Grange Prize finalists announced
Last year, I groused about the Grange Prize's arbitrary-seeming bi-national field of nominees, in which the Art Gallery of Ontario chooses two Canadians and two from another national government -- last year, Mexico, this year, the U.S. -- for their field of four finalists.
I said then -- and maintain now -- that singling out specific nations from which to draw nominees alongside the Canadians seems mildly random. AGO curator Sophie Hackett has her own explanation: which is coming to this space soon. "(O)ne of the main goals here is international exchange," she wrote to me. "And so, we opt to partner with countries that have vibrant photography scenes, to foster dialogue about contemporary photography in each place, to do artist residency exchanges and to present exhibitions. This close partnership creates a stronger platform for the nominated artists to gain exposure in other countries, and in particular the partner country."
Whatever the case, it's hard to argue with the cash -- $50,000 for the winner, $5,000 for each runner-up -- and any art prize with a purse like this is welcome, however oddly-chosen the field may seem to be. I don't know, maybe it's me ...
In any case, the nominees for this year came out this morning, and among them are Toronto favourite (of mine, at least) Kristan Horton, New York-based Canadian Moyra Davey, and Americans Josh Brand and Leslie Hewitt.
The prize is chosen not by judges but, American Idol-style, by online votes. You can cast yours eventually through the Grange Prize site.
Image from Kristan Horton's Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Strangelove, 2003-2006