Each year, as soon as the Birds in Art jurors select artworks, work on the catalogue begins. Before the catalogue is printed, bound, and delivered to the Woodson Art Museum, the text goes through multiple edits, the images are color proofed to match the artworks in the gallery, and the design is scrutinized for accuracy. All 126 pages come together in three short months by our nimble team at the Museum.
Work on redesigning the 2022 catalogue started early, immediately after the opening of the 2021 exhibition. Jane Weinke, now-retired curator of collections, Shannon Pueschner, curator of exhibitions, and I scoured through art catalogues and the Museum’s past Birds in Art catalogues to find inspiration.
We came to the project with four main goals: (1) increase the size of artwork images, (2) include artists’ websites and social-media accounts, (3) omit parts of the artist biographical section, and (4) break free of a one-size-fits-all layout.
With these goals in mind and design ideas at the ready, we started right away with the Museum’s graphic designer, Rick Wunsch. He delivered mock-ups for us to pick and choose from. With a larger team of Museum staff, we selected details we liked, removed those we didn’t, and concluded with a redesign well before jurying began in early May.
It was important to have these details finalized in advance. With the good news of their selection for the exhibition, Birds in Art artists also receive a hefty PDF packet of forms. Though it might seem like a chore to artists, this packet contains critical information allowing the Museum to take on the feat of producing both the exhibition and accompanying catalogue. Many of the artists caught on to the catalogue redesign at the moment they completed their forms. This year, lengthy biographical information wasn’t required. Instead, we asked simply for their website and social-media listings, where artists share their accomplishments.
The other big redesign changes are the catalogue’s horizontal format and its layout. During layout, the designer can respond to artwork proportions and the size of the artist statement. This format, flexibility, and omission of biographical text allowed for all images in the catalogue to be bigger – bringing to the forefront the artwork as the most important aspect.
Last week, the catalogue went to the printer. Through the images and words, we strive to reflect and celebrate the artists’ efforts – both in creating the artworks and reflecting upon them through statements. We work closely with Reindl Printing in Merrill to ensure each detail is perfectly executed to honor the hard work every artist and Museum staff member puts into the catalogue ahead of time.
See the redesigned catalogue soon; Birds in Art 2022 opens September 10. Pick up your 2022 Birds in Art catalogue at the Museum during opening festivities or order now online or by calling 715-845-7010.