Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hanging a show

These photos show Meredith and I hanging the show Rooted, at the Mary Black Gallery, 1061 Marginal Road, Halifax. The show opens Friday April 20th and runs to June 10th, all in 2012.

The piece I didn't get photographed is the map Meredith makes every time we hang a show. She manages to get colour images of each item to be hung, then draws a detailed floor plan with measurements she has taken herself. She does not pay attention to the floor plan provided by a gallery, they are often wrong. She notes where ugly things are that can't be avoided, such as fire hydrants and thermometers.

Then Meredith cuts up her tiny images and places them around the floor plan until the colours all look terrific and hopefully the measurements work out. Knowing Meredith, it takes more than one session. It all gets taped into the map and boom, we have a game plan.

To top it all off, there are colour images of each piece with the artist's name and measurements that we cut up into individual pieces. These get taped to the wall according to the game plan. We walk around the room several times deciding focal points, if ugly things are too close to artifacts, what kinds of plinths we might need, where the labels will go in case they cause an intrusion and what the flow of traffic will be like, remembering the need for fire escapes and wheel chair access.

From these small images, we toss half the decisions out the window, shift a few things here and there (for the first time but not the last time)

and place the actual artifacts on the floor on drop cloths.

Then we start to hang things on the wall and the ceiling.

Meredith and I have been hanging shows of one sort or another for close to 13 years now. We have yet to get annoyed with each other, or fling nails in each other's direction. I don't know why we work so well together, but we do. It is a pleasure to hang a show with Meredith and we laugh a lot as we exhaust ourselves.

We've spent nearly 10 hours on this so far over two days and tomorrow we go in to hang the remaining 4 quilts. These 4 require climbing up the huge yellow ladder in the first photo and we were just too tired to attempt it today. The person doing the lights will have been in and many of the labels placed. We will tweak quilts to make sure they are level and the shadows aren't tricking us and then we will turn up on Friday for the opening, ready to pat ourselves on the backs for another show well hung.

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