This year sees the launch of Lithuania’s inaugural Visual Art Criticism Awards. Established by the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), the National Art Gallery of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art, and the digital magazine of contemporary art Artnews.lt, this new annual initiative, considered long overdue, seeks to draw attention to and celebrate texts about visual art, their diversity, quality, authors, art publications, and art itself. According to the initiators, the awards will not only create more intrigue, but also strengthen the motivation and professional solidarity among writers and bring a greater awareness of the best texts and programmes of the year to readers, listeners and viewers.
Candidates for the prizes can be suggested by anyone with an interest in contemporary art. Submissions of texts, programmes and initiatives will be evaluated by a jury who will prepare a shortlist of nominees. The shortlisted material will be made publicly available to readers prior to the jury’s announcement of the winners, who will each be awarded a cash prize of €900.
The prizes will be awarded in four categories: Short Form, Long Form, Texts by Artists and Curators, and Phenomenon of the Year. The Short Form category will include articles, interviews, reviews and other short texts of art criticism and research as well as individual episodes of TV and radio programmes, podcasts and other texts about art in non-written form. The Long Form category will encompass series of articles, collections of texts and other large-scale works.
The category Texts by Artists and Curators will focus on texts published as an integral part of an artwork, exhibition or other presentation, or as autonomous publications of art writing that do not primarily aim to reflect on other phenomena in the art field. This nomination seeks to draw attention to texts on art that go beyond art criticism.
The final category, Phenomenon of the Year, will make a single award for an exceptionally significant contribution to the development of visual art criticism in Lithuania. The phenomenon does not necessarily have to be in the form of writing or recording—it can be an initiative or an event of any kind.
In the Phenomenon of the Year category, a single author, collective or initiative will be chosen for the prize; one or two awards will be given in the Long Form category; and up to three winners will be awarded in both the Texts by Artists and Curators and the Short Form categories. All awards will be equal, with no first, second or third place winners specified.
HOW TO MAKE A NOMINATION
This year, the Visual Art Criticism Awards will be given for texts (in the widest sense of the word) published in 2022 and phenomena that took place in that same year. Texts can be nominated by anyone, both authors and editors of texts and publications as well as readers, listeners and viewers. Please submit proposals by the deadline of 17 March 2023 to [email protected].
The proposed texts should be written by Lithuanian authors and/or reflect on artworks or exhibitions created in Lithuania or other events and processes in the field of visual art in Lithuania. Reflections on the work of a single artist are also eligible. All texts should be published in Lithuanian or English, or otherwise translated into one of these languages. Where possible, submissions should include not only the author of the text, its title and the date and place of publication, but also a link to the text itself or a physical copy of it. Lack of information may result in the jury being unable to consider the text.
This year, the jury will consist of art historian and cultural journalist Jogintė Bučinskaitė; art historian and lecturer at Vytautas Magnus University Linara Dovydaitytė; artist, writer and editor of the magazine Dailė, Aistė Kisarauskaitė; writer and curator Valentinas Klimašauskas; and curator, writer and lecturer at the Vilnius Academy of Arts, Laima Kreivytė.
The awards will be presented on 1 June 2023 at the National Gallery of Art. This will be the final event in a wider series of events dedicated to the criticism of art: throughout April and May, Lithuanian and foreign art critics, cultural commentators and editors of art publications will invite visitors to public lectures and workshops at the National Gallery and the CAC Reading Room. The series of lectures and workshops and the new awards symbolically continue the annual series of international workshops and seminars for art critics, ‘3 Uses of the Knife’, organised between 2009 and 2013.
The new format of events and awards is curated by CAC team members Virginija Januškevičiūtė and Justina Zubaitė-Bundzė, and the editor of Artnews.lt, Vaida Stepanovaitė. Through the collaboration of these two organisations and the National Art Gallery, the awards are planned to take place on an annual basis. The partners of the project are members of the Lithuanian section of the International Art Association of Art Critics (AICA) and the Association of Cultural Periodicals. The 2023 edition of the project is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.