After seeing a range of different degree show and having co-curated my course section of the first year show, I feel I have gained experience and knowledge of what makes a good show.
Firstly I want to explore the workings of the exhibition. I felt in my own show that the lighting worked really well, because it was during the lighter hours there was no need for artificial light. This made it pleasing to look at without there being too much or too little light on the pieces. This I felt was missing in the London College of Communication exhibition as there was too much of a mixture of artificial and natural light which made it feel uncomfortable at times.
Having the chance to co-curate my first year show was a great opportunity to learn the in’s and out’s of how it works. I was really happy with how the exhibition looked as a whole. Although I felt maybe we could of had more pieces as some walls were uncovered, I still thought there was a good balance of courses, images and video. This was not always the case in every exhibition. For example in the University of Hertfordshire show I felt there was some rooms such as Illustration and Graphics that were curated really well and showed off every individual work but some such as Fine Art did not have the same effect on me. I noticed the room was separated too much and the individual compartments although working alone had a strong effect, lots them together in a room was quite a lot to take in for the viewer especially as there was not a “pathway” that we could easily follow.
The main difference between the first year show and the degree shows was the size. I feel it would be much harder to create a bigger show and make it fit and feel right, especially since every student would want there work shown in a alternative way. This is why I think shows such as the University of Bedfordshire degree show and the Royal College of Art stood out for me in terms of curation and the movement and way finding because they were well spaced out and easy to focus on and they had a “set path”.
As the years at University go on and I start to exhibit my work more, I know I will find the right way I would show off my work. I did appreciate how some students especially at University of Hertfordshire had portfolios to show because it opened us to what else they were capable of creating not just what was pictured on the walls. I felt this would be something that I would to like to do in future shows because it does help potential clients to see the bigger picture. This was the same with business cards, I think they are a good asset to artists work because again it enables to explore more.
Finally publicity is very important tool and it should be used to an advantage. Anything from maps to guidebooks and posters are crucial to making people come to the exhibitions. I felt the University who overall had this factor was University of Bedfordshire. They put posters up all over town and the Mall was host to the Fashion show which people walked by all day and served as an advertisement. There was also posters around the University adverting both the First Year and Degree shows. It shows that each exhibition counts and they care about helping their students find a pathway in the art world.
So what do I feel makes a show work well? I would like to say that making a show work well is down to numerous factors. Firstly I think you have to have a good team behind you, working with you to guide you and help you curate in the best way possible. This is the same for the lighting and the way finding, its important to know what others think because they would be viewing it as a public viewer would and if it does not hold attention it will not work. Secondly I think publicity and especially publicizing yourself is another aspect that would enhance your work. You need to be prepared to hand out cards, show off your portfolio and tell people about your show. Last of all you need to have the right ambiance and go the extra mile to make your viewers feel comfortable in the show. They need to be enjoying it to be able to have the chance to look at all the pieces without being put off by lighting, temperature or crowds.
Photos from my first year show