Friday, May 9, 2008

Group Art Exhibitions

Being responsible for a group art exhibition can be scary. There are artists to organize, the venue to book, promotional material to distribute -- the list is endless. One of the most stressful times is hanging day. This can be both chaotic and exhausting with artists dropping off artworks, paintings waiting to be hung, and price lists to organize. With some pre-planning you can make your hanging day less stressful and more fun.

Reduce stress on hanging day by getting some help, ensuring you have the right equipment, pre-marking the walls, adopting an efficient hanging method, and using artwork swing tags and price cards.

1. Get help

Well before hanging day enlist the help of several people. Give each person a different task so they can get on with the job independently. Enthusiastic helpers will allow you to coordinate the day, not left to do it all alone like a super hero.

When the day is over remember to thank your helpers by mentioning them at the opening function, sending them a thank you card, or presenting them with a Certificate of Participation. Appreciation for a job well done is important.

2. Bring the right equipment

There is nothing worse than discovering you have forgotten to bring the step ladder or hammer to hanging day. Returning home to collect the forgotten item is time consuming and stressful. Be organized by writing an equipment checklist and checking the items off before you leave. If you hang exhibitions regularly consider purchasing a tool box on wheels to help cart your equipment around.

Items to take along with you on hanging day are a step ladder, hammer, tape measure, spirit level, picture hooks and nails, pencil, box cutter, bluetac, map pins and twine. Other useful items are a screw driver, assorted screws, nails and hooks, gun stapler and staples, scissors, packing tape and a permanent marker.

3. Pre-marking the walls

Hanging artworks at the same height makes your exhibition look professional. Some people prefer the tops of the paintings to be level and some prefer all the centres to be at eye height. Whichever height you prefer you can reduce the time hanging the artworks by pre-marking the walls.

Using a tape measure and map pins, measure the required height at several different places across the wall. Connect the pins with long twine to give you a horizontal line. This line can then be used to accurately and quickly find the common hanging point.

4. Efficient Hanging Method

Climbing up and down a ladder can be frustrating and exhausting. Make life easier for yourself by getting someone to help you. One of you can be up the ladder, while the other can be passing the hooks, hammer and artworks. Not only does it take less time to hang the exhibition, but it will be more fun too.

If you're using the pre-marking technique above, use a ruler to measure the distance between the hanging cord and the top of the painting. Transfer this measurement onto the wall, using the horizontal string line as your guide.

5. Swing Tags and Price Cards

Creating an accurate price list can be a nightmare, particularly at group exhibitions. Many artists change the title, price and even the artworks before the big day, and this can be frustrating to keep track of. Use swing tags and price cards instead of exhibition numbers and a price list to help reduce the stress.

Before the exhibition give every artist a swing tag. It should be hung on a cord long enough so the swing tag can hang over the top of the artwork. One side of the swing tag will have the artist details, the other will have the artwork details. Transferring the artwork details onto a price card will be easy to do now, and the completed card can be quickly adhered to the wall with bluetac.

The hanging day for a group art exhibition can be stressful and hard work. With a little bit of pre-planning, help and some basic equipment you can turn a frustrating day into a fun day!

4 Ways To Increase Visitor Numbers

There are so many art exhibitions around that sometimes your own exhibition can get overlooked. When organizing your next exhibition use your opening function to create something interesting and innovative. By coming up with an imaginative hook or angle you will be assured of getting more visitors through the door.

The majority of sales happen during the opening function therefore take full advantage of this opportunity to maximise dollars. Entice as many guests as possible to your event to increase your chances of sales by both shear numbers and by creating an illusion of demand.

Increasing visitor numbers can be achieved simply by having a drawcard at your opening function, such as inviting a VIP guest, having an unusual and interesting hook, unveiling a special artwork, or holding a competition.

