BLOG: JURIED SHOWS AND SOUR GRAPES
An artist entering a juried show cannot take it personally if their submissions are rejected, especially if they know their work is the real thing. (And it should be emphasized that the work is being rejected, not the artist. Unless, of course, it is personal... but that's a different, if related, topic.)
Would an avant-garde opera singer (eg: Klaus Nomi) have a chance of getting a chair to turn around for him on a hyper-mainstream show like The Voice? No, of course not. Should that upset him? No, because it's the wrong venue for him.
A truly genuine artist — especially one who creates challenging work — doesn't stand a chance of gaining entry to the West Podunk Women's Auxiliary Fine Arts League's Annual Spring Show juried by Edna Krautmeier who dabbles in gouache and teaches painting at the retirement home. (The Arts League, though, will happily accept your entry fee.) Do you think Francis Bacon would be accepted to that show? Would his work fit in with still lifes of daisies, folksy winter scenes, and collages of shoes? And Cezanne probably wouldn't have a prayer of getting into a juried show where a preponderance of the entries look like Mrs. Widmer's remedial finger-painting class judged by soccer moms.
So my advice to artists who know they're producing top-notch work: do not feel bad about failing to get into a juried show, especially if it's in a suburb, or a small town where Denny's is fine dining; just see what ultimately gets into that show, and, even though they conned you out of twenty bucks, you might be grateful that they actually did you a favor by rejecting your work... because that rejection might prove to be the real prize.