A space especially reserved to showcase objects of artistic inclination, a platform for interaction between the art object and the viewer and a place of business for the artist, collectors and other stakeholders in the intriguing world of art. An exhibition or a show or exposition (as they are sometimes called in the US) may showcase paintings, photographs, drawings, audio, video, interactive art, installation, new media art, performance or sculpture by individual artists or a group of artists or belonging to a common theme or issue.
The nature of such shows or exhibitions is transient with a defined timeline, the duration of which may vary greatly. The shows or exhibitions may be organized at a variety of venues like museums, art clubs or halls, private art galleries or even some venues that may not be directly linked to the business of art like a café.
One of the factors that sets these apart is the intent of the display, some venues may put up all or most of the exhibits up to be sold like in the private art galleries, some of these venues do it simply as an educative experience and some with an intent to celebrate or commemorate special occasions or events.
TYPES OF EXHIBITIONS
The types are largely sectioned into two – commercial and non-commercial exhibitions and there is very clear distinction with the two.
These exhibitions are such that the participating artists or art dealers who are showcasing their work pay a fee. Examples of this particular kind of exhibitions are art fairs, vanity gallery, temporary museum exhibitions – where the viewer may have to pay extra (on top of the entry ticket to the museum) to enter this space.
Non Commercial Exhibitions
These do not have much of a payment aspect attached to it. The non-commercial exhibitions can be juried, invitational or open.
A juried exhibition has an individual or a group of individuals as judge/jury to appreciate the submitted works and select the ones that would finally be put on display. There may also be a declaration of winners.
An invitational exhibition is one where the organizers of the show invite certain artists or group of artists to supply their artworks, which are then displayed at the event.
An open exhibition allows everyone to enter their artworks and the exhibition puts each one of them on display.
Most artworks that are put up in an exhibition of any kind are of a certain value and some of them might be quite fragile. The fragility or the structure of the exhibit is one of the most important factors that is often overlooked. Each individual exhibit needs to be analyzed for all the concerns it may have and then the method of display is worked on to ensure minimum damage and maximum care for its preservation. The four main concerns that need to be looked into with regard to a safe display of the exhibits are listed under.
The physical environment of the place where the exhibition is meant to happen is an important deciding factor for preservation and care of the exhibits. The climate and weather conditions are some obvious environmental factors that need to be kept in mind while planning the event. The kind of light the exhibits would be exposed to and the effect it might have on individual exhibits, especially on the ink and pigments on certain exhibits. The relative humidity of the space should be somewhere between 35-50% with a 5% tolerance. This is especially important for vellum and parchment materials as their might contract or expand drastically if the humidity is unfavorable. The temperature also needs to be maintained at a prescribed level as per the exhibits to ensure a safe and caring environment.
The length of the exhibition is a factor that comes into a strong play in the matters concerning preservation. Long standing exhibits are exposed to the elements for a longer time especially light, which may cause gradual but significant damage. The duration of display of exhibits, particularly in the museums needs to be on rotational basis, giving the exhibits a time to rest and an opportunity for conservation. Additionally the exhibits need a constant inspection and vigilance to make sure that any signs of damage are noticed immediately and are taken care of at the earliest.
Individual Display Cases
The exhibits in a museum or library exhibitions are displayed in individual display cases or frames. Depending on the form and format of the exhibit, the orientation and placement of these cases is decided. Small or single-page exhibits may be displayed in vertical cases. Three dimensional, heavy, open or closed book and flat paper objects can be easily exhibited in horizontal cases. The material of the cases needs to be decided as per the nature and fragility of the exhibit to maximize their life.
The exhibits that form the exhibition are the highlight. The exhibits are exposed to people from all walks of life and business. The viewers may appreciate it but some might lack awareness or sensitivity. In other cases the intent to harm or maliciously acquire the piece might also affect the security of the exhibits. Each individual piece needs separate locks and the entire venue should be aptly guarded and patrolled for the safety of the exhibits.
IMPACT & RELATIONSHIP WITH
The exhibition becomes a platform for an artist to showcase his work. It is only by exhibiting his work for an audience that an artist stands to gain fame, money and recognition. It is a space where he exposes his work to the intended appreciation or critique by connoisseurs, art patrons, collectors and critics.
The audience that comes to participate in or experience the beauty and the world of art. This audience may consist of collectors with an intent to acquire, art connoisseurs, patrons or those that are there simply for the experience. An exhibition becomes a resource for many that are related to the business aspect of art. And for others it becomes a pure indulgence to soak in the artistic wonders that an exhibition offers.
The venue for any exhibition is central to the content of the exhibition. A private gallery that has the intent to sell the pieces that are on display, designs the event in such fashion as would encourage the business of art. A museum or a vanity gallery builds up an intellectually charged environment for the patrons and enthusiasts to soak their senses in. However, when the exhibition is at an unusual venue that has little or nothing to do with art, it mostly has a very symbiotic and aesthetic relationship with the pieces.
The exhibitions usually have a love-hate relationship with the society. In cases where the exhibits conform to the society, mostly there is almost a unanimous appreciation for it and the acceptance is whole hearted and overwhelming. However, depending on the degree of non-conformity or controversy that the exhibits ensue, there might be skepticism, careful, superficial or gradual acceptance or there might be a total scandal
For an artist to be introduced to the right people in a right way is vital. The opportunity to be spotted by a connoisseur, a patron, a collector or the right private gallery is extended through an intelligently designed exhibition. An exhibition helps build an instant connection between the artworks and the enthusiasts or businessmen in the field of art.
However, it is not just an opportunity for the artist. It also has a great deal of advantage for the other end of the spectrum, the buyers and art enthusiasts in any capacity. They find their interests being entertained and well taken care of with focus and intent in these exhibitions.
The society in general has a definite advantage as an exhibition brings in a cultural refreshment to the population. In absence of such exhibitions a large chunk of the society is deprived of a cultural capital they could all have gained from. Each exhibit in itself carries a lot of information and philosophy, which is then interpreted and analyzed by the audience.