View Full Version : Question regarding what is used in presentation photographically in galleries

Raymond Bleesz
29-Mar-2016, 04:53
It's 5:30am & have finished my first cup of coffee, so this question might be lacking in clarity, but I am interested in the forums comments, observations regarding this question directed at two photographic outlets---the upper end fine art galleries and your local co-op galleries, universities & minor galleries in your community as there might be a difference or not.

I am interested in what material, the presentation, is hanging on gallery walls, i.e.., silver gelatin prints, digital prints, Polaroids, canvas, metallic type prints or other. What are forum members seeing generally?? is there a different between these outlets---what %'s are you seeing?? Is there a dominance in one mode of presentation?

I ask to become aware of what is now being hung in galleries as I am from the old school--silver gelatin prints for the most part, but have indulged in digital prints of recent. I have not indulged in canvas or metallic prints nor do I desire too. As a participant in a local co op gallery with exhibition duties, I have noticed a good number of fellow photographers going the route of canvas & metallic prints (the "in thing" to do). I have noticed that some metallic prints which, if mishandled or cared for, are easily scratched, defaced, are thumb print prone & such. I may comment to my fellow photographers regarding my observations, but I wanted input from the forum members.

Thank you for your input

Michael R
29-Mar-2016, 06:41
Broad question. Depends on the place. Some galleries specialize in certain things, some don't. At venues presenting contemporary work I mostly see digital prints. Seems logical since most photographers do digital/hybrid as opposed to darkroom, especially for colour work. It doesn't have anything to do with "high end" vs "low end".

29-Mar-2016, 08:07

Check out Michaels review of Alpha Rag Artcare board. What one mounts and mats the prints with and how they are framed effects not only how they look but the life and value. If you go to the trouble to make a fine print why put it in cheap material? Conservation framing is worth the time, effort and cost.

Drew Wiley
29-Mar-2016, 09:05
The only rule is that there are no rules. Everything is up to the specific venue and their tastes. Proper mounting and display of prints for conservation purposes is
a different subject, which some galleries adhere to, and some apparently don't give a damn.

29-Mar-2016, 09:35
They will hang whatever they think they can sell. L

bob carnie
29-Mar-2016, 10:09
Proper Presentation Matt's with good rag materials is what IMO dominant. We suggest portfolio cases with good presentation inside, this is portable and still viable to pop these presentation Matt's in pre-existing frames.

I think working backwards is important.... I own a few series of wood frames in different sizes- these frames are all with Art Glass and acid free art care backing

I make my portfolios Matt's to fit into these sizes and Boxes - I use 4ply Peterboro Museum Rag white for the front window matt, and backing board.
If the prints are mounted I use 2 ply weight Peterboro Museum rag

I make my prints to fit comfortably within these matt's.

Common Frame size-(talking about Glass size) - 16 x20 - 20 x24- 24 x30- 30 x40

When a show is done they come out of the frames and into portfolio boxes so different locations can see the work.

Drew Wiley
29-Mar-2016, 10:19
I've always done the full suit-and-tie thing, even my own complete framing. No compromises. But honestly, Bob, you'd be pretty shocked at what some of these
galleries do around here, right down to thumbtacks on the margins of some huge inkjet. I've known owners of very expensive downtown galleries that were essentially illiterate at basic art conservation and that I wouldn't personally trust to display a truck tire.

Raymond Bleesz
29-Mar-2016, 10:37
Thank you for your responses----to direct further answers to my question/s, I am under the assumption from your responses that "digital" prints are the most common items displayed in galleries. Is that the concensus?? And the points mentioned re: after the display & storage is very valid.

Drew Wiley
29-Mar-2016, 15:22
Digital prints are what you display if you are a digital printmaker. I've never made a digital print in my life, nor do I intend to. Nothing wrong with doing that, and
its the way many people are doing color work these days. But the photographer or artist chooses their own preferred medium. "Consensus" means nothing. Never has in the arts, never will. Do what you enjoy and do it well. But it can take some patience finding a gallery responsive to your own wavelength. There is far more
competition out there than there is wall space in galleries, relatively few of whom survive very long as businesses anyway.

bob carnie
30-Mar-2016, 07:31
I have no problem how a gallery presents work- recently we raised over 5k for a photographer who had fallen on hard times....We donated 50 mid size ink on paper prints and all were hung
on the walls with magnets, as it was a way for highlighting a good photographer , but with a limited budget this was the approach.
This hanging system was very appropriate for the situation, since the show the gallery has sold much larger pieces that I will print with rag paper and properly framed.

In Photoville they have a unique situation where each large container is the gallery and its a challenge for each artist to present their work in those spaces.
Traditional framed prints would not be appropriate in a lot of cases or at the very least difficult to set up.

IMO an emerging artist should take every opportunity to show work and I do understand in these economic times the need to work creatively to get our work out there. I mentioned above in post #6 can be very expensive and it is the way I work.

Each person who wants to enter the gallery market should have a very concise plan put together.

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2016, 08:44
There are a number of local "galleries" where periodic "group" shows involve renting however much square footage you wish during the venue, with the "gallery"
basically making their profit off a quantity of artists, and the numerous artists generally losing money overall, since those kind of venues attract mostly entry level practitioners. But it is a way to get published in the seasonal guidebook and have a place your friends and contacts can go to see your work. Then there are a lot of Open Studio events in the various artsy neighborhoods. Some do well, some don't. Traditional retail galleries remain a very risky proposition in major urban areas like this due to the extremely high cost of overhead. Cute spaces are even rarer because nice charming old architecture is exactly what gets destroyed during earthquakes. I am looking at a cute neighborhood which has recently been swept by an ornery new sheriff who successfully booted out all the meth labs and is starting to attract a stable art colony, but just all depends. I won't say exactly where yet.