On November 26th, 2016 MFA graduating student Chumeng Weng presented her solo-show WYSIWYG at the Spazio Culturale Mentana, a project space in Florence that promotes and presents the work of young artists, from diverse disciplines.
We take this chance, and others to come, to write about what it takes (practically, financially and psychologically) to make a show, in Florence and elsewhere.
First issue you will have to deal with is that many organizations in Florence will not offer you their spaces for free (in fact some actually really speculate on the need for presentation spaces young artists have). You have to take into account some budget for that, and especially be good and smart when negotiating a price. As stereotypes often hold a degree of truth, Italians are great (read: not fair) merchants.
Last-minute problem solving characterizes basically every single exhibition, be it a biennial or a tiny solo-show in a shoebox. While you get tired, frustrated, anxious, and sleep-less remember that this is something everyone experiences, so don’t feel guilty or overtly desperate about it. Just keep focused and make use of every little bit of time you have left, even just the last minutes can do magic.
And HEY despite everything you made it, and even look particularly good for your own exhibition.
Friends, particularly when dealing with the same discipline, are always essential, do ask for help, and do distribute tasks, you just can’t manage everything by yourself. Here for instance Lumy Noguez played the role of chief curatorial advisor of WYSIWYG.
Don’t try to decode the first visitor’s thoughts about the show, there is just a fine line between looking interested, serious and absolutely bored.
If you want or need performers in your show of course ask people that surround you and you know already. The job is hard, and shouldn’t be overdone.
Do think about children when plotting the display. Having a baby-safe exhibition space will multiply your audience.
NEVER forget to thank publicly everyone who helped you. Giving credit to who donated work and time to your show is not only a nice gesture, it’s a must do thing. People loved you, so do love back.
This should go without saying, but SMILE SMILE SMILE. If you made it this far, you should be more than proud of yourself.