How to display original art?

The Toy and Action Figure Museum opened last Saturday (Oct. 15) in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Within the museum is a special display called the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection, featuring artwork of cartoonists from Oklahoma as well as artists associated with Oklahoma’s comics writers. This collection contains original comics pages and strip artwork, photocopies of artwork, and clipped newspaper strips. (Note: all the artwork, including photocopies, was donated by the artists or their respective estates.) The display is in a temporary form so that it could be viewed on the museum’s opening day. The display’s “curator”, Michael Vance, asked me for advice in creating the permanent display, but beyond suggesting archival materials and a short list of where to obtain them, I’m really out of my element. So I thought I would go the Source of Knowledge of All Things Comics and contact CBG. In a nutshell: If you were going to display all this artwork for public view, from originals to newsprint, how would you do it? Limitations are wall space and, currently, a budget. But as this is a display intended to grow over time, the hope is that grants and contributions will cover costs. I will pass along any/all suggestions to my friend, Michael Vance. The link to The Toy and Action Figure Museum is: http://actionfiguremuseum.com/.

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One Response to How to display original art?

  1. georgehagenauer says:

    If these folks have musuem training they should know the basics on archival framing/preservation approaches to art. If not they need to buy Anne Clapps Curatorial Care of Works of Art on Paper as it covers most of the basics (In fact if you collect original art you need to have acopy of Curatorial Care- it’s like the basic owner manual)

    In terms of how and what to display, I’ve done educational displays for libraries and other places always without a budget so I was limited to their spaces. My ideal is a dispaly that shows t he broad impact – ie mixes originals with printed versions licensed products etc to show the real imapct of the artist’s work on the culture. There is a tendency either to only show the art or to only show the artifacts I would do both as well as photos of the artist and if possible some contextual period references that appear in the art.

    One thing I’ve always wanted to do but never had a budget for in any of the displays was to provide a laminated comic or reproduction of one (a big flip book of rigid plastic sealed sleeves with one page per sleeve) so folks could actually read a story – hi tech folks probbaly would suggest a computer with a CD rom drive. Either way we are talking (at least with older comic stories) an 8-12 page story that can be read usually in a few minutes well within the parameters of a museum visit. This would give a far better sense of what he artist was really doing than just the art itself. Having the two together would make things a lot more educationa lfor the person who had no experience with the characters or artist. Also if the Museum would like a photocopy or scan – I have an Early Chester Gould editorial cartoon (which was run in CBG as part of the column) – I don;t know if that was done for an Oklahoma paper or a Chicago paper but I’d be glad to share it emai lme at yellowkd@merr.com- George Hagenauer
    and yes expect a column on the Clapp book in the next issue of CBG

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