How to hang an exhibition.

1– Carefully edit your art. Too many examples will weaken the overall experience. Remember the exhibition is only as good as the weakest element!

2- Consider how to engage the audience within the space. Presenting variable sized art forces the viewer to physically move closer and further away from the art. This breaks the viewing rhythm and can keep the viewer engaged for a longer period.

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Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, UK

3- To frame or not to frame. Aesthetics, visual weight and cost are all considerations when assessing how to present paintings, images or other types of art. Placement in a frame historically adds an impression of value and importance. If presenting images it is a good idea to have them mounted on aluminium or foamex, to increase stability. Many contemporary artists however prefer unframed art as it allows the audience to focus on the artists work. If you decide to frame we think it is very important that the frame complements the artwork style. A balance of framed and unframed art can work well.

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Structural Divinity Exhibition on show until 28/11/13 in Bergen. Click picture for more information.

4- Walls are usually dirty after just one show, so add a fresh coat of paint, touch up to remove any distracting marks or consider painting them a different color.

Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, Rick Mather Architects

Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, UK

5- Layout is critical. Decide on an eye line and keep this in mind when hanging. We feel 165cm above ground level suits a broad audience. If all art is hung in relation to this measurement it produces a calm layout where people can focus on content. If you are looking for a more energized chaotic layout then experiment with varied heights. Consider spacing between individual pieces as this determines whether they are seen as a collection of or independent artworks. A spirit level is required to ensure straight hanging.

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6- Don’t forget to sign the artwork!

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7- Always wear white gloves to avoid fingerprints.

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8- Lighting adds impact. Finding a venue with good lighting is not always easy as most spaces are designed for rotating exhibitions. This means that the lights might not be where you need them to be. If this is the case assess which artworks are most important and place them in the best lit areas. Consider supplying additional lighting if required.

9- Informative elements:

Artwork titles – These should be concise and informative.

Exhibition catalogue – It always takes a lot longer than you think to research and design a catalogue. Consider getting help from a professional designer if you are not proficient with Indesign, Quark or Illustrator.  For printing try http://www.printed.com for a reliable, fast and cheap service.

10- Window lettering – Type should be large enough to promote the exhibition to any passing traffic. Consider the correct colour/ tone for the right impact.

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11- Posters – It is very cheap to print a selection of A4 or A3 posters, these can be fly posted in the local vicinity to promote the show. You should be able to adapt the catalogue front page to produce an engaging poster.

12- Advertising – Social media has opened up a new exciting advertising opportunity where you only pay for people who click on your advertisement. Campaigns can be tailored by age, profession, geographical distribution and interests. This produces a smaller, relevant target audience and thus reduces costs and increases effectiveness. Check out @LikeableMedia by Dave Kerpen for an in depth Social Media engagement lesson.

13- Public Exposure – Don’t be shy otherwise no one will see your work. Send a concise press release with a few images of the work to be exhibited and the artists to the local and national press. A weblink to more extensive information will be useful. Make sure you research listing deadlines in advance, these can often be posted for free.

14- Private View – This is the chance to invite all of the people you would like to show the work to and generate sales to pay for your hard work. Choose a day of the week your audience is more likely to come out. Wednesday or Thursday seems to be best. This is where an up to date contacts book is very useful, make sure this is done in advance as again this is an element that will take a lot longer than expected to prepare.  Send invites via email using Mailchimp, a good free campaign manager for designing and sending PDF’s. Beware that some companies spamfilter might bloc the emails. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all effective methods to invite people and monitor confirmed attendance. Traditional mail invites are less common than before but can still be effective, it depends on your target audience. Print on 100% recycled material when possible and consider carefully the right time to send the invites.

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Private View at Structural Divinity Exhibition

15- Consider organizing a presentation in the space. Prepare information about the production of the work and invite relevant people.

Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, Rick Mather Architects

Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, UK

16- A dramatic backdrop for the art work always helps!

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View Exhibition at Battersea Power Station, London

Hopefully this information provides an overview of the main elements to consider when presenting artwork to the public. I’m sure there are many other elements to consider so please feel free to suggest ideas here or contact us @HundvenClements on twitter. We look forward to hearing your thoughts. All images are © Hundven-Clements Photography 2013, please include a credit if reposted, thank you.

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