Local artists in spotlight at Honolulu Academy of Arts exhibit


A vibrant, sweeping collection of paintings, sculpture, photography, site-specific works and multimedia installations, the 58th Artists of Hawaii exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts puts homegrown talent in the spotlight through Aug. 16.

The show, held every other year, dates to 1950, making it the oldest juried exhibition in the islands.

"Many of the leading artists in Hawaii today got their start with Artists of Hawaii," said academy director Stephen Little. "And I'm very proud that we do the show. I think it's very important for the community, and I think it's always full of surprises, including really great work by people we've never shown before."

For this year's exhibit, 299 artists submitted more than 950 works for consideration. From that field, 87 pieces by 64 artists, ranging in age from 16 to 82, have been selected for display. For just the second time in its history, submissions -- accepted only from Hawaii residents -- were made online, where they were reviewed by a lone juror, Laura Hoptman, a curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

"There is definitely something unique in work by artists from Hawaii," Hoptman said. "The state's deep history of visual culture and craft seems to touch every work."

For many years, the academy has selected the show's juror from outside of Hawaii. Past judges have included museum curators and directors as well as art dealers, critics and even other artists.

"We try to keep the juror free," Little said. "We try not to tell them who's out there, who's new. We just leave it wide open, and that's always risky. We inevitably get some mail from people who aren't happy -- often from artists."

Others, however, are fans of the process.

"I really like that the academy usually brings in a neutral juror from the mainland," said Arnold Bornios, an Oahu artist featured in the current show and the 2005 exhibition. "I think it's great to have someone who doesn't have any preconceived notions about which artist locally is the one to watch for, somebody who comes in with a really fresh eye."

The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10.

For more information, visit www.honoluluacademy.org.

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