Art exhibition

Art exhibition

Art exhibitions are traditionally the space in which art objects (in the most general sense) meet an audience. The exhibit is universally understood to be for some temporary period unless, as is rarely true, it is stated to be a "permanent exhibition". In American English, they may be called "exhibit", "exposition" (the French word) or "show". In UK English, they are always called "exhibitions" or "shows", and an individual item in the show is an "exhibit".

Such expositions may present pictures, drawings, video, sound, installation, performance, interactive art or sculptures by individual artists, groups of artists or collections of a specific form of art. The art works may be presented in museums, art halls, art clubs or private art galleries, or at some place the principal business of which is not the display or sale of art, such as a coffeehouse. An important distinction is noted between those exhibits where some or all of the works are for sale, normally in private art galleries, and those where they are not. Sometimes the event is organized on a specific occasion, like a birthday, anniversary or commemoration.

Types of exhibitions

There are different kinds of art exhibitions, for example retrospectives, which look back over the work of a single artist, individual expositions, group expositions, or expositions on a specific theme or topic.
Travelling exhibition is an other category of art exhibitions.
Art exhibitions can be juried, invitational, or open. A juried exhibition, such as the Iowa Biennial, has an individual or group which acts as judge of submitted artworks and chooses which are to be shown. In an invitational exhibition, such as the Whitney Biennial, the organizer of the show asks certain artists to supply artworks and exhibits them. An open or "non-juried" exhibition, such as the Kyoto Triennial , allows anybody to enter artworks and shows them all. A type of exhibition that is practically by definition non-juried is a mail art exhibition.

Preservation Issues

Preservation issues, though often disregarded due to other priorities, should be considered during exhibitions, so that possible damage to the collection could be minimize or limited. As all objects on the exhibition are unique, rare, and valuable, it is essential to care objects without any damage. When exhibited objects are especially archival artifacts or paper-based ones, preservation considerations would be more emphasized because damage and change in paper-based objects are cumulative and irreversible. A standard, American National Standard Z39.79-2001, Environmental Conditions for Exhibiting Library and Archival Materials, establishes criteria to minimize the effect of environmental factors on deterioration of library and archival materials on the exhibition. There are four main categories to be considered on preservation issues during the exhibition: Environmental concerns of the exhibition space; Length of the exhibition; Individual cases; and Display methods used on individual objects.

Environmental Concerns of the Exhibition Space

Main concerns of exhibition environments include light, relative humidity, and temperature.

The intensity of visible light should be low not to deteriorate objects, but it needs to be bright enough for viewing. Visible light levels are set at between 50 lux and 100 lux depending on the light sensitivity of objects. Light levels shall be measured when the light is set for the exhibition. Invisible radiation, such as UV, should be prevented from falling on the exhibited objects. It is recommended that UV light should be limited no more than 75 microwatts per lumen at 10 to 100 lux. Only artificial light sources are recommended for the exhibition. Exposure to natural light is undesirable because of its intensity and high UV content. When exposure to natural light is inevitable, any measures to control UV, including using UV-filtering films or UV-filtering panels in windows or cases, are required. Among artificial light sources, incandescent lamps are most suitable for the exhibition because they give off little or no UV. Fluorescent lamps, common in most institutions, are unsuitable for the exhibition since they can not be dimmed and they emit UV. Even though tungsten-halogen lamps are currently one of favorite artificial lighting sources and can be dimmed, yet, they still give off significant amounts of UV. Lights should be turned off when visitors are not in the space.

The relative humidity (RH) should be set between 35% and 50%, inclusive. The maximum acceptable variation should be 5% on either side of the set point. Seasonal changes of 5% are also allowed. The control of relative humidity is especially critical for objects on vellum and on wood, which are extremely sensitive to changes in relative humidity.

For preservation purposes, cooler temperatures are recommended, but the temperature of the exhibition should be set not to exceed 72°F. A lower temperature, down to 50°F, should be considered safe for majority of objects. The maximum acceptable temperature variation is 5°F, which means that temperature should not go above 77°F and below 45°F. As temperature and relative humidity are interdependent, temperature should be reasonably constant so that relative humidity could be maintained as well. Controlling the environment with 24-hour art conditioning and dehumidification would be the most effective way of protecting an exhibition.

