Many Ways Up the Mountain: How to Hang a Show Without Losing Your Mind

Joel and I spent an interesting morning helping Charles Bluestone hang the new “Art 360:  Contemporary Paintings From Across Ohio” show at the Cultural Arts Center.  Artists Barb Vogel, Janis Wunderlich, Ardine Nelson, Debra Joyce Dawson, Betsy Defusco and Sophie Knee were on hand, bringing with them years of experience and their own ways of doing things.


Art scattered around the perimeter of the floor at the Cultural Arts Center

The first steps seemed pretty much the same for everybody:  unpack the pieces, set them on the floor and start moving things around.


Packing Material With First Wall Complete

My piece came into conversation with some others pretty early on.  This wall went up in a hurry.

With many artists’ opinions available, there were some disagreements.  The assembly quickly separated into two respectfully different camps:  those who like to measure and those who don’t.


Left to Right:   Charles Bluestone, Janis Wunderlich and Joel Knepp

Joel and I are denizens of the latter country and naturally found ourselves in the company of those with a similar bent:  put it up, step back, make your adjustments and move on.


Janis Wunderlich & Barb Vogel

It was wonderful to work with such generous, seasoned professionals.


Ardine Nelson (with ruler) and Sophie Knee

The careful measurers really shone when it came to organizing smaller works on the opposite wall.


Sophie Knee

This grouping strikes me as particularly successful; rational, intelligent and sweet.

There were the usual unexpected snafus.  On a whim I brought my gallery hanging case full of wire, hangers, hammers and tools….which is good because nothing else was available.  It was shocking how many pieces weren’t wired up and ready to go, but it all came right in the end.


Janis Wunderlich Sculpture

Almost all the work is 2-dminensional, so Janis Wunderlich’s sculpture is a nice addition.  Evidently, the piece she’s putting into the show is different from the one above, which is just being used as a placeholder.


Roger Williams

Roger Williams’ delightfully hostile light box wouldn’t light up.  It’s always something.


At least we had donuts.  Mr. Bluestone always brings treats for the artists.   Thanks, Chuck.

At the end of the day, it seemed to me that both approaches, the measuring-levelers and the intuitive-hang-it-ups-and-walk-away had achieved the same thing.   I prefer fewer cooks in the kitchen and a simpler approach but, the truth is, the show looks great.  The only difference between the two camps (intuitive/rational) lay in our different inner experiences.   Some of us felt better one way, and others felt better another, but the results are exactly the same.  God bless us all I guess.


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