Director of art galleries, Reyahn King, is in London at the moment, presiding over the judging of the 25th John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize. Here's her report from the end of day one (yesterday).
Today, 1 May 2008, the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize jurors started stage 1 of judging the exhibition and prize. The jurors are artists Jake and Dinos Chapman (shown), Paul Morrison, Graham Crowley and critic Sacha Craddock. Jake and Dinos are in the midst of preparing for a big show, Paul Morrison's work is on currently in lots of places including Liverpool, London and Japan, Graham Crowley has been on the news commenting on the state of art teaching in London and Sacha Craddock is a legend for her longstanding reputation as a critic and Chair of another competition, New Contemporaries. Given all this it is wonderful to me that these five will come together to spend two days in a darkened room selecting work for our exhibition in Liverpool.
At the beginning of the day over breakfast I stressed the sheer volume of art to see. With 3,448 entries I was worried that the process might run beyond the two long days everyone had set aside. Judging started at 9:30am and went on to 7pm with food breaks. Incredibly we finished ahead of schedule - the jurors were really keen, taking only short breaks before itching to get back to it.
My role is to keep the jury on schedule and coordinate with the technical team. In the main this means checking that all five jurors have agreed whether a work is to be selected or are they still pondering? Yesterday they were focused on a first sift, and if any one person liked a work it got put to one side without much debate. Already though you can see preferences for kinds of work emerging and I expect debate to really get going when we revisit the first sift.
Today we'll finish looking at all the entries and then go back to all those put on one side and reconsider them.
By the end of tomorrow, 2 May, we need to have decided which 250 or so artists will be invited to send their work to Liverpool to be judged at stage 2 in June. Watch this space!