In a post last week I discussed the value of curating your art and approaching it as an additive rather than subtractive process.
The first step in curating your art is to start with a piece or two that best represent what you’re trying to communicate. After you’ve done this, you can build your exhibition or Web page around that piece.
If you find you have too many in the end, you can start subtracting.
Think Like a Museum Curator
Think about your art like a museum thinks about its collections.
Museums have permanent collections that they own. The works are always in their possession.
If the art stayed in the same place all of the time, the museum risks its role as a dynamic force in the interpretation of culture.
Museums must present art in new contexts every so often. Times change, new curators with their own viewpoints come on staff, and additional objects are added to the collections.
Fresh installations of the art stave off visitor boredom. People look at the work differently and are less likely to dismiss the art with the statement “I've already seen that.”
Museums do this through exhibitions. You can do the same in a brick-and-mortar space, or do it through virtual exhibitions on your website, in your newsletter, in carefully crafted blog posts, in album groupings on Facebook, or on Pinterest boards.
The question from Karen Meredith, which prompted this article, was whether or not there is a sweet spot for the amount of inventory visible to viewers, collectors, gallerists and curators. I know of no such sweet spot that would satisfy all of these groups of people, but I want to be sure that Karen gets some sort of answer.
I have found that 12-15 images per website page is a good number, but impact trumps any formula.
Impact, above all else, is what you’re after. If you want people to say “WOW!” consider:
- What are you trying to communicate?
- What number, what piece, what grouping best communicates your idea?
- Why should you include that work? Why is it important? What does it contribute to the works you’ve already selected?
- What should you leave out? What has already sold? What doesn’t belong? What should you rethink/rework?
Understand that you can’t make an impact online with tiny images. Thumbnails should take up most of the visible page. In I’d Rather Be in the Studio, I suggest thumbnails no smaller than 150 pixels wide.
Bottom line: Approach the curatorial process like you’re making a piece of art because you are. You are creating a composition from separate parts.
I will talk more about this in Friday’s post and give you concrete examples, so be sure you’re subscribed to the blog to get that in your inbox.