The Process

Today began the Spring 2010 exhibit at PS:Gallery.  Technically the show was not supposed to start until tomorrow, but we finished much earlier than we thought we would so we opened a day early.  Hanging a new show is a process that is really unlike any other.  I thought it might be interesting to shed a little light on that process.

Each exhibit has 5 to 6 2-d artists and 1-3 3-d artists. The process of selecting artists for the exhibits will often start more than a year before the actual show is hung.  The PS staff choose artists for a variety of reasons.  We always have a representation of local, regional, and national artists and we try to have a variety of styles and medium.  We try to book all of the shows about a year in advance to give myself time to be organized.

The next step in the process happens about three months before the exhibit.  This is a time when press releases are sent out and lists of deadlines and expectations are sent to the artists.  The due dates and expectations list when we want print images, bio’s, web images, and work to be at the gallery.  Print images are needed about six weeks before the exhibit so we can put together a direct mail piece and included teaser images with the last newsletter of the previous exhibit.  Bio’s, artist statements and web images are needed about two weeks prior to the exhibit.  We try very hard to keep our website as up to date as possible.  Each artists, if they have sent me images, gets their own spot in the currently exhibiting page.  We do have clients that live outside of our area that primarily see the gallery through the website.

Postcards are printed about three weeks before the exhibit and mailed about a week before the exhibit opens.  Work is expected at the gallery a few days before we begin hanging the new show.  We usually build a few days into all of the due dates just in case anyone is delinquent in getting us information or work (This is a little bit of a joke, as most people are delinquent and it is more rare to have information and work on time).

One of my favorite times in the gallery is when the new work starts arriving.  It’s like Christmas.  Usually, when we pick artists we choose from images and not from actual artwork.  Even if we do get to visit an artists studio, the work that is delivered is usually different from the work we saw in the studio.  So we have an idea of what the work will look like, but there is no comparison to seeing the real thing.  Over the course of a week, we receive boxes and crates of work and artists arriving with car, truck and vans loaded with their work.  It is fun to start seeing the work in person and formulating a plan for the layout of the next exhibit.

As fun as it is to see all of the new work, hanging the new show is not all fun and games.  The first step in hanging the new show is taking down the previous exhibit.  Sometimes things need to be packed and shipped back.  Sometimes it is matter of helping load an artist’s car.  All of the tags have to be removed.  All of the inventory has to be taken out of the system.  This is generally the time that we would touch up the paint.  Next we get all of the new work unpacked and laid out in the gallery.  By the time we get to this point there has already been much thought about where each artists work will be in the gallery.  We have also usually given some thought as to where our movable walls might go.  We have a map of the gallery that we will sketch ideas on in the month preceding the new exhibit.

This part is like a puzzle.  Sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes it takes a while.  Usually we will figure out where we feel an artists work fits, and then we will arrange all of the pieces where we think they will look best.  We typically have a wide variety of work.  There is a trick to finding work that looks good together but is distinct enough to make sure each artists is clearly represented.  Our goal is always to make the artists feel their work is well represented.  Sometimes, much like an artist working on a new piece, it is not weather it is right, but rather that you know it is wrong.  We have hung entire shows before only to rearrange the next day.  We are very fortunate to have great people who help with each hanging.

After all of the work is hung there are always housekeeping issues.  All of the tags have to be written and hung.   All of the inventory has to be put in the system.  All of the packing materials from the new show have to be put in storage.  Then there is always the clean up to make sure the first day is the best the gallery can look.

The last thing we do is the Walk Through.  We leave the gallery and walk in as if we were seeing everything for the first time.  We talk about the art and the new artists.  One of the things I love about hanging the new shows is the comradarie.  It is not often we are all at the gallery together.  Hanging the new shows gives us an opportunity to reconnect and spend time together.  The walk through gives us a chance to exchange ideas and enjoy the art.  It gives us a moment to be spectators in the gallery.

So there you have it.  A look into my last two days.  Now you can come enjoy the fruits of our labor and maybe have a better understanding of what goes into making each show look great.



1 Response to “The Process”

  1. 1 perlowstevensgallery
    March 31, 2010 at 3:22 am

    like button

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: