Making a Great Exhibition

David Zwirner. Sept. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781644230497.
PreS-Gr 2–A glimpse into the work that goes into an art exhibition. Globus begins with two fictional abstract artists: Viola, a sculptor of large freestanding pieces, and Sebastian, a painter of large geometric oils. Where they work, the everyday items that inspire them, the media they use, the studies they create, and the assistants Viola employs, are all duly noted. The text operates on three levels: a paragraph per full-page illustration or spread advances the story line; single sentences describe individual scenes on each spread; and one-word labels note the many items (chair, airplane) and tools of the trade (blow torch, canvas) found throughout. Mirroring the artists’ work, Blake’s illustrations feature vibrant, pop background colors, and often geometric layouts. From the creators’ studios, the artwork travels via plane, boat, and truck to the museum, where readers are introduced to the diverse staff that plays a role in putting on an exhibit, with a brief description of what each person does. And, as it should, hoopla surrounds the show’s grand opening: the artists arrive in fancy dress, photos are taken, guests descend, and later, toasts are made. Jan Mark’s The Museum Book, for slightly older children, focuses on the many types of collections while adding a bit of museum history.
VERDICT Place this cheery if busy introduction in the hands of early elementary teachers planning a trip to an art museum and families that frequent them for insight into the long road from artistic creation to exhibit.

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