Admittedly, I have been only slightly interested in the Art Loop Open. That changed Friday when they became the center of local controversy (and when our friend Steve Hamann made the top ten.) A friend of the show sent us these two emails detailing the controversy…


email 1. Friday.

1. Today, Art Loop Open announced the top ten finalists in the first year of their competition. A couple hours, later, Bernard Williams was disqualified because someone else (without his knowledge) distributed the number of his artwork around Columbia College.

2. There were 4 venues that contributed no artists to the top ten (Allegro, Palmer, Merch Mart, Hard Rock) though they represented 35% of the artists in the competition. By contrast, 5 other venues (Metra, Burnham, Macy’s, Wit, and W) represented only 19% of the artists, but contributed exactly half of the top 10 artists. Further, it’s interesting to note that 70% of the top ten were located within one block of Block 37, although only 50% of the total artworks were located in this area. All of the venues without winners are located farther than 1/5 mile from Block 37.

This begs the question: does the choice of where the artwork is placed affect the outcome of the voting? Taking note of the poor exhibition conditions of the Hard Rock Cafe, Palmer House, and other venues, the answer would seem to be affirmative. Block 37, as the center of the activities surrounding ALO, clearly was also the center of activity for public voting. Artists not positioned in or near this location, in my opinion, were put at a severe disadvantage.

email 2. Sunday morning

I did a little research and found that Bernard Williams’ number was not the only number “published” during the first round of Art Loop Open voting. This begs the question: why were the other artists not disqualified, especially the other 3 artists who are in the top ten and who’s numbers appear in the following video.

In this first video, at least 40 artist’s numbers were published online on Thursday October 21st, and they may need to be disqualified.

Three of the artists have been listed in the top ten:
1. #6 geo (aka giovanni arce), whose number and wall text appear very clearly around 1min 46sec into the video
2. #82 Catherine Jacobi appears within the first 4 seconds of the video
3. #22 Lauren Brescia appears within the first 4 seconds of the video

In the first four seconds of the video, the following artist’s numbers appear along with the photos of their artworks: 4, 25, 50, 61, 32, 53, 63, 73, 82, 109, 10, 33, 55, 65, 74, 80, 110, 22, 41, 56, 66, 76, 90, 112, 23, 46, 58, 68, 77, 95, 113, 23, 47, 60, 69, 78, 98, and 114

Artits 119’s number as well as artwork also appears at 1min 13 seconds into the video.

Artist 140 appears at 25 sec.

Artist 90 appears very clearly at 33sec.

The video can be found here:

In this video, dated October 15th, another 5 artists numbers appear: 138, 66, 185, 119, 161.


Why bother eliminating Bernard Williams when you know that every artist in the open emailed their friends to have them vote for them? With real money at stake you have to expect that every artist is going to do what they can to get in to the finals (not to mention their friends and frequent collaborators, GO STEVE!) Then they changed the final voting rules which seem to say, in essence… Hey have your friends vote but just have them vote once. Doesn’t that leave Bernard out in the cold for no reason? The Loop Open doesn’t even know that he is personally responsible for the perceived infraction. Sounds like someone over reacted and cost one artist their shot at the money and that seems kinda shitty. So ALO wtf is with your voting policies?

Here is a link to their voting policies

And Bernard’s work (which is pretty kick ass)

and the controversy