Thursday, November 2, 2006
Making Suggestions To a Gallery
Pink Patch, 206, Oil on Panel. 16x20
James at jrmedia asked me an interesting question in response to yesterday's post. He said:
I'm wondering, when you send your work to a gallery, do you ever 'suggest' how the pieces will hang - or is that just not the done thing?
I started to write a response and as usual it became rather long-winded so I thought I'd make a post of it. That way I can really prattle on and on.
Most of the galleries that I have worked with do a beautiful job of hanging their shows. So I have felt very comfortable in leaving my work and returning to find a nicely displayed exhibition. Doug and I have hung several of my shows at a few different art associations, so we know what's involved and that it does take a good eye and a bit of flair. I have a tendency to include too much work (editing my own work is not one of my talents) so I prefer to let the gallery take care of that as well as to group the paintings according to how they interpret them. Which is usually different than how I would. Which is good.
So at this point, I have never made any suggestions as to how they should hang my work. I suppose I might at some point, although right now I can't imagine doing that. I did come close this time, however, to making a suggestion. I made two large pieces specifically for the two spots in the gallery that will accommodate them, the director and I had discussed that ahead of time and she gave me the wall measurements. So when I dropped the paintings off, I mentioned that the two large pieces were meant for those spots, however if they felt that the work would be better suited somewhere else I was fine with that. Whatever they decide there will be no hissy fits on my part.
I certainly have had my share of bad experiences though. Mostly with art organizations whose livelihood doesn't necessarily depend on sales from their shows. I was in a show at an arts org a while ago and they did a terrible job of hanging the work, everything was either too low or too high and the groupings had no balance. They only sold about three pieces from the entire show and I feel certain that that number would have been higher if it had been hung better. There's a local organization that I participate in each year and I always offer to hang my pieces because they seem to have some difficulty with it, things are crooked and the nail holes and scuffs aren't always cleaned up properly. Last time, one of the two lights directed at my paintings had a burned out bulb at the opening, which was annoying. I did complain about that as I think that it really affected how my work looked at the opening. Burned out bulbs, especially at the opening receptions, are one of my pet peeves in a gallery and when I see that, it really bothers me. I was in a group show once where there were maybe 5 bulbs out. I didn't complain but it has affected my decisions about participating in future shows there.
That was a very long answer to a short question, which you all should expect from me by now. heh. To answer the other part about whether it is "the done thing", I don't know. And I would love to know. Perhaps some artists make suggestions, those who are more assertive than I am, and I imagine that more prominent artists would have some control over that if they wanted it, that is.
So tell us if you make suggestions about hanging a show or if you have heard of others doing so.