How to Display Digital Artwork in a Gallery

Posted by Dyske Suematsu | Mon Aug 16th 2004 8:47 p.m.

Hi all,

I have a friend who needs to show her digital artwork in a gallery. As she consulted me about it, I realized that it is an interesting problem.

Now LCD monitors are quickly becoming the norm. They are no longer a novelty item that connotes future. I feel like this shift in public perception has happened just this year. The problem for cost-conscious artists is that they can no longer use CRT monitors to present their work in a gallery because they now have the connotation of being retro, or just-past. Unless your work is about being retro or just-past, they are inappropriate.

But on the other hand, LCD monitors are still quite expensive, especially large ones. On top of it, they do not withstand well the abuse of the public users who tend to poke their fingers at it. Most gallery shows last about a month. You cannot afford to sacrifice your own monitor for a month, unless you happen to be going on vacation at the same time your have a show. Unless you are Cory Archangel, you do not have shows every month to make it worthwhile to buy one specifically for exhibition purposes. Renting it for a month is quite expensive too.

So what do most artists do in this situation?

-Dyske
  • Scott Paterson | Mon Aug 16th 2004 9:56 p.m.
    D,
    Well, when faced with this issue once, I bought a wireless PDA and made
    my own custom travel case for it that was padded, etc. But it really
    depends on a number of factors for what the best setup would be
    including - intended experience of work (a straight up monitor seems
    like a default response to me - too much library kiosk for my
    interests), lighting conditions, scale, position, degree of immersion,
    and on and on. Some tech joints will donate if the show is high profile
    enough and they get some free advertising...
    [sgp]

    On Monday, August 16, 2004, at 10:47 PM, Dyske Suematsu wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > I have a friend who needs to show her digital artwork in a gallery. As
    > she consulted me about it, I realized that it is an interesting problem.
    >
    > Now LCD monitors are quickly becoming the norm. They are no longer a
    > novelty item that connotes future. I feel like this shift in public
    > perception has happened just this year. The problem for cost-conscious
    > artists is that they can no longer use CRT monitors to present their
    > work in a gallery because they now have the connotation of being retro,
    > or just-past. Unless your work is about being retro or just-past, they
    > are inappropriate.
    >
    > But on the other hand, LCD monitors are still quite expensive,
    > especially large ones. On top of it, they do not withstand well the
    > abuse of the public users who tend to poke their fingers at it. Most
    > gallery shows last about a month. You cannot afford to sacrifice your
    > own monitor for a month, unless you happen to be going on vacation at
    > the same time your have a show. Unless you are Cory Archangel, you do
    > not have shows every month to make it worthwhile to buy one
    > specifically for exhibition purposes. Renting it for a month is quite
    > expensive too.
    >
    > So what do most artists do in this situation?
    >
    > -Dyske
    >
    >
    > +
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    >
  • nathaniel stern | Tue Aug 17th 2004 1:40 a.m.
    For those of us in the third world, LCD screens (um, computers, phone lines,
    electricity etc) are not necessarily the norm....

    Anyhow, I have an upcoming show in a gallery here, where I need to display
    video. My plan is to, rather than trying to source LCD screens, get some
    cheap dry wall and put it in front of the existing wall. I'll then put the
    CRT screen in between, and cut a hole in the wall. If you want to add a
    finishing touch, you can even frame it. Actually this is not uncommon in
    South Africa - I'll can think of at least 4 shows in the last year that use
    this technique to great effect.

    n

    scott paterson, who can be found @ somebody@sgp-7.net online, so boldly
    stated the following, on 8/17/04 5:59 AM:

