Understanding an Exhibition

By Giovanna Franciosa
By Photo by author


Walking into a gallery, one is often unaware of the hard work and careful thought that is put into curating an art exhibition. Before becoming a part of this class, I was one of these people.

Going through the process of meeting the artist, working with them to choose the artwork, photographing the pieces, writing the press release, putting together the catalogue, and hanging the show, takes a lot of time and effort. The emotional connections that one has to make with the art in order to fully understand how to show off its beauty does not come about over night. In order to achieve this, one must learn about and get to know the artist, understand their perspective, and then, they must spend time with the work, examine it, photograph it, enjoy it.

In order to hang a show and create a catalogue, I realized the importance of visiting other shows. On the first day of class, our professor told us that we should make weekly trips to art galleries around the city so that we could experience other shows. These visits seemed like a fun way to become familiar with local contemporary Florentine art and artists. The first show that I went to, which was located at Le Murate, was called Confini 12. The exhibition was a group show, exhibiting the works of seven photographers. Over the next few weeks, I visited other shows, such as Not Only One Way by Judith K. Berchtold-Kūnding; Human, by Anthony Gormley at Forte Belvedere and; Il Nudo: tra seduzione e provocazione, another group show. Seeing these shows offered us new ideas and tips as to what should and should not be done in a show.

Once looking at all the paintings placed along the walls in the gallery at Ganzo, for our first exhibition Undressing the Human Soul, by Ersilia Leonini, I was able to see just how important the order of the pieces truly was. Lines, colors, and medium styles all play strong roles in organizing a show. It became clear that the works needed to be placed so that the viewer’s eye would be carried around the gallery from piece to piece and not left to wander around with no direction. Walking into the finished gallery space the night of the opening, I was struck by the feeling that we had actually curated an exhibition, one for the public, which was just as real as the ones that I had been to see in the weeks before.