Monday, November 29, 2010
Taking down Sacred Flesh after two glorious months!
Yesterday morning Chris and I went to Visual Art Studio and took down Sacred Flesh after its two month run. It's so bizarre taking a show down... After months of conception, planning, painting, advertising, talking, emailing, marketing, sharing, the show gets hung. It's a long, arduous, 6-7 hour process, yet it's ultimately a very satisfying experience because the result is so gratifying - a opportunity to see all the work in one place - the concept comes to life!
Then the Opening Night! What a thrill! It's kind of like a wedding. So many wonderful friends and family members take the time out of their busy lives to come see the work you've put your soul into for months/years. It's an opportunity to share the work with the public and to gauge their reaction. Openings are one of my very favorite things to do!
Then the show hangs for a month or two. Sacred Flesh was up for 2 months. There are scheduled artists' talks, luncheons, impromptu visits to meet friends. The energy continues unabated, helped along by wonderful emails from people who have seen the show. So many things have evolved from this show, but I'll talk about those in another post.
Then, finally, after all that time, it's time for the show to come down. Before leaving home, we loaded the Highlander and the truck with cardboard and other packing material, tools, and containers and headed to the gallery. The owner was on Thanksgiving vacation still so we let ourselves in. I took some photographs to remember the show by then we started taking the pieces off the wall. Down came the labels and the women's stories. Down came the paintings. We packed up the catalogs and prints. Then we began hauling the work to the truck and the car. What took 7 hours to do only took 45 minutes to undo. We were home within an hour and a half of leaving!
We carried the left over paintings into the studio where we left them propped up against walls and easels and tables. We waited until today to put them away neatly.
One of the things artists are sometimes (understandably) shy about talking about is that shows don't usually sell out so there is often artwork to store or to hang in ones own house. I've noticed that I actually get depressed when I take down a show. I know I did yesterday. I don't like the feeling of bringing home so much work into which I poured my soul and having to find a place to store it. I want it to have found new homes! To have been loved and cherished and taken home! It's painful to put it away where it won't be seen for months. I hang much of it up in my house, but I only have so many walls, and I have to have room for the furniture too!
So yesterday was a bit sad and depressing. I didn't notice at first, but Chris and I were hanging some artwork (we bought a hanging system for our house and were working on installing it then hanging pictures on it) and I was totally grumpy. I felt like jumping down his throat for no reason. Finally I realized that I was feeling let down like I frequently do when a show is over. It passes, and my vitality returns, but it hurts for a bit. Thankfully Chris was kind and gentle and understanding (as he almost always is - I'm a lucky woman!) so it passed, but ouch!
It's a powerful thing to have an art show. To be see so thoroughly by the public. To have ones soul scrutinized, analyzed, judged, admired, despised, reviled, loved. It's a vulnerable thing. Fortunately I believe in my work completely so the negative comments generally roll off my back, and the positive ones serve to reinforce the rightness of what I'm doing. (Some might call it selective hearing! That's not a bad thing to have as an artist!)