A How-To Guide for Displaying Sculptures

Displaying Sculptures

“Sherlock” (2010) by Nano Lopez.

Displaying artwork so it can be truly appreciated is one of the best aspects of owning art, but it can also be a challenge, especially with sculptures.

Unlike two-dimensional artwork, sculptures like those from Park West Gallery artist Nano Lopez require more than selecting the perfect wall for display. Finding the right place to optimally showcase these detailed works might seem difficult, but with these tips and ideas, you’ll be displaying sculptures like a pro in no time.

 

What room and where

Since sculptures are three-dimensional, they should be viewable from multiple angles. Placing them in the center of the living room might seem like the best bet, but if doing so obstructs the room’s traffic flow, you may want to choose a different spot.

Like two-dimensional art, displaying a sculpture at eye level is recommended for optimal viewing. This may help determine where in the room a sculpture can go without interfering with functionality.

Displaying Sculptures

Place a smaller sculpture on a table or shelf.

Shelves are an ideal spot, such as recessed spaces in walls or within a bookcase. Side tables in bedrooms and living rooms are also great spots, as they are typically out of the way. Lamps on these tables can then double as lighting for the artwork.

 

Lighting the way

Of course, as with other works of art, lighting plays a big role in displaying sculptures. Too much light will wash out the details, while not enough hides them. Sculptures should be well-lit by diffused light sources, which can include daylight from windows.

However, avoid these situations when possible:

  • Light directly below – Remember when, as a child, you would shine a flashlight on your face from below to scare someone? Stay away from this horror movie look for your art.
  • Light directly behind – If light is shining from behind the sculpture, it makes viewing difficult.
  • A “spotlight” – Sure, you want the artwork to be the star, but a single, dramatic light will hide its intricate features in equally dramatic shadows.
Displaying Sculptures

Notice how the difference in lighting can change the details shown on a sculpture.

There are some exceptions, of course. Sculptures made of transparent materials are perfect candidates for a lighted pedestal, which adds a new element to their presentation.

 

Picking a pedestal

Smaller sculptures may be ideal on shelves and tables, but a larger work benefits from a pedestal. Choose a material for the pedestal that will not look out of place in the desired room. Additionally, whether it’s small or large, the pedestal should not draw attention away from the sculpture, but instead blend in with the rest of the room.

Displaying Sculptures

Medium and large sculptures benefit from a pedestal.

When deciding on the location for a large sculpture and/or its pedestal, determine if its placement would hinder or block any walking paths. Most importantly, a pedestal should be sturdy enough to hold the sculpture.

Keep these tips in mind when displaying sculptures and your works will certainly add a new dynamic to your home or office.

How do you display your Park West Gallery sculptures? Tell us in the comments below or post a picture on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

33 Responses to A How-To Guide for Displaying Sculptures

  1. Doris Chimera says:

    I have Elizabeth and Davian. Elizabeth is displayed on a shelf between my kitchen and great room so she is viewable from multiple areas. She looks great there and people just love looking at her. When I purchased Davian I was unsure how to display him for optimal view. A friend suggested a pedestal like the one you have pictured. I searched online and found a company that builds pedestals and purchased one (under $200). Davian looks perfect on it. I would strongly suggest a pedestal if you have the room.

  2. Paul Honig says:

    I have Elma,Lucy,sherlock (sml),and Bobby on top of a book case at about 4′ high. Roxy is on a shelf just below.

  3. putu says:

    decent light at the right position with pedestal is a must have when you want to enhance your enjoying experience with sculpture

  4. Werner says:

    I have had the honor of dealing with many sculpture placements and lighting and what I have to say is that any sculpture that is treated like a painting will not be able to show its full potential. Making it the center of attention or just isolating one from the distractions around it can make that sculpture come to life. I love moving my sculptures around often, it gives the illusion of life and that they are roaming around the house by themselves.

  5. Lucy says:

    Love Nano’s works, great tips! I have Tina and she catches everyone’s attention on my side table in my front room, gets good light from the window, but at night we have a soft lamp near by too

  6. JJ says:

    Lighting is a must as is placement, though what I like most about a sculpture, is the 360 degree factor….show it off to its full potential. JJ

  7. JackieGraf says:

    I have always imagined sculptures as being difficult to display in a home, because I always picture them on a pedestal in the center of a room. While that is a wonderful option, I really like that this article made sculptures seem much more approachable by suggesting a shelf to put them on. I think that’s a great option for someone who may not have the space for a pedestal, and it still does a great job of displaying the work.

