Friday, February 13, 2009

Installing Artwork in Your Home

Art is extremely fragile and must be handled and installed with great care and sensitivity. The most common cause of damage to artwork happens when it is handled.

When you have art in your home, it is helpful to have the following on hand to move and install work:
• a pair of cloth gloves (also called photographer gloves)
• masking tape
• hammer
• level
• drill
• measuring tape
• step ladder
• hangers

It is important to know the exact material of the artwork in order to handle it properly and prevent damage. Always handle artwork with cloth gloves to prevent fingerprints or dirt from touching the work. You can find these gloves at a photography or art supply store.

Although hanging small works of art yourself may appear easy, hiring a professional installer can solve many problems. A professional can offer unique solutions as to where and how to place the work without damaging the walls or floor.

If you choose to hang artwork yourself, it is a good idea to first visualize the arrangement of your collection on paper or digitally. Steer clear of hanging work in areas such as kitchens or bathrooms or near air conditioners, vents, fans and windows. Note that sunlight, humidity and high temperatures can damage artwork.

Start by placing the larger work or work that has special requirements. Typically, large works can stand alone and smaller works that relate to each other in subject or color look better clustered together. While deciding on placement of the work, take the furniture and configuration of the room into consideration. Traditionally, two-dimensional artwork is hung at eye level so its center is about 5 feet from the floor. Sculpture can be presented on a pedestal or directly on the floor depending on what the artist intended, the size and material of the work. Once you are comfortable with the general layout, have someone else hold the work in place and delineate the corners of the artwork on the wall or floor with masking tape to define and view its placement.

For two- dimensional work, be sure to choose the appropriate hangers based on the composition of the wall and the weight of the artwork. Two hooks or d-rings can be used for most two-dimensional works. Take a look at the back of the artwork and determine the correct placement of the hangers. To accurately place the hooks on the wall, pull the hanging wire towards the top of the frame in two spots with the same distance from the top. Measure the distance from the top and the horizontal distance between the two spots. The farther apart the hangers are placed, the closer the frame will be to the wall. Translate these measurements to the wall making sure the hangers are level and gently tap them into the wall with a hammer. Afterwards, place the work onto the wall and make sure it is level.