These are the pointers to myself from my experience of hanging a clean art show.
- Set aside twice the time you initially budgeted for just the hanging.
- Have a floor plan of the gallery with you ideally two months ahead of the show.
- Have a list with the framed sizes of paintings ready about a month latest before the event.
- Plan whihch painting goes where before you get to the gallery – this step was key towards making a homogenous showing. It took me 3 days to come up with final plan which would read like a story. A quick sketch of each wall helps when resolving confusion and self-doubt. One could stick these reference pictures on the gallery walls if you will have many people to help as a map for them.
- Corners of galleries are anchored by large paintings.
- The best framing for each painting will not be the best solution when multiple paintings hang together – uniformity in framing makes the framing enhance the framed art.
- Keep a minimum of 18 inches between each painting – not only does it look pleasing, it gives visitors shoulder space to stand. Unless of course you are showing diptych and triptych.
- Mark an eye level with masking tape on all connected walls in the gallery. This is your reference for all hangings. I hung my single row paintings with their bottom edges aligned with this line while for walls that had two rows of paintings I moved the top row up and bottom row down 6 inches.
- I broke rules until the composition of the entire show looked cohesive to my eyes.
- Check that all paintings are level twice – with a level not by eyeballing.
- Label the back of paintings serially in the order they hang. So when you or some help is unloading them from the car they can rest the paintings on the wall in the order they will be raised.
- Packing the car took me and Arin 1 hour when I had all the paintings packed correctly – since it is vital they travel safely until they are shown! I had not estimated this time correctly at first.
- After first 30 minutes of actual hanging are done and everyone is settled with their own method, turn on music.
- Call it quits before you are tired. Arin worked tirelessly for 6 hours and I didn’t see his fatigue – it was just the two of us – but he in tiredness raised a collapsible ladder and it caught the flesh of his palm and ripped a small chunk out. It hurt him a lot bit and made me realize that I was playing with hammer and nails and could not afford to lose alertness. Definitely not at the cost of my child’s flesh!