Artist Books 3.0

Where artists' books and the book arts meet online...


I have just had a book returned from a gallery. I was pleased to have it back. I was not pleased about how it was packaged. I sent my book in carefully chosen packaging that was labelled with the name of the work and my name. The work is an installation so needed a bit of care with the packaging so that the work retained its form. This is the second time this has happened with this work.I am reluctant to let it go out to a gallery now unless I get to install it and take it down. I thought my instructions for setting up were sufficient but obviously not good enough to get the work properly repacked in the box it was sent in and the work assembled as it was sent and received by the gallery. I am disappointed. Does anyone else have this problem? Those of you who have installations do you have this problem? Did I get your packaging and you got mine? Should we send photos of how the work should be packed? and make our name labels on our packaging heaps bigger? Does anyone have the answers? Of course the ideal is for it not to be returned, just a cheque to come to me. Until then I am now very reluctant to enter some exhibitions.

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Hi Judy, Sorry to hear that you have this unnecessary problem. I can only talk from both ends of your problem as, yes this has also happened to me. A photo of the piece as it appears in the box / packaging is a very good idea. If possible, attach your photo to the lid of the box or where it will be seen (maybe 2 pics?). Also, if it is a complex piece, take a few photos as it is unpacked for the galleries reference. I believe that the unpacking & repacking can sometimes be the work of gallery volunteers & unfortunately, some of these well meaning persons are not trained in this area. Some galleries that I know actually photograph the work as it is in the box (ie b4 unpacking) & also whilst unpacking, just so they know how it goes back. When it's out of your hands........... Hope this helps a little.
Lorraine, thanks for your comments
I have now taken photos of this work as it is packed and how the gallery would receive it, if i ever post it again. I did write the name of the work and my name and address on the packaging, but I don't think those who took the work down were that interested in looking for and matching up packaging.
I think that as artists we already do enough to support the exhibitions and some responsibility should be taken by the organisers.

I wonder who is going to teach organisers the approptiate way to handle artists books.
Hi Judy,
How disappointing for you.

It has been my experience that value is added to the packaging when step by step instructions as well as name,address and photos are attached to each piece of the packaging. This is particularly helpful for whoever is responsible for assembling and unassembling the work. Providing specific and clear instructions are really helpful and a check list could also be considered.

Gallerys' , as I understand, have strict protocols to follow and they do a fabulous job with the available resources and a dedicated bunch of volunteers who give generously of their time and expertise.

Galleries and exhibition provide us, the artist, with a fabulous platform to display our work and promote ourselves whilst providing a great cultural experience for the viewing public and if we work together good things happen.

Happy Days
I have stickers with my contact details that are added to all packaging
i included details on how the work should be displayed with a photo and drawings for the setting up person/s
I included all bits and pieces needed for the installation in labelled plastic bags
I included a list of what was included in the package and how the work should be packaged and should be stored
I also travelled 12 hours by train and then another few hours to visit the gallery to meet with the gallery volunteers
still the work was not packaged and returned as requested
i usually also include a return address label
i am well aware of the service galleries provide
in this case i have no problem with the gallery itself, just the organisers of this particular exhibition


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