This is Real! Installing Real/Surreal at the Akron Art Museum

By: Liz Carney, Curatorial Assistant

Have you ever wondered what happens behind closed gallery doors when the museum is changing its exhibitions?

Lots of work goes into installing an exhibition. Most importantly, it takes a lot of time and care to take works of art from their crates to the gallery walls.

Each artwork comes in its own travel frame, which is specially padded and shaped to fit it. Paintings are usually bolted to the bottom of their travel frames to keep them from shifting during transit. Here is Charles Sheeler’s River Rouge Plant (1932) being unbolted by AAM art handlers:


Then, the painting is meticulously examined to make sure that it hasn’t been damaged during travel.


The artwork is all then arranged so that the curators can fine-tune the exhibition layout. Notice how the painting has been carefully placed against the wall in order to protect it before it is hung in its permanent position.


Finally, everything goes up on the wall! It’s not as easy as it may seem to get everything exactly straight and evenly spaced…


After all of the art has been placed on the walls, we add labels, lighting and other details. You’ll have to come see for yourself the completed installation of these powerful works of art, which are even more striking and intriguing in person!

Want to be one of the first people to see this exhibition? The opening party is tonight (Friday, July 19) at 6 pm. Click for more details.