you are not thre artist in the creative process, you can do some objective comparison. You can hold the work up to a standard and judge it according to that standard.

  2. aleatoricart says:

    Clement Greenberg, an influential American art critic associated with modern art, and who was among the first critics to praise the work of painter Jackson Pollack, argued in 1960 that “…each artistic medium should seek that which makes it unique among the possible mediums and then purify itself of anything other than expression of its own uniqueness as a form”.
    Many collectors seem to buy art based on love at first sight, from my experience- and who can convey with words what is accomplished by the hands of an insightful and talented artist, and then captured in the viewer’s mind and heart? I think it is simply that moment that intrigues the audience, and for every peice of art, there will be as many pontifications as there are ticket holders… but the next time someone tells me that they are buying a piece because they are wild about the meaning of it all, I will be glad to oblige my deepest thoughts. Barnett Newman, an American artist of the early 20th century, once wrote “Aesthetics is for the artist, as Ornithology is for the birds. “

  3. Ray Cabarga says:

    What? Elvis? Have you left the building?

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