(Skip to a specific section using the above links)
Browsing for ideas
Desk-top publishing of exhibition catalogues by Arabella Decker
Reason for creating catalogues: I have discovered that a catalogue is the proof that a show has taken place. Without printed and available documentation, people forget who and what was shown after the exhibit is over. In case of disaster (like fire or flood), the catalogue may be the only proof an official will accept about the artist’s level of professional achievement (think insurance). The fact that catalogues are held in many hands assures the survivability of the information.
Making a catalogue by hand: You will need: 1. Shiny or textured card stock @ $20. or more a ream (500 sheets). 2. Paper for printing the catalog is expensive because it should be heavy paper that does not bleed and does take ink well. Count your pages, then decide whether you will print on one side or two (two-sided requires heavier paper but half as many sheets). Multiply by the number of catalogues to be produced in order to determine your materials cost. 3. Photoshop and /or another program that can be used to create each and every page will cost $700. – $1500. 4. Ink is a surprise cost because you need a lot of color and/or black ink to make the images and print stand out on each page (at least $100. or more, depending on the number of catalogues to be printed). 5. Epson printers with archival inks are the best for the job @ $300. 6. Either a special punch and coil system or a special staple system will be needed to put the book together. Punch and Coil will run $300. A staple system for less than 50 pages will cost $20.
Intense work and editing is needed: 1. First all images must be taken (300 dpi recommended) 2. Statements must be written and edited 3. Pages designed 4. Pages printed 5. Pages collated
6. Pages and cover put together and bound
Pitfalls of an in-house created catalog: 1. Because it does not have an ISBN number, it has less archival value for researchers. 2. Artists often write pages of nonsense (“artspeak”) unrelated to the work shown. 3. Grammar, spelling, and sentence structure must be checked by an experienced editor. 4. People often want more catalogs than were ordered and printed.
A lot of work, but it is worth the effort to document your art and your exhibitions!
About Artist’s Statements: Take the time, make the effort, to write an effective artist’s statement. The artist statement cannot be understated or underestimated. A clear, concise, well-written artist statement is essential. It can move the artist’s work from being just another pretty piece to a more scholarly level.
Other notes on catalogues: As a curator and having produced many catalogues, I would like to stress the importance of:
• good quality images of one’s artwork;
• making sure the information given for the work is accurate.
Documentation of working process