This isn’t magic…

Ever wondered how much effort goes into putting on an exhibition? Probably looking at the great art too much to care I suppose. Well it isn’t just a simple case of nailing a potato to a wall and walking off 2 minutes later.

Even with a small group of artists every detail has to be considered. If there’s labelling to go on the wall then that needs to be written, checked, printed, and mounted. If there’s an information sheet available for visitors then you can rest assured this has been compiled from existing artists’ statements, edited, checked, and printed. Then what about the press releases? The social media? The fundraising? Emails between artists and curators can run into the hundreds just to plan a small show.

It’s a mammoth task to keep everybody happy and to make sure that the message seen by visitors to a gallery is exactly the message that the artist wants and also in keeping with the venue’s plans of what’s about to occur. The gallery space cannot be an unprofessional mess by the artists and an unwelcoming place for visitors. Communication of the art to the visitor is everything.

So next time you visit a gallery consider yourself lucky that it is such a calm and welcoming place. Enjoy the serenity of the presentation of the art you are engaging with. If entry to your local gallery is free then marvel even more at the behind-the-scenes work done by countless volunteers and low paid professionals who are striving to give you the best possible experience.  This isn’t magic which happens overnight. There’s some poor soul who’s spent hours getting all the angles right for you.

This afternoon, that poor soul is me.

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