    > D,
    > Well, when faced with this issue once, I bought a wireless PDA and made
    > my own custom travel case for it that was padded, etc. But it really
    > depends on a number of factors for what the best setup would be
    > including - intended experience of work (a straight up monitor seems
    > like a default response to me - too much library kiosk for my
    > interests), lighting conditions, scale, position, degree of immersion,
    > and on and on. Some tech joints will donate if the show is high profile
    > enough and they get some free advertising...
    > [sgp]
    >
    > On Monday, August 16, 2004, at 10:47 PM, Dyske Suematsu wrote:
    >
    >> Hi all,
    >>
    >> I have a friend who needs to show her digital artwork in a gallery. As
    >> she consulted me about it, I realized that it is an interesting problem.
    >>
    >> Now LCD monitors are quickly becoming the norm. They are no longer a
    >> novelty item that connotes future. I feel like this shift in public
    >> perception has happened just this year. The problem for cost-conscious
    >> artists is that they can no longer use CRT monitors to present their
    >> work in a gallery because they now have the connotation of being retro,
    >> or just-past. Unless your work is about being retro or just-past, they
    >> are inappropriate.
    >>
    >> But on the other hand, LCD monitors are still quite expensive,
    >> especially large ones. On top of it, they do not withstand well the
    >> abuse of the public users who tend to poke their fingers at it. Most
    >> gallery shows last about a month. You cannot afford to sacrifice your
    >> own monitor for a month, unless you happen to be going on vacation at
    >> the same time your have a show. Unless you are Cory Archangel, you do
    >> not have shows every month to make it worthwhile to buy one
    >> specifically for exhibition purposes. Renting it for a month is quite
    >> expensive too.
    >>
    >> So what do most artists do in this situation?
    >>
    >> -Dyske
    >>
    >>
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php

    nathaniel
    http://nathanielstern.com
  • Pau Waelder | Tue Aug 17th 2004 2:46 a.m.
    Depending on how the artwork is (if it's interactive, etc.), there are touch screens such as those commercialised by EZ Screen <http://www.ezscreen.com>, or maybe use a projector and a wireless mouse...

    --Pau
  • Rob Myers | Tue Aug 17th 2004 3:35 a.m.
    On Tuesday, August 17, 2004, at 10:13AM, Pau Waelder <pau@sicplacitum.com> wrote:

    >Depending on how the artwork is (if it's interactive, etc.), there are touch screens such as those commercialised by EZ Screen <http://www.ezscreen.com>, or maybe use a projector and a wireless mouse...

    Projectors are cool. They still look sci-fi even after all this time. They're expensive (I can't afford one) but you can hire them OK and if you're lucky the venue may have one you can hypnotise them into deploying for you. :-)

    - Rob.
  • Vicente Araújo [ svcnt ] | Tue Aug 17th 2004 5:56 a.m.
    I like laptops and projectors... Many gallerys have both things, or
    can be hired. Interactivity is possible and the public can watch the
    whole thing.
  • Jason Van Anden | Tue Aug 17th 2004 6:12 a.m.
    Dyske,

    Does this artist expect to sell the work?
    If so, what exactly will be sold?

    Jason Van Anden
    www.smileproject.com )
  • MTAA | Tue Aug 17th 2004 8:37 a.m.
    We're running into the same issue. CRTs suck. LCDs are cool, but expensive.

    (my other gripe is that every screen comes with some company branding on it.. someone should market a gallery monitor which keeps the bezels to a minimum and completely removes any visible branding.)

    Speaking in a purely pragmatic sense, it's up to digital artists to provide the hardware either by buying it themselves, getting grants and buying it, or consulting very closely with a very open-minded gallery or institution.

    MTAA are planning on combing eBay for values in the LCD area as we expand our digital art practice into the gallery.

    Dyske Suematsu wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > I have a friend who needs to show her digital artwork in a gallery. As
    > she consulted me about it, I realized that it is an interesting
    > problem.
    >
    > Now LCD monitors are quickly becoming the norm. They are no longer a
    > novelty item that connotes future. I feel like this shift in public
    > perception has happened just this year. The problem for cost-conscious
    > artists is that they can no longer use CRT monitors to present their
    > work in a gallery because they now have the connotation of being
    > retro, or just-past. Unless your work is about being retro or
    > just-past, they are inappropriate.
    >
    > But on the other hand, LCD monitors are still quite expensive,
    > especially large ones. On top of it, they do not withstand well the
    > abuse of the public users who tend to poke their fingers at it. Most
    > gallery shows last about a month. You cannot afford to sacrifice your
    > own monitor for a month, unless you happen to be going on vacation at
    > the same time your have a show. Unless you are Cory Archangel, you do
    > not have shows every month to make it worthwhile to buy one
    > specifically for exhibition purposes. Renting it for a month is quite
    > expensive too.
    >
    > So what do most artists do in this situation?
    >
    > -Dyske
    >
    >
  • Plasma Studii | Tue Aug 17th 2004 9:11 a.m.
    >Projectors are cool. They still look sci-fi even after all this
    >time. They're expensive (I can't afford one) but you can hire them
    >OK and if you're lucky the venue may have one you can hypnotise them
    >into deploying for you. :-)

