Without an audience to communicate with, the exhibition is just an exercise in spending money. In terms of telling that audience about the show, most of what I have done has been via Twitter, although with just a few characters to use with each tweet, there needs to be something to back it up. I’ve also been using Tumblr for longer posts, which auto-tweet anyway, and my normal blog on robtm.co.uk. I’m not a Facebook user, so that’s out of the question, but I know some of the others are, so hopefully they’ve been using it.
I also have a mailing list which I use to let people know about things that are happening, the last couple of these have been about the exhibition. It’s not got a huge distribution list at the moment, but it does get to a few people in the industry. Whether they read it or not is another matter...
Add to this an exhibition website that Dewald has created, then there’s a certain amount out there. He also created a flyer, which I will print up and put in the gallery window.
Elizabeth Underwood, from Underwood Works and OCA has been helping in terms of the Private View, gathering lists of invitees and co-ordinating the press-release and a handout (which we had to provide the material for). The PV has been handled via Eventbrite, which I suppose in many ways is similar to Mailchimp that I use for my mailing list.
There’s probably more I should be doing, but I’m lacking the physical capacity at the moment...
There are many considerations to take account of: for the work itself, supplementary material, promotions... there are bound to be things we didn’t think of, but here are some of things that I have:
Sponsorship - is it possible to get some money towards the show? Well, the other 5 didn’t seem to bothered about this as the costs weren’t astronomical, however I did manage to get some discounted printing from Paul Graham Image Specialists, and the OCA agreed to fund the PV. I also got something via the company I help run, but this is much like paying for it myself... If the show was to be bigger, and everyone was in agreement, then sponsorship would be more of a consideration to take onboard.
Presentation of the prints - My prints are going to be full bleed and on forex. Using forex means that a frame is unnecessary, and the prints come across as more “immediate”, to me at least. Also, not having glass means that there will be far fewer reflections - what there is will likely be a sheen, rather than a mirror like one as seen in these installation shots of Simone Lueck’s The Once and Future Queens.
That’s me in the left hand image - not the woman, the reflection!
How to hang the prints - mirror plates, strap hangers, “D” hooks... there’s many options here. I’ve opted for wooden battens to which I can attach velcro, then to the back of the forex. I suppose traditional battens would be the split kind, but then how are they attached to the forex print? Velcro seems much more versatile, and forgiving which is maybe more important - if we don’t get the batten 100% level, the velcro will allow it to be corrected. This is my first time you know...
Should I use captions - my immediate answer to this is “no”. I’m not a huge fan of individual captions, although it does of course depend on the photographs and the style of captions. Sometimes they’re really important, other times less so, especially if there is a good artists statement available. So, no captions for me, although having said that there is a small sheet with the credits for the various lyrics on it for Speak My Language.
Postcards - should I create postcards or some other promo items? Many of us have, myself included - I used Moo, a fairly cheap and flexible option, giving reasonable quality results on a rigid card stock (some offering are on slightly thicker than normal paper - very poor). I opted for two different styles of postcard for A Forest - one featuring the “official” juxtaposition, the correct images if you like, and another that just has half the image pairing so that they can be combined with another half to make a different object/forest juxtaposition when placed together. Obviously, these won’t be where the item was found, but I thought it might be nice to be a little playful... I’ve also got some postcards of Speak My Language from a while ago, so will be using those.
A catalogue - we originally decided not to have a catalogue, but in the end I wanted something for my own gratification which is developing into a full-on catalogue. Maybe I’ll make it available...
(note: the catalogue has indeed materialised with a nice introduction from Sharon Boothroyd. The catalogue is available from Blurb.)
Displaying A Forest book with the exhibition - there’s more images in the book than the exhibition, so should I also include the book with the exhibition? I’ve decided to do this, but only whilst I’m there in person (for the PV, and if I make it to the gallery any other time). I could also ask for the Gallery copy of Speak My Language to be wheeled out, but it was looking a little damp/tired last time I saw it.
Sales - do I sell my work, and if so at what sort of price? Obviously, I’d be very happy to seek my work there, but I’ve no idea about pricing. It’s a headache just thinking about it...
I know, I know. I’ve not formally started the MA yet but here I am banging some notes down in a blog. Well, I figured that doing so would be relevant and beneficial in this case, because it’s all to do with putting on an exhibition.
Earlier this year, I put out a call to see if anyone was interested in putting something on the Source website and grabbing some exhibition space to show our wares to the public. Five others rallied to the exhibition call (well, 4 at first, one came later and another one to Source), and so the six of us had to sort out an exhibition, this entry will merely set the scene, and the following posts will cover off some of the things I’ve been up to in order to pull it all off (others have done stuff too, don’t get me wrong on that - I’m just really blogging about what I’ve done).
So, a bunch of people, some photographs and where do we go from there?
Well, I suppose the first thing is the space, and from there we can decide how many, which and whatnot. A big space means big costs, both in terms of hiring it and filling it with prints.
There’s also the artist bios and the statements, which are needed up front as you often need to provide a proposal (I suppose this isn’t necessary for everywhere)
Publicity is a beast all by itself, where and how to promote. Private views to arrange and all that stuff.
Printing and then installing....
Stressing the PV, people are going to want to talk about the work! Actually, it will be worse if people DON’T want to talk about the work, but still, talking about the work is a big thing.
Oh, what am I thinking?!?