One of the stated missions of Women’s Caucus for Art is to provide women artists with professional development and exhibition opportunities and with that in mind, I would like to talk about preparing your artwork for an exhibit.
I have done curating, registration, and the many other chores involving exhibiting art and I am really surprised at how thoughtlessly the art is sometimes submitted for hanging. Whether your exhibit is juried or non-juried, there are certain standards that your artwork should meet for presentation.
I’ve seen everything from dirty glass, no wires or method to hang the work, damaged frames, yellowing or discolored mats, to canvas paintings that are dirty or damaged and once I even saw a framed work on paper where an insect had gotten inside the frame!
There is no reason for any of this to happen. YOU must be responsible for your artwork and must be respectful of the gallery or group that is handling your work. It is not unusual these days for galleries or groups to REJECT your artwork, even artwork that has passed the jurying process, because of these things that I have just mentioned.
Here are some BASICS for you to be aware of and follow:
First - carefully read the prospectus, then read it again! There may be subject requirements, size requirements, hanging hardware and wiring requirements. If the prospectus or instructions say NO SAWTOOTH HANGERS, they mean NO SAWTOOTH HANGERS. Some galleries are not accepting work under glass and will only accept work under plexiglass or acrylic. Do not run the risk of your artwork being rejected because you did not follow instructions.
Before you bring or ship your work to the venue, make sure the artwork, frame, glass or plexi is clean - no nicks or scratches, no fingerprints - PRISTINE! To clean acrylic and plexi use a soft damp cloth or a cleaner designed for acrylic and plexi. Have some identification on the back of the work with the details - I use the acronym TAMPS (T. A. M. P. S.) to remind me. Title, Artist, Medium, Price, Size. You should also include contact info - phone, email, and website.
Check to see that the hanging wires and hardware is secure. If the wire is too loose, tighten it or replace it. If the work is matted, be sure that the mat is fresh and clean. Nothing dates and distracts from the artwork more than a mat that is poorly cut or when the bevel of a mat turns yellow - a sign that it is an old, cheap mat, not acid free. Invest in replacing those yellowing, badly cut mats to not only make your artwork look good, but to protect it.
Imagine if a curator has a choice between hanging artwork that is clean, with well cut, fresh looking mats in a clean undamaged frame, correctly wired, or one that is NOT - which one do you think they will choose?