Installing an Exhibition

When I walked in the door and saw all the artwork on the floor, I thought, “I have got a big job ahead of me!”  My second thought was, “There are a lot of big pieces.”

The Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance hired me to install their latest exhibition, This American Life, at the Boise State Public Radio offices last week.  Since this is one of their non-juried exhibitions, they accepted at least one piece from everyone that applied (sometimes more than one).  That means there were a lot of artworks and it was my job to fit them into the space and make it look nice.

I put my stuff down and got to work.  Based on my experience with the art museum, I think the best way to start installing a show is to place the largest pieces first or those pieces with special parameters (i.e. an artwork that needs to be plugged into an outlet).  Most likely, there will be less options for these pieces.

In the BSU office space, there are a few walls that are better for larger pieces.  With large artworks, the viewer needs more room to step back to see the whole picture. There are always exceptions, though.

For this exhibition, I put Melissa Chamber’s artwork (made from tarps) right at the entrance as you walk into the office.  There is not a lot of space to step back to view it.  However, the large windows directly across from it allow it to be seen from outside as you approach the building.  And since Melissa’s piece is so vibrant and graphically strong, I think it will pull viewers in.

Artwork by Melissa Chambers.

Artwork by Melissa Chambers.

Her artwork also has a lot of detail so viewers can appreciate it up close, too.  Personally, I like how the people are coming and going on her piece and that relates to people coming in and out of the office through the door.

Once I have the big pieces placed, then I start filling in the rest of the wall space taking into account all kinds of relationships of the artworks regarding size, space, colors, relating to surrounding artwork, surrounding structure and objects and different view points.

Artworks by Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance.

Artworks by Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance.

Artworks by Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance.

Artworks by Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance.

Later, TVAA member, Pam Demo, came to help me hang the few pieces that needed two people to get them on the wall.  She also put up all the labels.

 

Artworks by Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance.

Artworks by Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance.

 

Artwork by Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance.

Artwork by Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance.

As with most exhibitions, you do the best you can with the space and artworks you have to work with.

This install took me five hours to layout and hang the pieces.  I think that is pretty quick for doing it myself (not including the labels).

(If you are an artist or organization that would like help or needs someone to install artwork or an exhibition, feel free to contact me to discuss my rate.)

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