Written by Helen Tarnation
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Topics: Art

Monday, 28 December 2009

image for Most modern art hangs sideways or upside down - galleries aghast, embarrassed at discovery
Is this upside-down, or sideways?

In a blow to the art community around the world, art historian William Winters has determined that most modern art hanging in galleries is improperly hung.

'Curators of modern art tend to hang painted works in a way which strikes them as most aesthetically pleasing', he said. 'Unfortunately, there is only one way to properly hang a painting, and three ways to hang it wrong.'

'And', he adds, 'they get it wrong more often than right.'

The problem, he says, is that modern art is not representational.

'Modern artists don't paint pictures of things, per se', Winters said. 'That's why it's called abstract. With a picture of a thing, there's always a way of knowing which side is up. When it's not a picture of a thing, the average curator can only take a best-guess approach.'

Asked how Winters can tell which side is up, when others fail, Winters said it comes down to looking at brush strokes.

'If you know whether the artist was left-handed or right-handed', he says, 'the angle of the brush strokes will tell you instantly.'

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