1. VIP Guests

Everyone wants to meet someone famous. So inviting a VIP guest to your opening function is a sure way to get people to attend also. By association your visitors will automatically view your event as something special and important too - just like your VIP. If you don't know anyone well-known ask your friends, family or work colleagues for contacts. Someone is bound to know a sports celebrity, actor, musician or politician.

During the event make your VIP feel important and special. Offer them refreshments, introduce them to other important guests, and mention them warmly during your speech. A few days after the opening function follow up with a letter of appreciation.

2. Interesting Hook or Angle

With a little imagination and creativity you can make your opening function really special by adding an interesting hook or angle. Perhaps you can adopt an unusual hanging method to display the artworks; incorporate an interactive art installation which guests can 'play' with; include a multi-media display using video or sound; or hire a live jazz band to create atmosphere and ambiance.

Art exhibitions can become very flat and static, so adding an extra dimension can be very beneficial. Not only will you increase visitor numbers, but you guests will see you as an interesting, innovative artist and perceive your artwork as a worthwhile investment.

3. Artwork Unveiling

Turn your opening function into an extra special event by unveiling an extra special project. This will create anticipation and excitement as your guests wait for the presentation to take place. You could unveil a major artwork which you have spent a lot of time on, something you have prepared for a special charity cause, a collaborative project that many artists have participated in, or a memorial piece to acknowledge a worthy event or person.

Create maximum impact and splendor by rigging up a curtain in front of your artwork. Attach lengths of ribbon to the curtain so it can dropped at the precise moment to reveal the master piece to your eager audience.

4. Competition

People love getting something for free so a competition is a sure-fire way of getting people to attend your opening function. Start the competition at the beginning of the evening and finish it at the end. This will encourage your guests to stay longer, which will in turn increase your chances of additional sales.

Be imaginative with the competition question. Consider your exhibition theme, use wit and humour, and incorporate logic and problem solving into your question to really get the conversation going. At the end of the evening get your VIP guest, to announce the winner and present the prize.

By using a little imagination and creativity at your art exhibition opening function you can increase visitor numbers, enhance sales, create interest, and generate enough excitement to ensure guests come back again for the next exhibition!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Art Galleries Hosting Art Exhibitions And Architecture

An abstract art gallery or museum usually hosts art exhibitions and is also used as a location for the sale of art. Some of the abstract art form represented in such museums includes fauvism, cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.

Some famous abstract art galleries in the world are Centre Pompidou, located in Paris, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Pecci Museum of Contemporary Art and Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Italy. England hosts some famous abstract art museums like Annely Juda, Estorick Collection, Modern Art Oxford, Serpentine Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate St Ives, Tate Liverpool and Pier Art Gallery. The United States also boosts two popular art galleries, the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum.

Centre Georges Pompidou, commonly known as Pompidou Centre, houses around 50,000 art works including paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs. On the other hand, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a small museum on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, which primarily contains the personal art collection of Peggy Guggenheim. However, the museum also displays collections of other prominent American modernists and Italian futurists, and includes work based on themes of cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism. The museum has gained prominence in Italy for its collection of European and American art of the first half of the 20th century.

England houses some well-known art galleries. Modern Art Oxford and the Tate Gallery have some amazing abstract art collections. Modern Art Oxford was established in 1969 by a small group of Oxford dons and hosts works of renowned artists like Tracey Emin. Tate Gallery encompasses Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St. Ives and Tate Modern, and houses some of the best abstract art in the world.

In the US, the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum exhibit some famous work of abstract artists. The Museum of Modern Art houses some best modern masterpieces in the world, like Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso, The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí, and Broadway Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian, among others. It also displays works by leading American artists like Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Edward Hopper. On the other hand, the Whitney Museum displays contemporary American art by some lesser-known artists.

Abstract art galleries provide a unique opportunity for art lovers to study and admire the works of their favorite artists, and with modern technology, most of these art works are also accessible to art patrons through virtual art museums.

