Installing Exhibitions: a practical guide || Pete Smithson

Well, here’s a thing. A lot of painting books have advice on exhibiting, but none of them tells you about the basics, the simple practicalities of putting your pictures on the wall and keeping them there. I mean, how hard can it be – a bag of hooks and a hammer, surely?

Well, yes, except that there are more ways of hanging a picture than sticking nails in a wall. Some of them need more support than others, not all walls are created equal and you really don’t want members of the public complaining that Fred’s masterpiece has fallen on their foot. Yup, health and safety rears its ugly head, and not without reason. One person’s health and safety gone mad is another’s broken toe.

The book really couldn’t be simpler and it includes guidelines on planning and the simple practicalities of hanging pictures, with drawings of the various fastenings available, notes of when to use them and illustrations of how to fix them. It’s aimed at people who know one end of a hammer from the other, but don’t have a great deal of construction knowledge. It even has a very handy and admirably comprehensive section on installing AV, where you have heavy and reasonably delicate equipment and a lot of trailing wires.

Anyone involved in mounting an exhibition that isn’t professionally hung should have this book. If that’s you, get your wallet out now. If it’s your art club, propose a motion. Not only will your exhibition look better, it’ll be better.

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