The Whitney Western Art Museum presents a special exhibition of photographs by renowned photographer and author Laura Wilson. That Day: Pictures of the American West, organized by the Amon Carter Museum and the artist, highlights Wilson’s photographs made in the American West over three decades. The exhibition includes photographs of outsiders, law enforcers, cowboys, debutantes, and more. Some photographs feature difficult subjects – dogfighting, cockfighting, and border-related violence. All of the photographs are compelling images of the modern West – a complex and complicated region in which diverse lives coexist.
Preparing for a large-scale loan exhibition like That Day requires the time and dedication of staff members from multiple museum departments – Facilities, Curatorial, Registration, Conservation, and Exhibition Management.
The Facilities crew prepared the gallery with a fresh coat of paint, allowing plenty of time for drying and off-gassing, a necessary step to ensure the protection of the artwork. The Curatorial team opted for a bright Cadmium red hue as an accent color, to complement the predominantly black and white imagery.
Delivery day demanded “all hands-on deck,” as the exhibition comprises over eighty photographs shipped in multiple crates. The team unpacked and transported the works to the gallery, and assessed the condition of each photograph before its installation. Once the Registration and Conservation staff finished condition reporting, the Curatorial staff of the Whitney Western Art Museum and Exhibition Manager began hanging the large photographs.
The layout was determined by Curator Karen McWhorter in consultation with Wilson; it is a contemporary, thematic hang based on the design from the exhibition’s original venue, the Amon Carter. The photographs are hung in groups based on their subject matter, and within each grouped theme the works range in size and orientation. Most of the photographs are stacked or hung in close pairs or trios, which involved extremely precise measurements between every photograph. Each work required a minimum of two people to lift and hang, and the largest photographs required four or more people!
After all the artwork was hung, the labels were installed and the lighting adjusted. Show time!
That Day exhibition is on view through August 13, 2017 in the John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery. For more information on the exhibition visit the Center’s online news release.
To learn more about Laura Wilson and her photography, please visit her website.