Length of the Exhibition

Any objects on the exhibition are exposed to harmful environmental conditions during the period of exhibition. The longer exposed to the environment, the more likely deteriorated. Many museums or libraries have permanent exhibitions, which means installed exhibitions would be on the view without any changes for, sometimes, years. This practice is not good for exhibited objects at all. Damage from the long exhibition is usually caused by light. The degree of deterioration would be different from each object, yet, the suggested maximum length of time that any paper-based objects should be on display is three months per year or 42 kilolux hours of light per year, whichever comes first. An exhibition log report, including records of the length of the exhibition time and the light level of the display, could prevent objects from being too frequently on display. It would be also suggested that the copies in high quality could be displayed for a certain amount of time during the long exhibition.

Individual Cases

Library or archival materials are usually displayed in cases or frames. Cases are to provide a physically as well as chemically secure environment. Vertical cases are well suitable for small or single-sheet items. Horizontal cases can be used for a variety of objects, including three-dimensional objects, opened books, closed books, or flat paper items. All these objects can be arranged in one horizontal case at the same time under the unified theme. Materials used for case construction should be chosen carefully because component materials of cases can become a significant source of pollutants affecting objects displayed. Pollutants may cause visible deteriorations of objects, including discoloration of surfaces and corrosion. Wood, often used for cases, poses great danger for paper. The wood, even if sealed, may still give off vapors, which are destructive to objects within the case. It is important that collection materials should not be placed in direct contact with wood. Sealing the wood may reduce gaseous emissions. In choosing sealant, it is recommended to avoid oil-based products. If the case is to be painted, it is also recommended to avoid oil paint and to use acrylic or latex paint. However, acrylic or latex paints can not be used as sealers because they are too porous to seal well. Other materials to be used as sealers should be chosen with care as well. All materials should be evaluated before use. Examples of the evaluation criteria could be outgassing or contact-transfer potential of harmful substances, water solubility or dry-transfer potential of dyes, the dry-texture of paints, pH, and abrasiveness. Even if cases are made of safe materials and well sealed, there are still pollutant or temperature and relative humidity problems. Using internal buffers and pollutant absorbers, exampled as silica gel, activated carbon, or zeolite, is a good way to control RH and pollutants. Buffers and absorbers would be placed out of sight in the base or behind the backboard of a case.

Display Methods

There are two kinds of objects displayed at the library and archival exhibition, bound materials and unbound materials. Bound materials include books and pamphlets, and unbound materials include manuscripts, cards, drawings, and other two-dimensional items. Display considerations should be made in order to minimize any potential physical damage.

  • Unbound Materials

Unbound materials, usually single-sheet items, unless matted or encapsulated, need to be attached securely to the mounts. It is recommended to use photo corners or polyethylene or polyester film straps to hold the object to the support. Objects may also be encapsulated in polyester film. However, research at the Library of Congress reveals that acidic papers deteriorate rapidly within polyester envelopes. Thus, old and untreated acidic papers should be professionally deacidified before encapsulation. Encapsulation should be carefully done because of potential slippage. When possible, encapsulation should be done with ultrasonic or heat seals. When objects need to be hung, which may require more protection than lightweight polyester film, matting would be an effective alternative. Matting, consisting of two pH-neutral or alkaline boards with a window cut in the top board which enables the object to be seen, does not offer more protection than framing. Objects in frames should be separated from harmful materials through matting, glazing, and backing layers. Objects should be matted before framing so that glazing should not come in direct contact with the object. Backing layers of archival cardboard should be thick enough to protect objects. Frames should be well sealed and hung securely, allowing a space for air circulation between the frame and the wall.

  • Bound Materials

The most common way to display bound materials is closed and lying horizontally. If a volume is shown open, the object should be open only as much as its binding allows. Common practice is to open volumes no greater than 135 degrees. There are some equipments supporting volumes to be displayed open: blocks or wedges, holding a book cover to reduce stain at the book hinge; cradles, supporting bound volumes to be open without stress to the binding structure; polyester film strips, helping leaves to be open secured. It is recommended to turn the pages every few days in order to protect the page from exposure to light. It should be remembered that keeping a book open for long periods can damage its structure.

See also

References

External links

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