Saturday 4 May 2013

Displaying Sculpture in Your Home

Displaying Fine Art Sculptures in Your Home

Although acquiring art is indeed a pleasurable pursuit. The aspect of deciding where to display it in your home or office can be quite challenging.
With two-dimensional pieces such as paintings or prints, this essentially requires finding wall space in
an area where the piece can be properly emphasized yet still complement the rest of the decor. With
three-dimensional sculpture; by its very nature, exudes a demanding physical presence and thus a corresponding display place, particularly for larger and/or bulkier pieces. No matter where you place your sculpture, you’re going to need to take into account details, such as the pedestal or base you use and the light that surrounds it. Here are some guidelines for the best approaches to displaying sculpture in your home.

Placing it in the Room
Since sculpture is a three-dimensional art form, it really needs to be in an area where it can be viewed from
multiple sides. This is an important consideration when determining where to place a piece in a room, as you want to choose a space with the most unrestricted view possible. At the same time, you also need to consider the functionality of the room itself, as a sculpture may look great in the center of a room but end up blocking the flow of traffic and making the space less comfortable to be in overall. Try different arrangements of furniture to find the best configuration for a large sculpture. With smaller sculptures, for the best viewing situation, you want to be sure they’re placed at eye level. In this case, the base or pedestal you choose will play a big part in where in the room’s design the piece will best fit. If in doubt contact the artist who created your piece and give him or her a description or better yet a picture of the location you have in mind, often the artist can make or suggest something that will work in your environment.

Finding a Base
Of course, size is going to play a significant role here, as smaller objects can be simply placed on a shelf or
table, whereas larger pieces will probably need their own pedestal. The trickiest part of selecting a pedestal
is determining what material will best complement the sculpture. In other words, you want the pedestal to be
pleasing to the eye yet remain visually in the background, rather than drawing attention away from the sculpture itself. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to find a pedestal that replicates the sculpture in terms of color or form. Sometimes, juxtaposing a different material or shape can create an interesting look that really makes the sculpture stand out. Don’t forget to make sure that the pedestal is strong enough to hold the artwork and that the sculpture is firmly secured to its base.

Directing the Lighting
One of the keys to displaying sculpture is good lighting. This can demand a bit of a balancing act, as you want to place the piece in a well-lit area of the room, preferably near a light source, but at the same time you want to avoid situations where the light is shining primarily from behind or from beneath the piece. For instance, too much direct light from behind, such as from a south-facing window, will often cast such bright illumination that the details of the sculpture itself are difficult to see. Another common mistake is to shine a single dramatic spotlight, leaving the rest mostly in shadow. This may look good at first glance, but it will effectively obscure most of the piece. Go for diffuse but steady light and gentle, gradual shadows, which will help illuminate the sculpture’s strong lines and subtle forms.

By displaying sculpture, you can add a sophisticated touch to any home or office interior. And with the wide variety of mediums available, you’re sure to find a piece that resonates with the decor of your home.

Friday 19 April 2013

Selling Art in Hard Times

During the past couple of weeks this inbox has been overflowing with emails from artists concerned about the economy. "Things have been bad for a while--now they are going to get worse," they say. "What can artists do?"

I'd like to thank those who put their trust in me to make a few recommendations. In actual practice most parts of the world have been through a relatively prolonged period of happy times. With loose money lying around, as there has been, irrational exuberance has prevailed and even sub-prime art has passed both critical and commercial muster.

Now with bank credit drying up, home values heading south and the stock market tanking, the decorative art market will suffer along with the general economy. On the other hand, it's been my experience that in times of recession, collector and investment art can continue to thrive.

Just as unpleasant regulations had to be brought into economies rife with greed and profligacy, artists, who have no creditable regulating body, must bring in more self-regulation. This may involve longer hours, better work habits, better processes and more attention to quality. This also ties in to fair dealing and realistic but progressive pricing to go with the better art. My guess is that many borderline galleries will go under during the next while--just as many inadequate or unprepared artists will look once more to other employment.

Many years ago I had a solo show on the evening after a significant stock market crash. Fearing the worst, I showed up late only to find that the show had sold out. Fact is, when times are good people throw money at art, but when times are bad they turn to art as a possible life-enhancing investment. Funnily, it was a bunch of stock brokers who took home most of the art from that show. Funnily, I thought, people must need art more than other stuff.

Recessions are blessings. Historically, recessions and depressions have been times when "important" work gets made. Realistically, our financial outlay for equipment and art materials (unless your medium is gold) is relatively minor. In hard times artists need to get themselves as debt free as possible and invest in the joy of their vision.

Best regards,


PS: "Money is always there but the pockets change; it is not in the same pockets after a change." (Gertrude Stein) "Live like a poor man with lots of money." (Pablo Picasso)

Esoterica: Do not let yourself be blindsided by xenophobic myopia. Artists may act locally but are of the world and need to be on the world's stage. Further, attitudes about art and collecting vary from country to country and even from city to city and town to town within countries. The operative word is "change." Both adversity and good times invite change. In our case it has to come from within. Q: "How many psychiatrists does it take to change a tire?" A: "Only one, but the tire really has to want to change."