The Lawndale Art Center has revealed noted curator and writer Marco Antonini will be juror for the 2012 Big Show, the organization's annual juried exhibition open to all artists living within a 100 miles of Houston.
Italian-born Antonini — whose writing has appeared in publications such as ArtPulse, Cura and Flash Art — currently serves as gallery director for NURTUREart, a nonprofit gallery space in Bushwick, Brooklyn with artist outreach programs very much in line with the Lawndale's overarching mission.
"I'm excited to get a chance to see the work of all these new people at once," Antonini told CultureMap from his home in New York City.
"I've never been to Houston, so I guess I'll be very objective," he laughed, adding that he has been to Texas once . . . Marfa, Texas.
"I love working with large open-call shows like this, where you look at high volumes of work from so many types of artists," he said. "It should be interesting being the only juror involved in selecting pieces, as well."
Having relocated to New York in 2003, Antonini said he's participated in countless panels at major cultural hubs like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, but admitted to having less experience outside of the northeast corridor.
"I've never been to Houston, so I guess I'll be very objective," he laughed, adding that he has been to Texas once — Marfa, Texas — and was familiar with the Lawndale after working with artist and University of Houston art instructor Jillian Conrad, who participated in a group show for NURTUREart in spring 2011.
For those submitting work to the upcoming Big Show in July, Antonini offered some words of advice.
"We do a lot of open calls at NURTUREart and we always tell artists to invest more in the quality of your work than in number of pieces you submit," he said, noting similar experiences working with education departments at the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art.
"It's also important to make your work stand out. Think about the number of people showing work and how your piece or pieces will be displayed. Those with a familiarity with the space will have a nice advantage."
The Big Show 2012 kicks off with its always-wild opening night reception at the Lawndale Arts Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, July 13 (don't be scared). Artist submissions must be delivered to the gallery on June 27 and 28.