Once you’ve hung artwork for an exhibition, how are you going to pass on the details of the works to visitors? There are several different options for labeling your work in this setting, though each should let visitors know:
- The artist’s name
- The title of the work
- The medium of the work
- The size of the work
- The price of the work (if applicable)
Here is an example:
Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night, 1889
Oil on canvas
73.7 cm × 92.1 cm (29 in × 36¼ in)
Below are some options for professionally labeling your artworks in an exhibition setting.
Often galleries and museums will use vinyl to display an artist’s name and / or the title of the show near the entryway. Next time you visit an institution, have a look. Custom-cut vinyl lettering is easily removable and will not damage walls. You can see an example of what vinyl-lettering on a wall looks like here and here.
Since vinyl lettering can be cut very small, you can adhere the information for each piece directly beside each artwork.
Using a font that is 12pts or less would generally suit this purpose. You can talk to vinyl cutters to discuss options for sizing, colours, and fonts. A couple of vinyl cutters in Vancouver include:
Making a map of the gallery is a good option if you want to keep the walls around your work entirely clear of other information or distractions. Using a floor plan of the gallery, number your works and provide a corresponding list.
If you do not want to go to the expense of having custom vinyl cut for labels, you can use traditional printer labels to display your information. Some people stick these directly onto the wall, but unless the wall is perfectly flat and smooth, this usually looks a bit unprofessional. You can instead stick your labels onto mat board or foamcore, then using a ruler and ex-acto knife cut the edges away so that the label is flush with the mount.
There is now a new post on The Practical Art World that explores Artist Labels in depth, including examples. Check out Examples of Artwork Labels!