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ART 250: Modern Art 1800-1960: Art Exhibition & Catalog


  • Think about your "Why."  Why this display, why this artist (s), what do you want to convey to your audience?   Why you are interested in presenting this exhibition?  Develop & state your purpose.
  • Think about your "How."  How will you present your exhibition? – will it be a Retrospective? Centered on a particular period?  Presented around a particular theme or topic?  Will it be focused on an individual or a group?
  • Create a title for the exhibit and write a brief statement of purpose, include the topic.  Make the title memorable, not too long, revealing.   The statement should reflect your intent in presenting your exhibition.
  • Spend considerable time thinking about how you want to display the artwork – use your creativity.  Give yourself time to consider, reconsider.  And reconsider again.  (Time on the front end can save you time on the backend)
  • Make sketches/mockups of room & potential display arrangements.  Draw a diagram of the exhibit space with approximate dimensions of each wall area. Will horizontals fit, or will a vertical format work better? What groupings might be interesting?
  • Consider space between pieces, give each piece the space it needs to "breathe" – about three feet between pieces is a good idea.
  • Think of creative ways to provide context and point of view that invite the viewer to experience his or her own thoughts and feelings.   Music?  Lighting?  Audio?
  • Create wall text or a handout with a statement about the show. This can be based on your earlier statement of purpose, but directed to the viewing public. Why this exhibit? Why now? What does it communicate? Who made the art? When and why did they make it?
  • Consider lighting, flow of room, flow of presented pieces.  How many pieces to include?
  • Visit museums to see how the professionals do it! See what works & what doesn't.  Visits can spark your ideas and creativity.   Look at exhibition space online for ideas.

-   Courtesy of Brandeis University website, Creating an Art Exhibit, With modifications by L. Baker

Subject Guide

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Laura Baker
Office #130, main level of the JBDuke library