Showing off your art: lessons from 4 museums

Bouquets to Art poster

In the last month I’ve taken in several marvelous art exhibits – Post Impressionism at the DeYoung in San Francisco, a companion show of Japanese prints that inspired the post-impressionists at the Palace of Legion of Honor, Picasso at the Seattle Art Museum, and the Art of Pixar at the Oakland Museum.

Here are three observations to consider when you display your own art:

1. White walls are no longer de rigueur for an art exhibit. Indeed the walls at both SF museums were three different rich dark colors: chocolate, eggplant and deep teal. The paintings and prints radiated their beauty with these backdrops and pulled me in to look closer.

2. White walls work when the types and styles of art are so varied in color and genre as to boggle the mind – as in the case of both the Picasso and the Art of Pixar. Picasso, though undeniably brilliant and fecund, leaves me a little cold – so the white fit. (Or did it chill my enthusiasm?) The Art of Pixar was unexpectedly stunning – drawings, collages, storyboards, color experiments – but Pixar is a very male environment which may explain something (what?).

3. Display smaller pieces together on a big rectangle of wallboard set off from the actual wall (but painted the same color), so they hold their own as a unit against the larger pieces.

The poster above promotes Bouquets to Art, one of my favorite exhibits at the DeYoung. (Each spring local floral designers are invited to choose an artwork to complement with some kind of live arrangement. If you’re in San Francisco, it runs from March 15-19.) Please note how gorgeous both the painting and the flowers look on the gray wall.  I rest my case.

If you’d like to give your art the gift of art-friendly wall colors to best showcase their beauty, I can help. Give me a call at 360-314-2467.

P.S.  For your amusement, watch the Bouquets to Arts 2010 video from last year’s Bouquets to Art gala. Formal gowns of flower petals??

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