Spanish Art And Architecture Galleries

Spain may conjure up pictures of sunloungers, sandcastles and beer, but arguably the best thing about the country is its incredible collection of art. Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Diego Velazquez were all born here, and a luxury holiday in Spain, tailor-made to explore the best of Spanish art, is the ideal way to explore this country's impressive galleries and remarkable architecture.

If you want to sample the best of Spanish art, you can't go wrong with a luxury holiday in Spain's capital, Madrid or a short break to Bilbao to take in its magnificent Guggenheim Museum. Alternatively you could take a tailor-made holiday to Spain's artistic and architectural mecca, Barcelona, perhaps incorporating a stay in a luxury Spanish villa.


If you're looking for the right location for an absorbing luxury holiday in Spain, Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations for visiting galleries. The Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado, has three galleries within a few minutes' walk of each other.

First of all, there is the Prado Museum, with its unsurpassed collection of paintings by Baroque artists Velázquez and Goya. The Prado is the most famous of the three. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum, where Picasso's Guernica hangs. For anyone interested in modern art, a tailor-made holiday to Spain would be incomplete without a viewing of this dark masterpiece.


Luxury holidays in Spain's magical city of Barcelona are hugely popular, one of the main reasons being its extensive range of fabulous art galleries. Stay in a boutique hotel near to the famous Ramblas, or spread out in a luxury Spanish villa, and embark on a tour of all the best exhibitions.

Among the best of the modern art galleries are the Fundació Joan Miró, the Picasso Museum and the Fundació Antoni, and the Museu Picasso features many of Picasso's early works. The Dali Museum is a short train journey from Barcelona and an important addition to a tailor-made holiday in Spain.

But the most visible art to be seen in Barcelona is in the design of its buildings. The highly original and fabulous work of architect Antoni Gaudi can be seen and explored throughout the city., but Gaudi's best-known building is the immense but still unfinished church, the Sagrada Familia. This elaborate building, which looks like something out of a fairy tale, is a must see for any art holiday in Spain. Tailor-made itineraries should also include Gaudi's wonderful Park Guell and Casa Mila building.


Bilbao was not a traditional destination for holidays in Spain, luxury or otherwise, until what is now the most recognisable feature of Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum, opened in 1997. Built in shiny titanium, this fantastic building houses an unmatched collection of 20th century art, which rotates between Bilbao, Venice and New York.

US architect Frank Gehry based the design of the Guggenheim on the shapes of a fish and a boat, two important elements in the history of this former industrial city, whose chief activities were shipbuilding and fishing. The museum has injected new life into the city and tourists from all over the world are now flocking to take luxury holidays in Spain's new area of cultural interest, Bilbao.

As well as being home to the famous Guggenheim Museum, the city's Fine Arts Museum is recognised as one of the finest art galleries in Spain. A tailor-made holiday to Bilbao should include a visit to this highly prestigious gallery, which has over six thousand paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and objects from the 12th century to the present day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Model Release For Art Shows And Photo Exhibitions

There are several answers to this question, depending on whether you live in the USA, China or Iraq. I choose to be facetious because many American photographers, in these times, seem to forget that they still have First Amendment Rights. There are enough discussions exhibiting confusion about model releases in the Kracker Barrel Archives to fill several volumes. All of it, like all legal matters, is open to interpretation.

My comments on the subject of model releases are always directed to the use of your photos in editorial situations.

The real test of this question about whether you should be trying to get a release for photos of children in public is the book, newspaper, or magazine publisher (the basic customers of editorial photographers) who would be the target of a legal case. A community art show or photo exhibit is not unlike your local newspaper publishing a feature photo in its Home Life section, or on its website. And in my forty years of observing editorial stock photography it's very rare that a parent (or the child) doesn't enjoy seeing their child's picture in an exhibit or published in a magazine or book. No attorney on a contingency basis would ever accept a case where real invasion of privacy is of concern.

Our USA First Amendment covers this issue.