    a lot of non-profs (theater groups, galleries, schools, etc) have
    them and will lend them out. likewise, if they don't have one (or
    more), they usually have a list of folks they can borrow one from.
    projectors SHOULD just be just standard equipment for displaying art
    in the 21st century, like lights or a sound system. but the art
    world in the US, though they always claim otherwise, is phenomenally
    resistant to change. most US restaurants have long adapted to buying
    touch-screens for the waiters/waitresses.

    cheap projectors only cost between 1000 and 2 new. granted that's
    more than a lot of individuals want to spend, but hardly out of whack
    with yearly budgets for organizations. people will fork over far
    more every year to their cell service providers. and even the
    projector bulbs (the first one's included) can last a few years.

    your eyes adjust to the dark/light, so after about a minute you
    ultimately see the same as you would with an expensive one. some
    models differ in their resolution, the ability to adjust for
    keystoning (in one or both directions), the variability of the
    dimensions of the final projection. most have a reverse mode, for
    rear projecting. close up, some project a tiny grid of colors, some
    circles, some a thicker border, some none at all. but then if the
    image is the size of a wall or on a stage, no one's going to be
    looking close up. sometimes people use mirrors to lengthen the
    distance between projector and projection, thus getting a bigger
    image using less installation space.

    the thing about the lumen rating to remember is that above about
    1000, the only practical difference is how much light it has to
    compete with. colors from the expensive 5000 lumen models hold their
    own against spot lights, but as long as the room is dark, it makes no
    difference. obviously, projecting black is just not projecting, so
    if there is a competing light source, that spot will be lit no matter
    what.

    it's kinda depressing to see most of em used to show video (old
    linear mentality). such a waste of cool technology. some are wary
    of connecting a computer, have never tried it and tell you it can't.
    i don't think they make projectors any more that JUST have
    RCA/composite in and not VGA.

    Windows computers used to require a signal booster for long cables
    between the PC and projector. Macs never did, and now even the PC
    laptops are fine. (the longest i've tried is 100 feet, but that's as
    long as the cables come)

    also, have commonly heard of manufacturers lending LED screens,
    projectors, monitors, for art exibits.
  • Jason Van Anden | Tue Aug 17th 2004 10:55 a.m.
    I have had to face this dilemma with my work as well.

    I keep an eye on prices so I have an idea of what to spend when I need to buy one.

    If the artist is planning to actually sell the work, then they should just figure the cost of the monitor into the price. This cost does not seem unreasonable for the artist to consider ... 2-D new media art have such low overhead (a desk, a computer, maybe a digital camera). There is no need to layout for this expense unless you are fortunate enough to be selected to show inside an actual gallery. If the artist is not selling the monitor with the work, they can re-use it for their next show, or sell it used on eBay afterwards.

    t.whid> ... getting grants and buying it...

    It is hard to find grants for individual artists that cover re-usable materials like computers and monitors.

    t.whid> (my other gripe is that every screen comes with some company branding on it.. someone should market a gallery monitor which keeps the bezels to a minimum and completely removes any visible branding.)

    It's not too difficult to remove the plastic frame. You just have to be really, really careful (I did blow a 14 incher back when those were $700! Fortunately I have a very patient friend who is also and electrical engineer, who was able to replace the blown parts. Hint: make sure the back of the pc board with the power button on it does not make contact with the metal frame of the exposed monitor - or you are hosed! I did this twice - believe it or not. The second time those pointy solder points wore through the tape for a repeat performance! I ended up covering it with very thick electrical tape and velcro.)

