Call me a traditionalist, but I don’t think that art should be exhibited in a bathtub.
Checking out the Asia Contemporary Art Show at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in early October, I was shocked to see how the artwork was presented.
While I can understand the intent of the organizer, and the attempt to find a scalable venue in a convenient part of the city, the end result was not a great way to showcase art.
Exhibitors need to keep in mind that they have two main goals: to sell art and to introduce new artists to potential collectors. Taking this into consideration, the displays often ran contrary to the two main objectives of the show, and in some cases, even seemed to de-value the art.
The gallery’s execution in many cases, was not ideal.
The exhibition worked by having participants rent rooms on three floors of the hotel to present their art. It’s actually an interesting concept, and a smart way of creating a scalable show. However, in many of the rooms, the featured artwork was haphazardly propped up against chairs, strewn across the top of beds, piled up on the toilet, and even jumbled together in bathtubs.
The worst of the offenders had all the charm of a perennial “going out of business” sale.
Sufficient space, mounting, and lighting, are all factors that are crucial to the proper display of art. In some cases, the fully furnished rooms actually created an obstacle to displaying the works.
Since this is the first year of the Asia Contemporary Art Show, many exhibitors probably didn’t know what to expect or how to display the artwork properly. In the future, perhaps the organizer should prepare guidelines and how-to’s for participants in order to maximize the show, and ensure that the works are exhibited with the proper dignity.