Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Preparing the Galleries for Becoming Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh loved to experiment with his materials, creating works on paper, canvas, and pasteboard with paints, ink, chalk, and watercolor among many other media. While Van Gogh didn’t often draw on brown craft paper, the DAM team is using these templates as stand-ins for the real works. The paintings in the exhibition Becoming Van Gogh haven’t arrived yet, but we are preparing the galleries for their installation.  Walls have been constructed and painted and the team gathered today to discuss the paintings’ placement in the gallery.  

Exhibition installers Kevin Hester and Cary Hale measure the height of a painting on the wall.
 

Our exhibition designer, Ben Griswold, worked with the DAM team to create layouts that would complement the narrative of the exhibition. We’ve been working with to-scale models and computer elevations to create a sequence of works that will enhance our visitors’ understanding of this largely self-taught artist. Paper templates are cut to the size of the actual paintings, and then adhered to the wall to determine their ideal height and distance from other paintings. When installing, we also take into consideration the interpretive elements including labels that identify each work.

Associate curator Angelica Daneo and exhibition designer Ben Griswold discuss the distance a label should be from the painting it identifies.

One by one, the paper templates will be replaced by the real paintings, which will be installed in time for the opening on October 21.

Kristin Bonk Fong was the curatorial assistant for the Denver Art Museum’s painting and sculpture department.