As you may know, every two years Bullseye Glass mounts a competition/exhibition intended to identify un- or under-recognized art-makers working with its materials in the methods known collectively as “kiln-glass”.
Note that I did not say “best” when describing the art-makers selected for exhibition in e-merge. Nor did I say “young” or even “new”. Note that I did not say a lot of things about how e-merge is structured or what it is. Or who gets in. Or who doesn’t
I promise to discuss all that in later posts. For right now I want to start the conversation with a tour behind the scenes on the gallery side of Bullseye.
If you entered e-merge, you will be familiar with all the rules for entry and the irritating directions you were asked to follow if you were selected (ok, ok, ok! more about selection…later) – all those hurdles we asked you to jump just when you thought you’d gotten to the finish line.
I’m starting this series of posts at what may look to you like the finish line. Not.
For the gallery team – the starting gun is still ringing in their ears.
It’s the sound of RECEIVING ART.
Most e-merge art arrives at the gallery’s front desk, dropped into the assistant director’s hands by a UPS, FedEx or other Smiling Delivery Dude. It’s Jamie’s job to look over the package and note immediately – before Smiling Dude dashes out the door – whether there is any damage to the exterior of the package.
Making note of what may seem like insignificant dings and dents to the outside of a box can make the difference in collecting insurance – or not – if the contents later turn out to be damaged.
Why not ask the Smiling Dude to wait while it’s unpacked? You’ve never dealt with FedEx, have you?
That notation about exterior damage (aka “scuff” or “ding”) on the Smiling Dude’s delivery receipt is usually a CYA formality that is quickly lost in the rest of the receiving process.
Unless that insignificant little notation on the receiving slip manages to find its way thousands of miles back the shipping labyrinth to the artist. Which happened in the case of an unfortunate New Zealander who was informed by his carrier that his artwork had arrived damaged.
We could hear his head hitting the wall on our side of the Pacific.
I suspect his head was more damaged than the art (which was fine – just packed in a box with a small scuff on it’s exterior.)
But let’s talk good news.
Poorly packed work is a gallery’s eternal nightmare. Bless the artist who does it right. Like this one.
I could hear the preparators’ hands clapping all the way across town. THIS is great packaging! Note the placement and shape of the handles means that – most likely – the box will travel in the proper position. Note also the little “match-up” arrows where the lid meets the sides of the crate? That means that when ready for re-packing, we’ll know how to line up the lid. (It’s these little details that make a gallery’s staff love you, believe me)
That’s Michael our registrar looking shocked at the sight of such immaculate crating. A deer in the headlights was never so paralyzed.
And no, a gallery doesn’t just take the work out of the box, set it on a pedestal and collect the cash from the line of eager buyers waiting at the door.
Even if you provided the specifications of your object, all measurements are taken again and entered into the gallery data base. The work is inspected front, back and upside down for any chips, scuffs, cracks, or other issues – all of which are photographed and entered onto a condition report.
Then the entire work is photographed – a working shot for our records. More extensive photography may be required later if you haven’t provided the “professional image for promotional usage” as requested. (But if you didn’t provide “professional quality photography” it’s also sadly likely that your work didn’t get through the jurying process. Yes, more later)
Is it pedestal-ready yet? Not quite. But the supposedly simple process of physically getting an artwork into the gallery system is enough for one blog.
And for Michael. For now.
Next: So, it’s not broken. Now what?