Monday, March 28, 2011

What's Going On With the Hunting Prize in Texas?

An artist recently sent me an email about the Hunting Prize in Texas.  If you are not familiar with Hunting, it is an art competition that awards $50,000 to one winning Texas artist annually. It's a big deal.

If you read the guidelines all artists must be a Texas resident, and no computer generated work is accepted.

Rules Cited:

Participants must be a legal resident of Texas.

The 2011 art prize is limited to paintings and drawings. No printmaking, photography, collage, assemblage, sculpture, relief, found object or computer-generated works will be accepted for this competition.

But... An Artist that is not from Texas made it in to the pool, and so did an artist that does computer generated work.

Runcie Tatnall is a Miami Based Artist.

William Betts uses a computer program to make his work.

[ William Betts describes his process as follows:

"Having spent several years working professionally in the software business, I draw on a deep understanding of technology to develop new techniques of making paintings that reinvigorate the traditional craft and allow me to create paintings that could not be made until very recently. For this series of paintings based on video surveillance images, I used advanced computer controlled linear motion technology and a proprietary software system of my design to precisely apply thousands of drips of paint. The individual drips of high gloss acrylic paint catch the light and give each drip its own dimensionality and further mimic video. I developed a color palette based on RGB additive component video to create ‘black and white’ images using only colored paint. A typical painting has between 30,000 and 40,000 individually applied drips of paint." ]

So the questions are:

Does this bother anyone that the guidelines were not met by these two artists?

Why were two artists that do not meet the criteria let into the artists pool?

Wouldn't it have been better for Texas Artists, that meet all the criteria, to be chosen?

If this very high profile competition does not follow criteria, then who else doesn't?

Why do they even have criteria?

Is this just another example of the political game of art?

Do you care...

Let me know what you think!


  1. If you have criteria, stick to it. Pretty simple in my opinion. Especially when $50,000 is at stake!!!

  2. agree with use in having criteria if you don't enforce the rules. my guess would be that there was an oversight...has anyone pointed this out to Hunting people?

    not good!

  3. Of course it matters. Do you know for certain that they do not have a home in TX or that they did use the computer for the work? I noted there are only 110 images when the Hunting released them yesterday and there are supposed to be 113 Finalists. Maybe they were tossed out.
    I was told my another Finalist in a different year that they will kick it out if it doesn't meet their guidelines when the work is delivered.
    There is only one prize given so all other artists are out their expenses for shipping/delivering and the trip to the gala expenses...not insubstantial if you don't live in Houston.
    I guess we will wait to see if these artists are actually included.

  4. par for the course on most criteria, rules, laws, must-do's, etc. sugar is well...just sugar. not.

  5. I wrote to them- waiting on a response. As for if it matter, that was more of a dialog opener.

  6. I know one who is not a US citizen, but resides here temporarily.

  7. Well, the problem may be interpretation of the criteria. What to some may seem rather obvious is not to others. Over the years, I have found my directions for class assignments becoming longer and more specific due to this problem.

    Here is what I mean: "2-D Paintings must be created with traditional paint medium(s) such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastels or a combination thereof and should be painted on canvas, linen, panel, paper*, board or similar acceptable formats and must be secured on stretcher bars, with framing optional." So, although Mr. Betts does not stipulate the support used for his paintings, they are of "high gloss acrylic paint." The criterion does not specify the manner by which the paint is applied. So, what is in question is the criterion term “computer generated.” Are his works computer generated or merely applied by computer controlled mechanical means? It sounds by his statement that it is the latter although the images are “based on video surveillance images.” Is this a fine line? Are we splitting hairs here? Yes, certainly. But, it is such loop-hole interpretations that have become the staple of the American dialogue since the 1980s.

    As for the status of legal resident of Texas, Hunting may need to do as colleges and universities and place a specific minimum time period on this. To become a legal resident of Texas (for a US citizen), all one needs to do is secure a place of residence, no matter how temporary (i.e. a motel room with a weekly or monthly lease), and obtain a Texas driver’s license while surrendering one’s current out-of-state license. That’s it. Instant Texas residency for any purpose other than tuition purposes. In fact, it is illegal for someone to still have a vehicle registered for the previous (or any other) state within 30 days of becoming a legal resident. So again, if this were a measure used by Mr. Tatnall to simply enter the contest, it is not illegal and would certainly make him eligible by the vague definition stated in the criteria. Does that make him an unethical (albeit clever) scumbag? Well, that’s how I would see it. But then again, I am just a poor, overworked artist/educator whose work wouldn’t have been eligible anyway lest I can convince the jury that what I created only appeared 3D because I had crept into their bedrooms at night and implanted special lenses behind their pupils that only makes my work appear sculptural. But then, the $50,000 wouldn’t begin to cover my legal fees when getting sued for causing psychological or emotional distress.

  8. I wrote some stuff but the page wouldn't post and my writings were lost.

    The main theme was hurray for those Texas artists who show real talent, do not trace projections , do not drip computer guided paint and are finalist in the Hunting Prize like Dan Colcer of Dallas.

    clint scism

  9. Hunting should stick to the criteria. They lose some credibility if they don't. I like to see a contest for artists from Texas, b/c I'm from Texas, and art doesn't feel very appreciated here in Dallas (at times).

    I've made traditional paintings and those that were drawn on paper and scanned & altered on the computer. Still think they should stick to their criteria though. Other artists probably didn't even apply thinking they were ineligible.

    Thanks for the info.