Frivolous lawsuits of this nature used to happen, it seems, more often back in the 70's or 80's. You'd think it would happen more now-- what with all the sensitivity and fear that's prevalent in our society these days. It may be that there are fewer instances -- that many stock photographers have become gun-shy. They believe that they will get some "grief" from parents if they photograph in public and then exhibit the photos at a show, but failed to get a model release.

What's the result if you, as a stock photographer, photographing in the area of child development, domestic violence, social issues, child abuse, child safety, child welfare, etc. - if you don't capture poignant scenes of what's happening in your community?

What happens is, the other side wins. The pictures are not published and the corporate or governmental interests who would wish you didn't expose their blemishes are happy.

Eugene Smith, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Margaret Bourke-White, never walked around with a model release pad in their pocket.

I repeat again, it's the publisher not the photographer who gets in trouble if an irresponsible art director uses a picture in an insensitive way in the magazine's layout, in a way that distorts or misrepresents the original nature of the picture. In other word's, your neighbor's child's picture is used in a story about teenage gambling. Then a parent should rightfully take that publisher to court, and win - if the implication indeed is not true.

This would usually hold true also at a neighborhood art show or photography exhibit. When in doubt, apply the Golden Rule and ask yourself, "does this picture embarrass a friend or neighbor?" If it does, you might choose not to exhibit it.

True, there are always extenuating circumstances, and different interpretations of the law in different parts of the country. You'll often find burly security guards demanding that you not take pictures in their shopping mall. Well, it so happens that's where you're going to find excellent subject matter on the subject of community life. For a security guard to attempt to take your film or camera or even hassle you unnecessarily, calls for a phone call to the police on your cell phone; the guard would be arrested for attempted theft of your camera.

By the way, be sure to carry around a "Bust Card" in your camera bag. It's available in PDF form at It’s a card you can carry with you and refer to on any encounter with the police.

But to be timid about photographing a child in public because "you've heard stories that you could get in trouble, is to deprive the viewing public of your talents and the way you see the world. You have to ask yourself the question, "Is this picture worth it? There's a 1% chance that it'll result in great hassle for me, and a 99% chance that it'll belong in a retrospect of my work."

Editorial stock photography is not easy. If it were, everybody would be doing it. Here's a challenge for you (I give this challenge about every five years because a new crop of photographers emerges who have heard (usually by uninformed photography instructors and photo columnists) that they shouldn't be photographing children (or adults) in public because the photographer needs a model release for that picture to be published.

So here's the challenge.

If you can document a case for me where a photographer was taken to court (whether they won or lost), for publishing a picture (regular editorial usage) without getting a model release, I'll reward you with a year's subscription to any of our services here at PhotoSource International.

Take note that I've said, "documented," and regular editorial usage (not sensitive misrepresentation). Photographers, Internet gossips, and my fellow photo columnists continually perpetuate the myth about model releases and all the trouble you can get into when taking pictures in public. But when asked for follow-up documentation, it's never forthcoming.

So there. Photograph in public freely. Exhibit your work and sell your images in the spirit of "informing the public." No judge in a court of law is going to fault you for that if you are sincerely interested in editorial photography. It's your right. Even more so, it's your duty to protect that right, by challenging those who would jeopardize it.

Miniature Art Societies And Exhibition Centres

Summarized briefly, miniature painting is a form of painting that is deeply rooted in many cultures and spans centuries. The Lathams are a family of American artists practicing it in today's modern art market of galleries and exhibitions. As an artist, Rebecca Latham as well as her mother, Karen, and sister, Bonnie, strive for detail in their painting. Studying with a Flemish master, they have developed their styles for painting extreme realism. Their works, both large and small, are painted "in miniature".

