Pratt Manhattan Gallery will enliven and encourage participation in the fall 2010 election process by presenting a public art competition to design mobile voter registration centers that will tour New York City from September 15 through November 2, 2010. The goal of the competition, which is the first of its kind, is to provide visual political stimulation during the voter registration process and to inform the public about the democratic process. The competition will kick off March 1 and will have a deadline of June 15, 2010; winning entries will be selected on July 5, 2010.
All submissions, including the three winning entries, will be displayed as part of an exhibition that will be on display from August 31 through September 7 at the gallery, which is located at 144 West 14th Street, second floor. The winning entries will be selected by Nick Battis, Pratt Institute director of exhibitions; Eleanor Heartney, arts writer, curator, and cultural critic; Larry Litt, writer, performer, and producer; and Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art.
“We see this competition as a way to spark public interest in something that is traditionally associated with brown folding tables and wire racks full of pamphlets. There’s so much opportunity to improve how registration and campaign information are being presented, and we’re looking to artists and designers to run wild with their ideas and make it exciting,” said Litt. “This competition is especially important in a city like New York, where so much of its energy is fueled by visually compelling design,” he added.
The designs should be light-weight, portable, and able to be transported, set-up, and taken down by one person to fit in an area no larger than 3 x 3 x 3 feet. Judging criteria include attractiveness of booth design, budget feasibility, function, collapsibility and storage, and transportability. The three winners will be awarded cash prizes of $500, $400, and $300 with $1000 stipends for the fabrication and shipment of their winning designs.
The winning entries will be fabricated by the winners and utilized by volunteers in a non-partisan voter registration drive on the streets, parks, and other public locations throughout New York City from September 15 through October 1, 2010. After October 1, 2010, the centers will tour with non-partisan information on candidates running for office.
Nick Battis, Pratt Institute director of exhibitions, has more than 20 years’ experience with Pratt’s galleries. He developed the 2008-2009 “Politics and Media” exhibition series that led to local artists’ and designers’ increased involvement in the issues at the center of the 2008 Presidential election. Battis’ goals as director are to offer compelling exhibitions that focus on recent themes and trends that also lead the way for positive change. He is also an active artist and holds a master of fine arts degree in painting from Pratt Institute.
Eleanor Heartney has been an arts writer, curator, and cultural critic for over 20 years. She is contributing editor to Art in America and author of numerous books about contemporary art including Postmodern Heretics: Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art (Midmarch Arts Press, 2004), After the Revolution: Women who Transformed Contemporary Art (Prestel, 2007), and Art and Today (Phaidon, 2008). She was co-curator of Pratt Manhattan Gallery’s “Party Headquarters: Voting is Just the Beginning” exhibition in fall 2008.
Larry Litt is a writer, performer, and producer of The Blame Show video and cable television series, which comments on American and international social and political issues in different forms and media. He has curated several political art exhibitions including Pratt Manhattan Gallery’s “Party Headquarters: Voting is Just the Beginning;” and produced the gallery’s popular “Pratt Falls” after hours political satire events. He has also been featured in the Venice, Moscow, and Gwangju Biennales and has performed internationally in shows including the fifth anniversary of the Dada revival at Café Voltaire, Zurich.
Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art, is an artist, critic, author, and curator. He was the first American invited to assume the position of commissioner at the 1997 Venice Biennale. From 1990 to 2002 he was curator in the department of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he organized exhibitions on Max Beckmann, Elizabeth Murray, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, and Tony Smith. He has been a contributing editor at Art in America since 1981; has a regular column, titled “A View from the Bridge,” in Frieze Magazine; and writes frequently for Artforum, Parkett, and Art Press (Paris).
For more information, please call 212-647-7778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the competition, including a complete list of deadlines, is available at www.pratt.edu/exhibitions. Add Pratt Manhattan Gallery on Facebook by searching “Pratt Manhattan Gallery” and follow Pratt Exhibitions on Twitter at “PrattGallery.”