Exhibition Records for Your Art

When I worked in museums, our registrar usually kept three files for each object in the collection: the object file, the donor file, and the artist file.

The object file contained the entire history of that piece, including its provenance, conservation, and exhibition records. If you want to see your work in a museum one day, you could help out future registrars by keeping your own exhibition records for each object.

Let’s say you have a sculpture called Mother & Child (a favorite title of art historians!) that was exhibited in three shows this past year. You want to make note of those exhibits in your database record for that specific work.

So, you call up Mother & Child in your database. If you don’t have a field called “Exhibition Record,” create one. In it, list the following for each venue:

  • “Exact title of exhibit” (in quotes or italicized).
  • Correct name of venue for exhibit.
  • Precise location (city/state or province) of exhibit.
  • Exact dates of exhibit.

Notice the use of “exact, correct, precise.” It’s no accident. I see many half-baked resumes that have incorrect or incomplete information on it. It’s much easier to record this as you go along rather than waiting for some point in the future when you might have to dig through files or boxes. Memories fade rather quickly.

Caveat: Don’t go crazy with this. For instance, you don’t need to record which works you hung at Aunt Celia’s Christmas party.

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1 comment to Exhibition Records for Your Art

  • Cathy Jeffers

    Thank you for reminding me about being more organized! I always think I’ll have a perfect memory for the shows I have been in– but no. I can lose track pretty easily. I think it’s almost like having a part-time job to keep up with entry dates, forms, slides that are kept out for months and more. I wish there could be a better way with exhibitions. Perhaps some gallery owner could share their ideas on how to make things go smoother for them too. I also want to thank all of the gallery owners who go the extra mile and place artist work on their websites. It is rewarding to see “our” work in so many locations. It is fun to share our work with family and friends–who may not “get” what we do, or how our work looks in different settings. Cathy J. Art Quilts and MixeD MediA Centerville, Ohio