I recently finished making Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin, and am currently looking for an exhibition space. A previous post offered a few suggestions on how to find exhibitions spaces for your work. This post will show what I am doing step by step to find exhibition opportunities.
First, photos of the finished work are needed. In this case, because of the size of the work, I need to find a temporary space to install this large sculpture for photography. The artwork is 27 feet wide and 12 feet tall with an installation height minimum of 15 feet.
A friend has volunteered a large gallery space but only for a weekend. So, next weekend, my whole family will have to help install the work and take it down in a day and a half.
Great photos are essential to obtain an exhibition commitment. This has been mentioned many times before (so I won't belabor that point in this post). But here are some additional issues to resolve early: shipping and storage.
Shipping and storage are significant issues for both the artist and the exhibition sponsor. I recommend making custom packing for one-of-a-kind work as soon as it is finished. Your work can then be stored as needed and you are ready to ship safely as well.
For Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin I devised a simple method to protect the work with brown paper. Each of the fifteen feet long stanines roll up into tight bundles. This protects the pencils while providing compact storage and shipping. Before I even started this project five years ago, I planned how it would ship. It was all part of the big plan. Always plan for shipping and storage while you make the work.
You can view every step of the packing process on my Facebook album or in a special Flickr set with step-by-step photos. It may appear that the packing is simple. REALITY CHECK: It took two people working really hard for 6 and a half hours solid to get this done in one afternoon. We had to replicate this "envelope" for each of the nine stanines.
In the above photo, you can see Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin wrapped tightly in the brown paper in its individual box. It will be surrounded by bubble wrap and peanuts for shipping.
Yes, I know, there is empty space in the box but I want lots of cushioning (bubble wrap and peanuts) to surround my work and don't want the box to be too heavy. People will drop heavy boxes to the floor. I want gentle and careful handling to protect my work.
I do not like the printing on the outside of these boxes but the dimensions were perfect. I will cover the writing with brown packing tape and my instruction sheets. I still have hours of work to further prepare the boxes.
WEIGH YOUR SHIPPING BOXES
Many times exhibition sponsors want an estimate for shipping before making a commitment. The artist should be ready to estimate the cost for shipping (especially if the exhibition sponsor is paying for shipping). Each box needs to be weighed.
In my exhibition proposal, I will be able to provide the exact number of boxes, dimensions of the boxes, and shipping weight. For example, Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin ships in five boxes, 40" x 12" x 12". Weighing the boxes is work for this morning.
Write Instructions for Unpacking, Display, Installation, Packing, and Shipping.
I know this seems like a lot of advanced work, but all of this advanced preparation provides protection for your artwork and gives exhibition sponsors confidence in showing your work.
Sample Instructions for Unpacking, Display, Installation, Packing, and Shipping will be the next post on ASK Harriete.
This post was updated on February 10, 2022.