Early Beginnings

Miniature painting is a traditional style of art that is very detailed, often referred to as painting or working "in miniature". Because of their origins as illuminations, they are also painted to have as smooth of a surface as possible. (It is also suggested that miniature art may have been influenced by the medals of ancient Rome as well) Miniature art can be traced back to ancient Egyptian manuscripts on papyrus scrolls. Monks are also often highlighted for their contributions to early miniature painting with their beautifully illuminated manuscripts such as the Celtic Book of Kells and England's Lindisfarne Gospels (both of which measure around 9" x 12"). Some early manuscripts contain miniatures on their pages that depict beautiful arrangements of life sized flower arrangements on their borders. The history of the art is also seen throughout the world in various other cultures.

Miniature painting began out of necessity for illustrating documents and manuscripts to aid those reading them during a time when many were not able to, before printing was invented. The miniature helped to convey the story and meaning of the written word. Therefore, the art of the miniature is directly connected to the book arts. The various sized illuminations (pictures) were cut out of these books or documents so that they could be carried more easily. Later, developing from the carried miniature, portrait miniature artists were commissioned to paint small portraits - paintings that were used as we use wallet sized photographs today. These sizes of miniature paintings became popular with collectors and are often referred to as "hand held miniatures". Portrait miniatures were painted in larger sizes as well, for example master miniaturist, Nicholas Hilliard, Peter Oliver, and Sir Charles William Ross all painted works that were of a larger size.


Miniature painting is sometimes confused and assumed that the pieces must be small or depict subjects on a smaller scale to be considered miniature art, though this is not the case. It is helpful to keep in mind that the origins of the term "miniature" have nothing to do with a size. The word miniature comes from the terms 'minium' (used for the red lead paint used in illuminated manuscripts) and 'miniare' (Latin for 'to color with red lead').

Miniature painting is a style and technique of painting, and as such, a wall sized work could be painted "in miniature". Authors of the Yale University Press publication, "The English Miniature" have stated that miniatures have been painted large and some works are even considered to be gigantic. Numerous faculty members of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London confirm that miniature paintings are not restricted to smallness. Larger sized miniature paintings are documented throughout history and are recognized today, though painting larger works in miniature is more difficult and time consuming than a smaller piece if the same attention to detail is observed. Miniature art is also unique in that it was and is often used on objects, such as the Russian lacquer boxes that are beautiful examples of Russian miniatures.


Today, there are miniature art societies in western society to help promote and preserve traditional miniature art and the "spirit of miniature". Their exhibitions feature the hand held miniature paintings (or sculptures) and each exhibition has its own unique guidelines and rules for artists showing in their exhibit. Some of these rules limit the size of work to be no larger than a set square inch. Others limit the size of a subject, such at the 1/6th scale rule that a subject may not be painted larger than 1/6th of it's natural size, or the 2" rule, that an object in the painting may not exceed 2". Scale rules were initially put in place as a guide for artists starting out in miniature art. There are also many framing restrictions for society miniature works as well. All of these rules are put into place by each show for their own individual and unique exhibitions, and do not define what miniature art is.

Artists painting miniatures throughout history were not restricted in their artwork by scale as their subjects were painted to any measurement or scale that the artist deemed pleasing to the eye and their patrons, for both manuscripts and other miniatures. Subjects that are naturally small in size, such as butterflies and insects, were painted life sized. Thus the 1/6th scale rule that is used by some shows and societies today unfortunately causes a bit of confusion to those new to the art form who commonly assume that is it a part of a mechanical criteria of the miniature's definition. The world's experts in miniatures do not recognize the rule as legitimate, and view those embracing it as unknowledgeable, and dismiss them.

The term "miniature", as it addresses miniature painting, is often confused with "miniaturize" and some miniature art exhibitions do not refer to miniature as it's initial meaning of techniques, but rather the size of the painting (miniaturized painting). They are two very separate descriptions.

Miniature painting is an art form that is very rich in history that continues today by artists from around the globe. The beautiful ornamental qualities of the miniature should be preserved whether it be the intricate large pieces, or intimate hand held works.

Many thanks to Joan Willies RMS, the Victoria & Albert Museum, & Patrick Noon.