Behind the Scenes at Textility

Putting together the Art Center's new art exhibition, "Textility."

Everyone enjoys art exhibitions but often aren’t aware of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into an installation. So I decided to check in with Katie Murdock, our Exhibitions Manager, to get her perspective on putting a show together, especially since our new exhibition, Textility, opens today at 6 pm.


Jennifer Cecere, Debra Ramsay Before the artwork arrives in our galleries, there are a number of things to determine.  The artist, artist’s gallery and lender are consulted about any specific installation instructions or challenges that we should consider. This determines how we ship the artwork and who installs the work. 

Many of the works from Textility came from New York and traveled by way of a specialized art shipper.  Some of the works traveled through commercial shipping services. The furthest shipped pieces in Textility were from San Francisco and Santa Fe, NM. German artist Peter Weber has a gallery in Germany and New Mexico.  I worked with both gallery owners to receive this piece from Santa Fe.

It was a relief when all of the work arrived, and the mood quickly flipped to excitement. The gallery was lined with wooden crates, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and even Tupperware. It felt like lots of presents waiting to be opened to become an exhibition (photo #1).

Curator Mary Birmingham establishes a creative and collaborative atmosphere. From the beginning of the installation process to the end, it is a group effort. She worked closely with the artists and the installation experts, Stephen Hutchins and Joey Rizzolo, to find the optimal placement for each piece. 

Several of the artists in this exhibition were also involved with the installation process.  Artist Jennifer Cecere finds that she needs to come to a site before she can determine installation methods.  She worked with professional installer Joey Rizzolo to hang her work, MOTHER (photo #2), in the Main Gallery’s south window. By using a sewing needle, she created loops with monofilament so Joey could hang the piece.  Mary determined where in the window it was best to hang this artwork. Artist Debra Ramsay, on the other hand, actually created two site-specific works for the show right here at the Art Center: Squarely Divided, Times Two  (photo #3) outside Studio X and In Two, Twice, with Yellow and Green (photo #4) in the main stairwell. Debra first worked in her studio to map out these installations.”  --Katie Murdock


I also had an opportunity to speak with Debra Ramsay as she was installing her work in our main stairwell. Debra likened the piece to a 3-D drawing with string. The Textility exhibition will hold many surprises for the viewer. Hope to see you at the show.

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