The regulations of the National Exhibition of Visual Arts (SNAV) underwent significant modifications in 2018 and were updated in 2020. In 2018, the Grand Prix of Honor, which was awarded as the highest award in each of the eight disciplines (ceramics, drawing, photography, installations and alternative media, engraving, painting and textile arts), was replaced by the National Award for Artistic Achievement. These awards are now assigned in parallel to the SNAV by a specific jury and awarded to eight artists with a sound track record who have generated relevant contributions to the arts in Argentina.
The jury is composed by seven members: two represent the National Museum of Fine Arts, one is an Argentine art specialist proposed by the Secretariat of Cultural Heritage and appointed by the Ministry of Culture, and four representatives of artistic or cultural associations.
In 2018 and 2019, the candidates to obtain the National Award for Artistic Achievement were selected from a number of submissions made by entities and organizations dedicated to the visual arts throughout the country presenting artists over 60 years of age. In 2020 this scheme was modified so that the artists were able to make submissions themselves, together with a letter of endorsement from the entities and organizations. Artists who are 45 years of age or older can now make submissions.
The eight winners will obtain a life pension under the terms of article 1 of Law No. 16,516 and its amendment, as well as Law No. 20,733, to be collected after said artists reach the age of 60, as stated in article 185 of Law No. 24,241 and its amendments. Awardees must also donate a piece that is representative of their production to become part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts. Thus, the prizes, which were previously awarded to an anonymous work in each category, are now awarded to artists with a relevant career and a recognized track record.
The SNAV award maintains the eight categories and grants three awards in each one: first prize, second prize, third prize, plus special mentions if the jury so considers, and in none of these cases do the prizes amount to an acquisition. In addition, three independent prizes are added to the abovementioned disciplines under the name Presidency of Argentina Acquisition Prize, awarded to the three best works of the SNAV.
Likewise, in 2018 the structure of the jury was modified: previously, it consisted of a jury of specialists in each of the eight disciplines. The division by categories for the contest was maintained, but a single jury of five members will be in charge of evaluating all of the works across the board. There is also an urgent need for a specific member of the jury to be appointed as curator, who will have the task of outlining and organizing the SNAV exhibition.
In 2020, this jury is made up of five members: a recognized specialist appointed by the Ministry of Culture who will act as the curator, two specialists -also appointed by the Ministry after a selection by the Secretariat from a list of candidates proposed by the associations for artistic or cultural promotion-, and two representatives of these associations chosen by the artists.
In 2020 a modification was added, so that this cross functional jury acts in the selections and acquisition awards, while the awards in each category are voted by two specialist members who were added; they are members of Cultural Promotion Associations, chosen by the artists in each case, from a total of 16 rotating jurors.
In 2018, the regulation established equal gender participation in the selected works, juries and winners. In 2020, in response to inequality in the participation of artists from the provinces versus the capital city, a provincial quota was established to ensure at least 30% of the participants, selection and award of works -such as in the nomination and granting of the National Awards for Artistic Achievement- for residents outside the City of Buenos Aires.
Also starting in 2018, the exhibition format was modified: the works selected in each category are exhibited jointly through an articulation designed by the member of the jury who acts as a curator. In this sense, although there is no regulated quota that applies to the selected works, the number is determined by the space limitation imposed by the venue assigned for the exhibition.
In 2018, the possibility of submitting works made using organic or perishable materials was also included, and acceptance was left in the hands of the jury, at their discretion. The option of submitting works that can be installed in outdoor spaces was also incorporated and, although there were restrictions based on weight and size of the works, the jury may make exceptions as they see fit. Although the 8 disciplines were maintained, it is now possible to choose to indicate "other", in which case, the jury will include the submission in the category they deem appropriate. Finally, in 2020 the prize amounts were updated, increasing them by 60% compared to the previous year.
The general percentages (as part of the total for all categories) corresponding to selection and awards to women between the period 2000 to 2017 were mostly less than 50%, a fact that has improved over time, but has perpetuated an unequal structure that has been a historical reality at the SNAV.
Based on the claims voiced by various sectors -among them the collective "Nosotras Proponemos" (We Women Propose)- in 2018, a gender quota was introduced as part of the new SNAV regulations to guarantee equality, both among the members of the SNAV jury, the selection and the awards for the works, as well as in the nomination and granting of the National Awards for Artistic Achievement. This clause is applied to all disciplines considered as a whole, while there may be different situations in each category and considering that the prizes for each category are an odd number. According to this modification in the regulations, the jury should guarantee that the final number in the selection of artists is equitable, a principle that has been complied with since its implementation to date.
Particularly as from the 2019 edition of SNAV, the option to indicate "other" in the gender field has been included in the registration form, which resulted in a total of 32 submissions from participants who identify themselves as non-binary and had the possibility of registering indicating that option.
The National Award for Artistic Achievement has been awarded to men and women equally, with a slight advantage towards the female gender in the last year. In 2018 the winners were Carlos Alonso, Mimi Escandell, Manuela Rasjido, Marie Orensanz, Juan Carlos Distefano, Norberto Gomez, Delia Cancela and Roberto Jacoby. In 2019 the winners were Eduardo Gil, Luis Felipe Noe, Elda Cerrato, Sara Facio, Narcisa Hirsch, Eduardo Seron, Marta Minujin and Graciela Carnevale.
|Name of partner||Type of entity|
National Museum of Fine Arts. Associations for artistic or cultural promotion.