Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pan Art Writing Contest

Robert Boyd

Calling all would be art-writers! We live in a world that is hostile to art writers. Artists simultaneously--schizophrenically--love to be written about and complain about how we fail to understand their work. Collectors apparently ignores us (Don Thompson said that art writers and art magazines were the least important determiner of art's monetary value, while Sarah Thornton spoke of people who read Artforum for the ads). Newspapers have been eliminating the art critic position for decades. The art world has become so odious that some writers are leaving it.

On the other hand, you have the proliferation of art blogs (including this one). Two Coats of Paint, Hyperallergic, Art Fag City,, etc., are all excellent venues for lively art writing. And you have Creative Time | Warhol Foundation, who give lots of money every year to art writers. The Great God Pan Is Dead can't give grants to art writers (because we are a no-revenue operation), but we can give prizes. Hence the first annual Pan Art Writing Contest.

OK, here's what we are looking for. A blog post between 750 and 2000 words about art. The following types of posts are acceptable:
1. a review of an exhibit that is still on view
2. a review of a performance from the last month
3. a review of a piece of public art that has been installed in the past three months
4. a review of a book or film about art that has been published or released in the past six months
5. an editorial on some current issue in the art world
6. a report on a local art scene
7. an interview or studio visit with an artist
Your entry should include at least one jpeg image (with proper credits)--more than one if possible.

The work should be original, and should be previously unpublished.

The submission deadline is January 31. Winners will be announced no later than February 28.

Here are the prizes:

Nic Nicosia. This handsome hardcover published by The University of Texas Press covers the career of Nic Nicosia, an really great photographer who we have reviewed here before.

Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics by Bill Blackbeard and Martin Williams. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that this classic collection helped reintroduce America to an all-but-forgotten part of its artistic heritage. A brilliant anthology.

I Am James Ensor. This artist's book by great Houston artist Lane Hagood stars the ghost of James Ensor. It's number 44 out of an edition of 50.

The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song by David Lasky and Frank M. Young. A graphic novel biography of the famous country music pioneers, drawn by David Lasky in a style that evokes early 20th century comic strips, this is a moving work of Americana.


Texas: 150 Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston by Alison de Lima Greene. Published in the centennial year (2000) of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, this enormous, well-illustrated book is kind of a first stab at an art history of Texas, in a way. Focusing mainly on modern and contemporary work, it's quite fascinating to see how artists who are still quite active were seen in 2000. We have two copies of this excellent book to award.

The first prize winner will be able to select one from this list. The second prize winner can select from the remaining, and so on.

Send all entries to

Writers retain all rights to their own work. The Great God Pan Is Dead may wish to publish the entry, but the writer retains the right to decline.The contest is open to everyone except for current writers for The Great God Pan Is Dead.


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