Artistic prizes are dead – today they are “gold stars for everyone”

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But, if the prices are anathema to art, let’s get them out of their misery, and stop them altogether – because the current situation, in which the judges refuse to sort the wheat from the chaff, but seem more interested in showing their own impeccably egalitarian kindness, is ridiculous. I feel silly even typing something so obvious, but maybe it needs to be made clear: a “prize” that insists everyone wins is no longer a prize – it is a blow.

By all means, let us distribute money, in equal installments, to subsidize artists. But, when we do, let’s stop calling this charity a “prize” because it is infantilizing – the equivalent of an elementary school “star of the week” certificate issued to every child in the class at the end of the year. during a quarter.

In my experience, the adult world can be ruthless. We might wish it were otherwise, but it is not. If you have to judge something, use your common sense and hang in there – don’t just turn around and follow the latest fad. The point is that in the visual arts, of all places, group thinking is surely the enemy. We don’t want second-hand ideas, received wisdom, the timid throat-clearing of the conformist announcing: “You all did very well.

On the contrary, we aspire to originality, to new ways of seeing the world, to the skewer of shibboleths, to questioning authority. Above all, we demand the bright daylight of individual excellence – not the dense fog of cautious mediocrity, in which everyone sadly appears the same.

But, if the prices are anathema to art, let’s get them out of their misery, and stop them altogether – because the current situation, where judges refuse to sort wheat from chaff, but seem more interested to show their own impeccably egalitarian kindness, is ridiculous. I feel silly even typing something so obvious, but maybe it needs to be made clear: a “prize” that insists everyone is a winner is no longer a prize. – it’s a punch.

By all means, let us distribute money, in equal installments, to subsidize artists. But, when we do, let’s stop calling this charity a “prize,” because it’s infantilizing – the equivalent of an elementary school “Star of the Week” certificate issued to every child in the class at the end of the day. during a quarter. In my experience, the adult world can be ruthless. We might wish it were otherwise, but it is not. If you have to judge something, use your common sense and hang in there – don’t just turn around and follow the latest fad.

The point is that in the visual arts, of all places, group thinking is surely the enemy. We don’t want second-hand ideas, received wisdom, the timid throat-clearing of the conformist announcing: “You all did very well. On the contrary, we aspire to originality, to new ways of seeing the world, to the skewer of shibboleths, to questioning authority. Above all, we demand the bright daylight of individual excellence – not the dense fog of cautious mediocrity, in which everyone sadly appears the same.


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