A Curator’s Commandments to Artists – #1

#1 – Thou Shall Not Drop Off Art Work That Is Not Ready To Be Hung

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In my three years of curating group shows, my number one pet peeve and actual problem that at times would put me in a bind; was that artists would drop off art work with no way to hang it. Or would leave brackets with me, but then give me the responsibility to install the brackets, which made me nervous because I didn’t want to damage the piece in the processes. This is not a nice thing to do to your curator. Depending on the person and the location your curator might not have the tools or the time to install a way to hang your piece. I never carried wire, brackets, or a drill on me. My tool box was equipped to hang art on the wall, not make a piece able to hang. Sometimes I would have immense time crunches. Needing to get my show up an hour or two before doors and stressing about incomplete pieces was not helpful. Thankfully in the few times I came across this problem, I was able to get assistance from the framing shop down the street, Bunny Gunner. But if they were not there, then those artists would have never had their work on the wall.

Yes, making your work able to hang on a wall is the artist’s responsibility. This is like a construction worker building a house, and not putting in a front door. Why would you leave your work incomplete? If you want your art to be showcased, then why would you drop it off with someone unable to hang it. If you want your piece to be purchased, give your collector an easy way to display it on their own wall. Would you want to buy something that was not finished; pants with no zipper or Doc Martins with no laces?

Exceptions to this rule; you’re an artists working with a fairly large gallery that is established and you have discussed with them who will handle framing/ how your pieces will be hung. Unless you and the gallery/ curator talk about the hanging process in detail; always assume your pieces need to be ready to be hung*. This makes you look like a professional artists, a serious artist and are steps towards making a good impression on the art world and who you work with.

Unless you want your piece leaning against a wall on the floor, make sure it can be hung by a nail before you drop it off.

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If you are a curator or gallery owner and have a few commandments you would like to share email hello@bmaoi.com

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