    Jason Van Anden
    www.smileproject.com )

    t.whid wrote:

    > We're running into the same issue. CRTs suck. LCDs are cool, but
    > expensive.
    >
    > (my other gripe is that every screen comes with some company branding
    > on it.. someone should market a gallery monitor which keeps the bezels
    > to a minimum and completely removes any visible branding.)
    >
    > Speaking in a purely pragmatic sense, it's up to digital artists to
    > provide the hardware either by buying it themselves, getting grants
    > and buying it, or consulting very closely with a very open-minded
    > gallery or institution.
    >
    > MTAA are planning on combing eBay for values in the LCD area as we
    > expand our digital art practice into the gallery.
    >
    > Dyske Suematsu wrote:
    >
    > > Hi all,
    > >
    > > I have a friend who needs to show her digital artwork in a gallery.
    > As
    > > she consulted me about it, I realized that it is an interesting
    > > problem.
    > >
    > > Now LCD monitors are quickly becoming the norm. They are no longer a
    > > novelty item that connotes future. I feel like this shift in public
    > > perception has happened just this year. The problem for
    > cost-conscious
    > > artists is that they can no longer use CRT monitors to present their
    > > work in a gallery because they now have the connotation of being
    > > retro, or just-past. Unless your work is about being retro or
    > > just-past, they are inappropriate.
    > >
    > > But on the other hand, LCD monitors are still quite expensive,
    > > especially large ones. On top of it, they do not withstand well the
    > > abuse of the public users who tend to poke their fingers at it. Most
    > > gallery shows last about a month. You cannot afford to sacrifice
    > your
    > > own monitor for a month, unless you happen to be going on vacation
    > at
    > > the same time your have a show. Unless you are Cory Archangel, you
    > do
    > > not have shows every month to make it worthwhile to buy one
    > > specifically for exhibition purposes. Renting it for a month is
    > quite
    > > expensive too.
    > >
    > > So what do most artists do in this situation?
    > >
    > > -Dyske
    > >
    > >
  • void void | Tue Aug 17th 2004 1:25 p.m.
    I have over time acquired, an assortment of CRT's and projectors and computers. which I use depending on the situation in the gallery. Most of which now only lend themselves to installation type work and not "museum quality display"
    The price of small LCD screens are getting more reasonable.
    I bought a used XGA projector from a rental house about 2 years ago have used it a lot since, and I pray the lamp doesn't give out anytime soon. It was a good investment. Now I have a method to exhibit which I think is the best to view the work.

    Galleries and museums which show this work should be responsible for providing the correct equipment to be displayed... NOW REALITY... If I didn't provide a decent method to show my work it would not be shown, or it would on a 13" samsung VCR/TV combo that the guys in maintenance have for watching ball games.

    AE04
    atomicelroy.com
    CHAOS Studios
  • Haim | Tue Aug 17th 2004 1:37 p.m.
    Well, the best play to display digital artworks remains to paint screen captures
    on canvases. It is way profitable... at least that's what Google said...
    Interactivity remains between bank accounts, though.

    Cyrill.

    Quoting atomic elroy <atomicelroy@mac.com>:

    > I have over time acquired, an assortment of CRT's and projectors and
    > computers. which I use depending on the situation in the gallery. Most of
    > which now only lend themselves to installation type work and not "museum
    > quality display"
    > The price of small LCD screens are getting more reasonable.
    > I bought a used XGA projector from a rental house about 2 years ago have used
    > it a lot since, and I pray the lamp doesn't give out anytime soon. It was a
    > good investment. Now I have a method to exhibit which I think is the best to
    > view the work.
    >
    > Galleries and museums which show this work should be responsible for
    > providing the correct equipment to be displayed... NOW REALITY... If I
    > didn't provide a decent method to show my work it would not be shown, or it
    > would on a 13" samsung VCR/TV combo that the guys in maintenance have for
    > watching ball games.
    >
    >
    > AE04
    > atomicelroy.com
    > CHAOS Studios
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • void void | Tue Aug 17th 2004 3:59 p.m.
    touche'

    Cyrill Duneau wrote:

    > Well, the best play to display digital artworks remains to paint
    > screen captures
    > on canvases. It is way profitable... at least that's what Google
    > said...
    > Interactivity remains between bank accounts, though.
    >
    > Cyrill.
    >
    >
    >
    > Quoting atomic elroy <atomicelroy@mac.com>:
    >
    >
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