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Babelgum Metropolis Art Prize Counts Lee Wells Into Judging Panel

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Lee Wells, the Curator-at-Large for the SCOPE Art Fair and Co-founding Director of the video art archive Perpetual Art Machine, has just joined luminaries including Isabella Rossellini and Tate Modern Curator Cedric Lewisohn, on the judging panel for the Babelgum Metropolis Art Prize. Babelgum also today announced that is has secured a media partnership with Time Out New York, the popular Big Apple arts and entertainment weekly, to spread the word about this first of its kind art video competition, which will award $30,000 in cash to artists and premiere the best creations on multiple monitors in New York’s Times Square on December 17.

Also a noted artist in his own right, Mr. Wells most recently organized the video exhibition 'DRIFT' (2008) for the National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow . The Metropolis Art Prize judging panel is also adding expertise with the addition of Time Out New York ’s Editor-at-Large and Chief Art Critic Howard Halle . Prior to joining Time Out New York , Halle served as Curator of Performance Art for The Kitchen Center in New York City and was Associate Art Editor for Grand Street , an art and literary quarterly.

Babelgum, the independent web and mobile video content platform, launched the Babelgum Metropolis Art Prize to seek out art videos from the world’s best and edgiest artists. The competition is an open call to all artists active in any visual medium to submit videos of their works. Entries will be evaluated by a jury of curators chaired by iconic art-house actress and video artist Isabella Rossellini, in addition to being voted upon by the Babelgum audience. Nine winners will have their videos broadcast on jumbo monitors in Times Square, turning New York City ’s most spectacular space into an art installation site; three will also win cash prizes worth a total of US $30,000. The Prize is presented in association with SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show and Perpetual Art Machine.

Entries to the inaugural Babelgum Metropolis Art Prize are now being accepted until October 25, 2009 at Jurors and audiences will vote on the videos from November 2 through December 6, 2009. The special winner’s exhibition in Times Square will take place on December 17. Further information about submission specifications and regulations, including deadlines to submit, screen and vote, are available at

Metropolis publisher Laurence Billiet explains the rationale behind the competition and her excitement with the new additions to it. “We’ve found that more and more artists are using video as a medium” says Billiet. “Often it begins with a desire to document the ‘making-of’ their art - particularly when it is of ephemeral nature, such as graffiti or performance. But over time the video itself has become an extension of the artwork and it acts as a complementary or alternative form of self-expression. Once uploaded online, the video also allows the artist to reach a broader and more global audience, than say a specific gallery.”


"We’re extremely enthused to add Lee and Howard to our judging panel, curators and critics with an eye for the new, the exciting and the breakthrough,” continues Billiet. “Our partnership with Time Out New York will also be a great asset in bringing news about this competition and emerging artists to and beyond the world of art-lovers.”

The Babelgum Metropolis Art Prize will bestow the following awards:

The Metropolis Art Grand Prize: The winner will receive US $20,000, a dedicated artist channel on Babelgum Metropolis and will have his/her video screened on Times Square monitors.

The Best Street Art Video: The winner will receive US $5,000 and have his/her video screened on Times Square monitors. The Best Street Art Video will be selected by juror Cedar Lewisohn, curator of the 2008 Street Art exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery in London .

The Audience Award: The winner will receive US $5,000 and have his/her video screened on Times Square monitors. The Babelgum audience will vote for this award online and on mobile.

The Times Square Special Screening Awards: six runners-up (two from each prize category) will also have their videos screened on Times Square monitors.
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