  8. Tamsin says:

    His sculptures are so engaging. His talent is splendid and I struggle to look away from his work.

  9. Aleksandar says:

    I will say one thing, just to own a sculpture is a great privilege.

  10. Sarah says:

    I hope to own one of the new Peter Max sculptures and now I know how to display it.

  11. Lynnaye says:

    In the words of Nano Lopez “The transformation from clay to bronze has always been magical to me”….with that said I would say place YOUR next sculpture in your most magical place in your home… Whether it be the sunlit window or the small shelf with all your memories, make it your turn to create!

  12. Avalon Bellos says:

    Nano’s scupltures never cease to amaze me! His penchant for incredible texture and the avant garde is such an inspiration. Great tips to showcase the beauty of each work!

  13. Andrey says:

    Nano’s sculptures bring to your mind the best memories of your childhood. Collecting his “nanimals” is just like conserving the most beloved and sophisticated toys you’ve ever received in your life. Now, regarding this article, this is a very simple and useful way to learn how to exhibit a magnificent artwork you are of possessing.

  14. Louise Els says:

    I’m saving up for a Nano Lopez. Can’t wait to display it in my home one day!

  15. Dmitry says:

    Right lighting is an absolute must for a perfect experience. Pro photographer’s speaking:)

  16. Alex says:

    I can now think of some perfect spots to place sculptors in my home. I just need some Nano’s to fill them.

  17. Rachel says:

    Bonus level: like people with different personalities place themselves in different parts of a room at a party, situate a sculpture according to its personality within the room; give it the opportunity of conversation with the other artworks/objects on display.

  18. Alena says:

    One of my favourite places to display a sculpture is the centre of a room so the piece can be “walked around” and viewed from all sides. I move pieces around the house from time to time to “feature” different ones.
    For a small sculpture, a pedestal that brings the piece closer to eye level is beneficial (not necessary, but nice).

  19. Joseph says:

    Bobby the elephant is my favorite!!

  20. Adrian says:

    now i know how to display my sculptures.
    P.S i love Nano and hope one day i will have my own Nano sculpture.

  21. Alexis says:

    This how-to-guide of where to place and display your artwork is a good marketing strategy and lesson. Some corners, walls, and lighting attract more people depending on how and where it is displayed which is why this is important for galleries to decide.

  22. Megan L. says:

    Being a 2-D artist I have so much appreciation for 3-D art because it is very difficult to get composition just right since every angle needs to be appealing to the eye! I am sure it is just as difficult for collectors to find the right way to properly display their 3-D art and it is wonderful the Park West Gallery has these kinds of articles to help collectors!

  23. Ali Cravens says:

    I loved the part about lighting–super helpful, and something I’ve really struggled with with displaying my own art at home.

  24. Chelsea Dale says:

    I think it is very important to know how to display artwork correctly

  25. Julia says:

    Great tips on how to deal with lighting your sculptures and what to avoid.

  26. Joanne Matson says:

    As we are Game of Thrones fans, Davian the Dragon (small) on top of a CD cabinet eating his ice cream and looking at the boxed set of GOT brightens the spot right next to our TV. I like to integrate art with other more everyday objects to accent each object’s qualities of beauty. But the proper lighting is essential – art is meant to reflect light – especially Nano’s pieces!

  27. Steve Sanit says:

    What size pedestal would you recommend for displaying the large Sherlock?

    • parkwestgal says:

      For the large Sherlock, which is 14 inches long, anything at least 13 inches will support it. For the larger version, which is 28 inches long, we use a 36 inch by 36 inch pedestal.

  28. Raeger Wynchester says:

    I like how you mentioned in a part of this article that smaller sculptures are ideal to be displayed on shelves or tables and that I should choose one that will highlight the beauty of the sculpture. The reason why I’m looking at this article is that I have my eyes locked on a pretty, African sculpture, and I want to have a good place to display it before purchasing it next week. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind.

  29. Grant Jonsson says:

    We purchased an acrylic Max from PW last March. It cost in the 5 figures. But, frankly, we can’t figure out how to display it. It needs some lighting, but from where? We could put it on a pedestal, but then what lighting? We have 4 young granddaughters but we have a large home with a few rooms they don’t get into.

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