A How-To Guide for 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.

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.

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.

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.