13 Comments

  1. Made me realize I just don’t know : today, is it the artist or the gallery that handles the framing? And does it make a difference if it’s museum instead of gallery?

    But actually, either way (artist or gallery / museum) isn’t it always essentially custom? I mean, even if they have a supply of pre-cut pieces, it’s still something they have to decide on and put together

    Which does not detract from the joke. Whatever the usual case, this had to be very special-order.!

  2. @ Mitch4 – For artists and galleries I am sure that this is a negotiable issue, and depends on the people involved. For museums, I know that the National Gallery of Art (in Washington) has an extensive stock of frames, and they devote a certain amount of care to selecting the “proper” frame for pieces that need them. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they pick an “attractive” one. I once asked a guide about a painting that was set in a particularily hideous antique (gilt) frame, and was told that in many cases, the idea was to make the frame “ignorable”, to that visitors would concentrate on the painting, not on the frame.

  3. Perhaps the frame in the cartoon has one edge sharpened and shaped like some kind of axe-cum-chisel head, so it can be installed in any gallery wall without any more equipment apart from, perhaps, mallets.

    The drawing does make you think about the stultifying conformity of the presentation of 2-D images like paintings, drawings and wallpaper, just placed flat against the walls. Why shouldn’t they protrude at jaunty angles, or be displayed in the ceiling or on the floor? Time for a national aesthetic conversation about these matters!

  4. “The drawing does make you think about the stultifying conformity of the presentation of 2-D images like paintings, drawings and wallpaper, just placed flat against the walls.”

    I saw one that was painted on a non-flat surface, so that perspectives would change as you changed the angle you look at it from. The effect was quite striking, until you looked at it from a perspective parallel with the wall.

  5. Narmitaj, some sculptors have thought about how their work is presented.

    Here is an exhibition by Antony Gormley:

  6. Thanks, narmitaj, that was good to see!

    Do you recall the wood-block pieces that cast three different shadows in the three axes for the cover of /hofstadter’s GEB? https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/hofstadter/excerpts.html

    Cruising the streets of Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood, I have been unable to re-locate a front-lawn sculpture I used to see on a corner lot. It was two entirely different figures when viewed from the 90deg angles. (Like, a caryatid and a fawn.) I think it may have been one of those former mansions, razed for a row of townhouses. Or I’m just looking on the wrong streets, and one of these days will stumble on it unexpected.

  7. And don’t forget all those cartoons about the moose head on the wall, with the rest of the moose in the next room.

  8. For commercial exhibits, my Mother-in-Law always has to frame her own pieces. It’s always a debate for her whether the extra price you get for a framed piece is worth the time. (Especially with someone at her level, who needs to worry if the extra price is going to dissuade everyone who might want to buy it.) This isn’t so much for commercial galleries, but for various places where they let you do a show, as much so that they can have art on their walls as anything else.

  9. Like Christine’s mom – we have always had to frame Robert’s Silhouettes and scherenschnittes, as well as his photographs for exhibitions.

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