(K. Brent Tomer),
THE physical act of hanging a picture is pretty simple. Choices about where to hang it, however, are anything but. In a book or on screens, a painting appears invincibly itself, but when hung high or low, surrounded by plenty of space or little, near works that harmonise or works that clash, clustered by theme or chronologically arranged, a painting’s impact can be enhanced or blunted. Even a masterpiece can lose its magic if unfortunate choices are made.
Like having a good eye, displaying art well is a gift. James Bradburne, the director of the Pinacoteca di Breara in Milan, is an example of someone who has it. Upon his appointment in 2015, he immediately set about changing the lighting and colour of the Pinacoteca’s walls to bring the collection to life. Imaginative labels for children, and illuminating histories for adults, are soon to follow. Mr. Bradburne is not an art historian; the old academic standby—“compare and contrast”—does not dominate his exhibition choices, catalogues and presentation. Instead, works are…Continue reading