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Home » Resources » Faculty & Students » Finding Info @msvuart

Finding Information at the Art Gallery

For students who have art gallery assignments. . .

Verbal information

  • Works of art generally appear with a wall label or other key that gives basic information, such as the materials of which it is made, the date, the name of the artist.

  • Exhibitions usually contain a text panel that introduces the main themes of the exhibition. Look for it on the wall.

  • There may be an exhibition catalogue that provides detailed information about individual works in the exhibition. If you do not wish to buy the catalogue, you must use it in the art gallery.

  • There may be brochures available that you may take at no charge.

  • If after studying the written information you still have questions, try asking the art gallery staff.

Visual information

If you have been asked to analyse or interpret a single work of art, remember that you are encountering it in the context of other art, in an exhibition. An exhibition is as much a system of representation as a work of art. Consider how your chosen work interacts with other works of art in the room, and with aspects of life outside the exhibition.

Are you interested in a particular motif, such as a word, colour, shape, or image? Is it repeated or echoed in several works of art in the exhibition? How does this affect your interpretation?

The materials, size, colour and form of the work of art all influence the way in which you interpret it. Pay attention to the ways in which the artist presents her ideas. A painted portrait has a different effect from a photographic portrait. An image printed on paper and framed means something different from the same image printed on a T-shirt.

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