When you think of art galleries, it is hard not to imagine enormous castle-like institutions in the middle of cities, filled with glorious bastions of creative expression, paintings, sculptures and installations that extend the human experience. Though the famed institutions are not the first, nor the only location of art on the planet – they have certainly played a heavy hand in how we perceive and romanticize with hanging, viewing and experiencing art.
But this article isn’t about the great spaces in which art is physically associated with. Rather it is about the advent of the pop-up gallery – a concept that is rumoured to have sprung from the cultural hotbed of 1960s New York where artists, writers and all sorts gathered in the deserted industrial lofts that sat on the Lower East Side. Darkened windows marked the secretive locations of famous artists long before property moguls knew to rub their mits at the prospective profit such cultural capital could provide.
In today’s age of online communities, instant access and satisfaction – does a temporary space like the pop-up gallery still have relevance?
In an interview with The New Criterion, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philippe de Montebello pointed to the vastly different, and nearly lost, appreciation of art, like, in real life.
“The appreciation of art requires an engagement that is wholly different from the instant gratification provided by most forms of popular culture, and museums have a responsibility to help visitors achieve this,” said the patrician of the arts.
One certain truth is the advent of social media allows creators to share their work, try new styles and collect criticism (both constructive and negative) in one instant arena.
So, whilst many budding illustrators and painters can amass a loyal following on Instagram – are their works being experienced in the flesh? That is, up close to admire the texture of the medium or from afar to witness the presence of the piece in a room?
Pop-up galleries could very well be a vestige for emerging artists to deliver an experience of art to their fans. Further, the artist needs little more than an empty room and a few posts on their aforementioned social media channel to get the ball rolling. Temporary walling and hanging solutions give such entrepreneurial artists the opportunity to build their own vision of a gallery, adding more wall space as needed.
Art Hanging Systems has been providing intuitive and clever solutions in non-traditional gallery areas for many years. Anecdotally, such pop-up galleries are a very popular and cost-effective way not only to exhibit one’s work to public, but also to experience art as it is intended.