Saturday, March 17, 2012

No pressure

Fiona Connor is one of 60 artists selected for the Hammer Museum's first biennial exhibition Made in LA. ‘Good on you, Fiona’ you’re probably thinking. And it is impressive. Connor has only been in LA a few years and she is already a regular exhibitor and, if our experience was anything to go by, a bit of a star at CalArts where she studied after finishing up at Elam.

But that is not what the title of this post is pointing at. One of the features of Made in LA is a prize. Now Connor, as one of the finalists in the last $NZ50,000 Walters Prize, is no stranger to prizes but this one is more than double the Walters cash at $US100,000 ($NZ122,000) and also comes with a monograph. In terms of cash in hand this package even edges out the Turner Prize

Unlike the Walters Prize the decision-making process is a little more random. After the initial selection of 60 "emerging and under-recognized" artists, a group of five finalists will be selected by “a jury of art experts.” After that the final decision will be left to visitors to the exhibition. The last bit is a classic marketing tactic, but if Connor beat the odds and won, for once we’d come down on the side of the marketers.

You can read more about Made in LA and its funding here.

Image: Fiona Connor in her CalArts studio 2011