AUTHORITY – The 2017 Open Call Student Exhibition – Submissions Due 9.1.17


The 2017 Open Call Student Exhibition

Submissions Due: September 1st, 2017
Exhibition: Wednesday, September 13th – Thursday, September 21st, 2017
Worth Ryder Art Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus

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The opening reception of the 2015 Open Call Student Exhibition.


All current UC Berkeley Students (Fall 2017 semester) are invited to propose an artwork, a small series, or any other creative project!

The annual open call exhibition is the premiere showcase for student art on campus, and the only open-call exhibition of the year at the gallery.

Taking cues from the successful exhibitions of years past including 2015’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and 2016’s Seize the Means, AUTHORITY will present student work created by and for themselves, outside of the context of the classroom.


The theme of this exhibition, as suggested by the multivalent word “authority”, is purposefully open-ended and expansive in order to celebrate the diverse practices of our student artists. 

In early 2017, Matthew MacWilliams, PhD. candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, famously published a poll that found that authoritarian views were the single most significant variable in predicting whether a voter supported the candidacy of then US President-Elect Donald Trump. In a country whose founding principles include the idea that the authority of a government depends on the consent of the people, this flirtation with strongman rule heralds a major ideological shift.

While “authority” often connotes political power, it can also refer to earned recognition of someone’s expertise in a field, an ostensibly meritocratic authority that is not without its problems. The word also shares a root with the word “author”, and, in the context of the visual arts, raises questions about the artist’s intentions, and their right, sometime waived, to have the final word in the interpretation of their work. These interrelated meanings expand and complicate the theme of the exhibition. 

Art galleries are public forums for open-ended discussions about cultural and social issues – the best work often takes an interrogative form. Thus, artists are ideally positioned to question authority. History has shown that periods of political upheaval are also opportunities for positive change; we are in need of fresh ideas, new modes of seeing, and reimagined ways of relating to one another. Our students have a vested interest in confronting the problems of authority, and this exhibition is a reflection of their communities, the concerns of their generation, and their vision for the future.

This exhibition is conceived of as a way to start critical conversations as much as it is to showcase the talents of our student artists. As in years past, applicants are encouraged to consider the theme implied by this title very broadly – there is a place for your work in this show, no matter your interests!

The work can be in any medium, from painting to performance, from video to interactive installation. We are open to including dance, music, writing – any form that you can imagine sharing in the gallery space. There will be performances during the opening on 9/13/17.

Although we hope to include a large number of students, admission to the exhibition is competitive. Incomplete or late submissions will NOT be considered, so please review your submission materials! If you are still in the process of creating your work, please include visually compelling sketches, images of related work, and a clear description of your intentions.


Exhibition Dates: Wednesday, September 13th – Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Opening and Performances: 4 – 7pm, Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

At: Worth Ryder Art Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus

Proposal deadline: 11:59 pm, Friday, September 1st, 2017

Decisions announced: Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Participants must be available to install their work: September 8th – 12th, 2017


Name and email

Proposal Text ≤ 200 words
Describe your artwork or creative project and why it fits this theme, broadly defined.

Installation Needs ≤ 200 words
Describe the specific form that your work will take, and how it will appear in the gallery. Describe any special materials you may need for installation (i.e. darkened space, video projector, pedestal, etc.). The director will work with you to plan installation. No fire, non-human animals, hanging things from the ceiling, or glitter. Note: the gallery does not provide framing, but work may be displayed unframed.

Images ≤ 3 jpgs | ≤ 1000px x 1000px | ≤ 1MB each | send link or attachment
If no image of proposed work, include proposal sketch. Include short one-sentence description of each image, size of work (or length of time-based media), and medium.

Send via email with subject “AUTHORITY 2017” to:
Farley Gwazda, Director, Worth Ryder Art Gallery

In years past, the primary reason proposals were rejected was because they were incomplete or late. Remember, admission is competitive, so please make sure your proposal is clearly written and visually compelling!

The opening reception of the 2016 Open Call Student Exhibition.

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